The Tasmanian Devil – a fascinating Aussie animal which happens to be the largest living marsupial carnivore. Yes, they eat meat!!  They are around the size of a small stocky dog. The best place to learn about these creatures is at Devils@Cradle.

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

Where is Devils@Cradle?

Devils@Cradle is located in Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. Cradle Mountain on the western side of Tassie and directions on where they are located can be found here.

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

Devils@Cradle Night Time Feeding Tour

We decided to participate in the night-time feeding tour. Simply because these animals are primarily a nocturnal species which means you have a better chance of seeing them active in the evening. In the summertime, there are two nighttime feeding sessions as daylight savings is in place. We chose the earlier of the two sessions simply because there was a little more light for photos and videos.

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

Devils@Cradle use environmentally sensitive lighting which allows tourists and the keepers to monitor the social interactions and feeding habits of these little creatures.

Being able to watch these guys eat up close and personal is amazing. I didn’t realise how much I didn’t know about them until I was listening to the keeper explain their habits and then watching them in their natural environment. I don’t think there is anywhere else in Australia that you can watch these carnivores be fed this closely.

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

A bit about the Tasmanian Devil

Probably the most impressive fact about these guys is that they are the largest living marsupial carnivore… that’s pretty impressive! As in most cases, males are the larger and weigh around 8 – 10kgs and females are only around 6-7kgs. They are stocky animals with their head and chest often making up 40% of their weight.

Tassie Devils hunt alone but often gather around a carcass and as they hunt alone, they normally develop an order between the devils as to who is going to get the carcass first. The devil who takes the carcass continues eating until they have had enough. This can often be up to 40% of its weight and they can eat that in only 20 minutes. When they are done, they will leave the carcass for the other devils to enjoy.

Here are a few more photos of the Tasmanian Devils.

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

We also witnessed the spotted quoll being fed.

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

thewelltravelledman devils@cradle tasmania australia

Take a look at this short video of the Tassie Devils at feeding time.

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

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Hanoi, or Hà Nội is the capital of Vietnam and is around the second largest cities in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh city being the largest). But there is plenty of things to see and do in this gorgeous city.

We had a couple of days in between our cruise along Halong Bay and found it just enough time. Between the many market stalls, restaurants or street food, there is something for everyone.

How to get to Hanoi

Hanoi has its own airport and is only around 30 minutes from the airport to the city centre where most hotels are located. Just remember to get into a Vinasun or Mailinh taxi and ask them to put the meter on.

Have you got a Visa?

Check out our post which goes into detail on how to get a Vietnam visa. Click here to read more.

Getting around Hanoi

Walk! Yep, the best way to get around Hanoi is to walk – we walked absolutely everywhere and it was easy (much easier than Ho Chi Minh City!). If you haven’t travelled to Asia before, you may not be aware of how challenging it is to just cross the street.

thewelltravelledman hanoi vietnam

You might think it is easy – wait until you get a green walking man, or go to a pedestrian crossing? WRONG! It doesn’t matter if the lights are red, or if there is a crossing – the cars and bikes just keep going. You need to be confident when starting to walk across the road, don’t walk too fast otherwise the drivers won’t be able to work out where you will be and this way they can avoid you – this is why you also don’t stop – just keep going! They don’t want to hit you so they won’t.

What to see in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake: Located in the old quarter, the lake is home to the famous red bridge and Ngoc Son Temple.

We walked around the lake numerous times and witnessed some interesting things! There were many groups of people exercising, doing yoga or running. We also saw a couple making ornaments out of bamboo. We bought a couple and they were super cheap.

Hanoi Night Market: The market really comes alive in the evening. The markets start just past the red bridge and you can walk and walk for ages up and down streets for different things.

You will notice all of the building supplies are in one street, all of the antiques are in one street, the garden products are in one street – it is very organised actually! Then of course, all of the streets leading up to the lake are there for tourists mainly (although, we see locals shop there too!).

The Old Quarter on the weekend: Our hotel manager told us that from sunset Friday night through to Sunday evening, the streets surrounding the old town and lake are closed to cars.

This means pedestrians can walk along the roads. Well, this was a sight! All of the locals come out and enjoy games for the children, food stalls, and just enjoying a spot of shopping without the fear of being run over by a car or scooter! If you can plan your trip over a weekend, definitely do that.

Railway Track: This is truly something special. To walk along the railway tracks that is hugged by houses and locals making their dinner. It really does make you think how lucky you are to live in such a fortunate country. We went on quite a drizzly and misty day so it added a bit of effect to the setting.

The houses in Hanoi are really narrow and this is because tax is based on the width of the building. So when you look inside some of these houses, you do wonder where they fit their entire family?

Street food: You should experience some street food and sit in some of the small plastic chairs on the footpaths!

Halong Bay from Hanoi

If you’re planning on visiting the beautiful Halong Bay, you will no doubt start and finish in Hanoi. Click here to see a full review, photos and video of our 2 night, 3 day cruise along Halong Bay and what company we recommend going with.

Where to stay in Hanoi

We stayed at the gorgeous Hotel De L’Opera and were not disappointed. The room was amazing and extremely spacious.

We were upgraded due to our Accor Plus and Le Club Platinum membership and were not disappointed. The staff were friendly and the food at the restaurant was delicious.  I even got a lovely surprise for my birthday (and yes, my real name is actually Hendrik!)!

It was an easy 10 minute walk to the old town markets which meant it was nice and quiet in the evenings so you could get a good nights rest.

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling to Vietnam, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and an easy click link to get an instant quote.

More on Vietnam?

Click here to see all of our posts on Vietnam.

Photo essay of Hanoi

Enjoy some more photos of Hanoi.

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Hotel: Holiday Inn Express

Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Room: Guest Queen Room

Perfect for: Couples, Executives

Category: 4 Star


If there is one thing that is consistent with all of the Holiday Inn hotels we’ve stayed at and that’s the level of customer service! It simply can’t be faulted and that includes our stay at the Holiday Inn Express Brisbane. The hotel certainly has everything you need, and nothing you don’t! The location of this hotel is pretty central to everything you need. Click here for a list of things to do while you’re in Brisbane.

Our welcome experience…

Chris and Melissa were very welcoming. The check in process was quick and easy. The room was ready for us early and they directed us to the car park. Breakfast and dinner times were explained and we were given a map and information on how to get to the closest city cycle bikes.

The Room…

The guest rooms have everything you need. Our room was well equipped with modern features, comfortable bed, a choice of pillows (and let’s be honest how many people like the same style, it’s good to have a choice!).

thewelltravelledman holiday inn brisbane express

What I really liked about the room is that there are several USB charging points as well as ample power points. I don’t know about you but we can never get enough USB ports. we have two phones, an iPad and a GoPro all requiring a USB for charging – this is perfect!

The hotel and rooms have complimentary high-speed wi-fi (uncapped!) which for us, if you like to stay connected during your holiday is a really important aspect of picking a hotel!

Everything else you would expect from the room is there as well such as safe, well equipped bathroom, desk if you happen to be visiting for work and there is also complimentary tea and coffee-making facilities!

And if you happen to forget some essentials, they are available complimentary.

The view outside the bedroom window is pretty good as well. We were on level 10.

Take a look at our video so you can experience the feel and space of the room.

Meals…

Included in your room rate is breakfast in The Great Room! If you’ve read any of our other reviews, you will know how we feel about breakfast – it is of course the most important part of our day! At the Holiday Inn, you have the option of what sort of breakfast you want (or have time for). There is the typical breakfast buffet together with some Grab and Go options for those who are limited on time or have to hit the airport for an early flight.

You also have the option of dining between 5pm – 9pm in The Great Room for dinner during your stay. They have a good range of healthy and classic meals for you to choose from. Or, if you’re wanting a night in, you can always get in-room dining with their 24 hour menu.

We had dinner during our stay and the service was good and the food came out quickly. The restaurant would be ideal for a business dinner. The larger tables are equipped with power points and USB chargers which is great.

Health and Fitness…

If you like to stay active and healthy while on holidays, you can stop by the gym and have a quick workout before exploring the city. The gym isn’t massive, but it does have everything you need in there for a holiday workout such as a treadmill, bike and some free weights.

Good to know…

This is pretty good to know… if you’ve been travelling quite a bit and you’re sick of wearing the same recycled clothes, or washing out of a bathtub, you have the opportunity here to use the hotels on-site guest self-laundry facility! There is a chair and a TV in there as well to keep you occupied, or you can duck over to the gym in the next room while you wait for your clothes to be ready!

The hotel also has parking facilities which is helpful if you have rented a car and in the middle of a driving holiday! If you’re looking at renting a car for your trip, click here for more info on how you can do this.

There is also a corporate shuttle service available so if you’re travelling here for work, this option might work for you!

Checking out…

Very quick and seamless check our process for us!

Above and beyond…

The USB charging ports in the room and restaurant.

The not so good…

There wasn’t really a not so good for us here. If we had to pick on one thing it was that the restaurant for dinner time lacked a little bit of atmosphere. Again, this is probably because the hotel is basically brand new so we were the only two eating. But, I think if the restaurant had a few more patrons it would increase the atmosphere!

The verdict…

If you’re looking for a sneaky weekend getaway to Brisvegas, or you’re visiting for business, I would recommend this hotel.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

thewelltravelledman hoi an vietnam

Hoi An, probably one of the most beautiful cities in Vietnam and it isn’t difficult to work out why. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 1999 by UNESCO, Hoi An is a quaint old town and at night-time is lit up with these amazing lanterns. Whether it be the pastel shades of yellow on all of the buildings, the lanterns lining the streets or the cobbled streets – there is something that everyone will fall in love with.

Getting to Hoi An

If you’re searching for Hoi An Airport, you won’t come across one. You need to fly into Da Nang and then take a taxi or hotel car to Hoi An. The journey time is around 45 minutes. Remember my piece of advice in the Ho Chi Minh City blog post about taxis?

Take the Vinasun or Mailinh Taxi service and make sure they turn the meter on!

Have you got a Visa?

Check out our post which goes into detail on how to get a Vietnam visa. Click here to read more.

How long to spend in Hoi An

We stayed 3 nights in Hoi An and it was perfect. It gave us two days to explore the old town and relax by the pool and one day to join a bicycle tour and explore the countryside.

Entrance Fee to Hoi An old town

You do need to pay a small fee to get into the old town, and this is to simply keep the town as gorgeous as it is, so just visit the hut at the entry and get your ticket (which you will have to show each time you walk into the old town).

What to do in Hoi An

Visit the old quarter: It is such a beautiful old quarter, you could spend hours walking around.

Visit the old quarter at night: We arrived in the evening and went straight out. I am glad we did because the old quarter is even more beautiful at night than during the day. The streets are lit up with traditional paper lanterns in all different colour and it is really beautiful.

As you walk along the river, you’ll notice countless floating lanterns and I can guarantee you that you will be asked by many locals if you want to buy a lantern and candle to put into the river – it is meant to be a symbol of good luck!

Bamboo Bicycle Tour: The best way to see the countryside in Hoi An is by bicycle. If you’re looking for a unique tour, then look no further than this one! Click here to read the full story, get the info and see some cool pictures and a video.

Get a suit or something made: You can get just about anything made to measure in Hoi An. I got some linen shorts made and I simply took a pair of my favourite shorts in and asked her to copy them – simple as that. Jenna also got some sorts made as well as a dress. They’re fast so don’t worry if you only have a short amount of time in town.

It was our second last day, at around 5.30pm and we were walking around and I saw a leather laptop bag. I didn’t like the colour they had on display so they offered to make one for me. We told them we were leaving the very next day at around 2.30pm – they said – that’s ok, we’ll make it for you and deliver it to your hotel! And they did, well they were a bit late, so if you are needing to go to the airport, give them a deadline of about 1 hour before you actually need to leave to allow for them to be running late!

We also picked up a few pairs of leather shoes and sandals – they can also make these for you and anything else such as boots, work shoes – anything!

Enjoy a drink or a meal overlooking the streets in the old quarter: It is nice to just sit down and enjoy what’s happening around you.

Where to stay in Hoi An:

We stayed at the Hotel Royal Hoi An MGallery by Sofitel. We chose the MGallery as we are Accor Plus as well as Le Club Platinum members of the group so normally choose to stay at the Accor group hotels. We were not disappointed.

The staff were exceptionally friendly and each of them went out of their way to greet us and welcome us to their hotel. We honestly felt like royalty. A drink on arrival, cold washers to wipe our hands and face down with. We were shown to our room and it was incredible, I am sure it must have been the best room in the hotel.

We were upgraded due to our platinum status and the room was absolutely incredible. Breakfast was added to our booking complimentary due to our platinum status and with our Accor Plus card we got 50% off food and 15% off drinks from the hotel restaurant. Needless to say we ate at the hotel, next to the pool quite a bit, it was too good not to!

There are also several Airbnb listings right in Hoi An old town if you prefer to go down that path.

Airbnb first-timers, if you sign up through my referral link you get AUD $50 credit when you book your first trip! –>> sign up here! If you already have an account register a second account for your travel partner to get AUD $50 off your next trip

Where to eat in Hoi An

We spent a lot of time by the pool as it was so hot. Because we are Accor Plus members, we were entitled to 50% off dining at the hotel, so we decided to sit by the pool and make the most of the perks of our membership!

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling to Vietnam, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and an easy click link to get an instant quote.

More on Vietnam?

Click here to see all of our posts on Vietnam.

In case that wasn’t enough to get you to Hoi An, check out these photos.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

If you’re looking for motivation to visit this incredible country this Summer, here are 5 reasons why you should book your flights immediately!!

#1 Because you can sail from top to bottom!

It is just amazing that you can sail from Split to Dubrovnik, stopping in at some incredible islands along the way. The weather is perfect, the water is perfect and these island are just paradise after paradise. If you think you would like to spend a week sailing on a 42 foot yacht from Split to Dubrovnik, click here.

#2 14th and 15th century history and the city walls of the Old Town of Dubrovnik

Whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or not, Dubrovnik is a city that everyone falls in love with.. Yes, you can see some of the famous Game of Thrones filming spots, but more importantly you can walk the old city walls taking in the 14th and 15th century history.

An interesting piece of information about the walls, they are 6,360 ft long, 20 feet thick and up to 80 feet high! There is nothing taking these walls down. Not only did they survive sieges by invaders but it also survived a horrific earthquake in the 17th century!

#3 The changing coastline

The beauty of Croatia is that the north of the country is very different from the south.

The north have plenty of vineyards and the further south you go the more you experience the pebbly beaches. When we sailed from Split to Dubrovnik, it was amazing to spend time at each of the different islands and just how different each of them were.

#4 How close you are to Bosnia & Herzegovina

We enjoyed an awesome day trip from Dubrovnik to Bosnia & Herzegovina to visit Kravice Waterfalls and Mostar and the famous Stari Most. We can highly recommend this as a day trip – it is absolutely worth it. For advice on what to do and what not to do, click here to read our full story, look at some pictures and watch a short video.

thewelltravelledman 5 reasons to visit croatia

#5 The people

The Croatians are ridiculously nice people.

They are friendly and go out of their way to help you. If you’re lost, or need help with something – they are happy to do so. The Croatian economy is struggling and when you get to know the locals, you find out that they have got really great uni degrees, but there is nowhere to work in the country so they are often driving taxis or working in a restaurant. It doesn’t seem to matter what they have been through, they are still welcoming, friendly people.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

 

thewelltravelledman brisbane australia

If you’re planning a trip to the capital of the Sunshine State, below are our top 14 picks of things you must see or do throughout your stay.

#1 South Bank

Probably one of the biggest tourist spots in Brisbane would have to be South Bank.

South Bank has something for everyone.. there are km’s of tree lined walks, a man made beach, bbq areas, shopping and restaurants. It’s located opposite the CBD and you can either walk across the bridge, otherwise jump on a city cat to get over.

On a Friday night or on a weekend you will find the famous South Bank markets.

#2 The City Botanic Gardens

Located next to the Brisbane River, you can spend a couple of hours just enjoying the peace and quiet. They have free guided walks at 11am and 1pm so you can always jump on one of those. Or, you can hire a bicycle and ride through the gardens!

#3 Eagle Street Pier

If you’re looking for some nice restaurants with a lovely view of the river and the Story Bridge, then Eagle Street is the spot for you! This is of course the best spot to get a view of the Story Bridge from the city.

#4 Sunset at Kangaroo Point

The Kangaroo Point Cliffs are a very popular spot and watching sunset here is especially beautiful.

You may even come across some people rock climbing!

#5 New Farm Park

New Farm Park is just amazing! It is massive and there is plenty to keep you occupied. If you have children, it has one of the best parks I think I’ve ever seen. It will keep the kids entertained (and often the parents too) for hours. You can either drive there, or you could walk along the river boardwalk from Eagle Street, under the Story Bridge and all the way to New Farm Park – it is a few km’s though but relatively flat.

#6 Wheel of Brisbane

Located at South Bank is the Wheel of Brisbane. It isn’t as spectacular as the London Eye, but then again this isn’t London! So, if you’re wanting a good view of the city, this 60m wheel is going to tick that box. The gondolas are enclosed and climate-controlled (yep perfect for summer) and it goes for around 15 minutes. Click here for current pricing and information.

#7 Visit Mt Coot-tha

If you have good weather, I’d suggest making your way to Mt Coot-tha. You get panoramic views over Brisbane city and as far out as Moreton Bay. If you’re renting a car, you can drive up and park for free, otherwise you can jump on a local bus from the city or buy a pass for the hop-on, hop-off service. Click here for the timetable and pricing.

thewelltravelledman brisbane what to do australia

#8 Visit the Gold Coast

If you have time and can spare a day to head down to the Gold Coast, we’d highly recommend it! The easiest way to get to the Gold Coast would be by car, but you can take public transport as well. The drive takes 1-1.5 hours depending on traffic.

If it’s the weekend and the weathers good, my tip would be to leave a bit earlier in the morning or the roads will be mayhem!

thewelltravelledman rainbow bay gold coast australia

#9 Lone Pine

It happens to be the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary! If you visit Lone Pine then expect to see many Aussie wildlife, and perhaps cuddle a Koala!

#10 Ride the City Cat

Before you leave Brissie, be sure to take a ride on one of the City Cats. Seeing a city from the water is such a great perspective!

#11 Explore the CBD

Spend some time just exploring the CBD.

ANZAC Square

City Hall

King George Square

Queen Street Mall

Customs House

St Stephens Cathedral

Eagle Street in the evening

#12 Eat Street Markets

If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different, click here to read all about Eat Street.

thewelltravelledman eat street brisbane australia

#13 Fortitude Valley

Either by foot or bicycle, you can easily reach the Valley. It is recommended you visit in the evening as there is much more happening. Here you have Chinatown, Brunswick Street Mall, Cloudland (a very popular club) and Holy Moly which is a very unique put put course!

#14 Newstead House & Gardens and Teneriffe

Easily accessible by the City Cat, these two spots are lovely to come and relax in the park if you have the time.

How to get around in Brisbane

Do yourself a favour and pop in to a convenience store or a newsagent and buy yourself a Go Card. Ticket prices will reduce by around 30% compared to a paper ticket so if you think you will be using public transport to get around, it will be worth the purchase. You can use the Go Card on trains, buses and ferries (they are called City Cats in Brissie) in South East Queensland. The benefit is, you can get the balance refunded to you when you leave Brisbane!

Timetables are available and managed by Translink and you can pre-plan your journey through the journey planner link.

There is of course the free City Loop bus – yep FREE!! Click here to see the area that this bus covers.

There is also the free City Hopper ferry. This is a great service dropping you off at all of the key locations. Click here for a current timetable.

In addition to all of this, you can use the City Cycle! If you’re here for a short time, you can pay only $2 and get 24 hour access to the city cycle bikes. Every journey under 30 minutes is then free – it’s amazing! There are plenty of bike stands, so just keep an eye on the time, park your bike and then hire out another and you can cycle around for free the entire time! I do recommend signing up before hand as you need to be on wi-fi (although there is free Brisbane city wi-fi in some spots). You can pre-select the dates and time you need it as well. Then, all you need is the code and your pin and you’re all set! Click here to read more and to sign up.

When to visit Brisbane

You should definitely avoid the summer school holidays in January and actually summer in general. It is far too hot and humid to be exploring a new city! Although the entire year is pretty much good weather, personally you can’t go past winter! Mostly sunny days with tops in the mid 20’s – perfect exploring temperature. But, if you’re wanting the summer beach holiday then you won’t be able to avoid visiting in summer.

Where to stay in Brisbane

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Brisbane Express Brisbane Central. Click here for a full review and enjoy this short video.

Where to eat around Brisbane

There are heaps of places to choose from.

River Bar, Eagle Street Pier: If you’re looking for something casual and with a good view, check this place out.

New Farm Park, Cafe 63: This place has great food at good prices. You can have breakfast, brunch or lunch here and it is right on the park!

Kingsleys Steak House: If you’re looking for something a bit more up market, good steak and good view – Kingsley’s will fit that description.

thewelltravelledman brisbane what to do australia

Here are a heap more photos to get you excited about visiting Brisbane!

Fortitude Valley

South Bank

View from Kangaroo Point from the free City Hopper ferry

Kangaroo Point

South Bank

Stairs to get from Kangaroo Point foreshore up to the top of the cliffs

And the stairs looking down

Fortitude Valley

Kangaroo Point

Kangaroo Point

Treasury Casino

St Stephens Cathedral

Kangaroo Point

Kangaroo Point Cafe

South Bank

Kangaroo Point

ANZAC Square

Kangaroo Point

South Bank

South Bank Performers

Kangaroo Point

Kookaburra Queen

South Bank

Eagle Street Pier

Eagle Street Pier

Free City Hopper Ferry Terminal at Kangaroo Point

South Bank

Kangaroo Point

Maratime Museum at South Bank

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

Have you ever wondered how you can find the best seat on the plane? Are you sick of being stuck next to the toilets, or across from a crying baby? This guide can help you determine what seat is best suited for you when you’re booking your flights!

You might think that paying for an exit row seat is the only guaranteed way to be given the best seat on the plane, the most legroom and space. This is not necessarily the case! In some instances an exit row seat may not have the same level of recline as other seats and actually the wall of the plane may be slightly curved which will give you less space!

One sure way to check these things is by looking at SeatGuru. This website gives you the ability to search for your aircraft and the seating plans.

thewelltravelledman seatguru picking the right seat

After putting in your flight details into the SeatGuru website, it brings up a map of your plane with green, yellow and red seats for best to worst. Red warnings include window seats with no actual windows, and those seats that can’t recline.

However, when online check in opens, it is worth checking the seat availability again as you might get lucky and have an empty back row, which may be close to the lavatories, but also may mean you can lay flat (well as flat as you can in economy) and get a good nights rest.

Then there is of course old fashioned customer service!! When you go to check in for your flight, you can always ask the staff if they are able to move you to a better seat. You never know, if you’re nice to them they may do you a favour!

Have you used SeatGuru and do you find it helpful? Leave your comments below.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam with nearly 9 million people. It is not the capital of Vietnam like most people assume, that is in fact Hanoi. The city itself has over 5 million vehicles, can you guess how many of those are cars? Only 400k! Yep, the rest are motorbikes and mopeds. Around 1.5 million motorbikes drive in and out of Ho Chi Minh City every single day. We spent 5 days in Ho Chi Minh City and hope our 5 day itinerary can inspire you to visit this amazing country.


5 day itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, check into your hotel and explore the streets

Day 2: Half Day tour to Cu Chi Tunnels

Day 3: Explore Ho Chi Minh City

Day 4: Mekong Delta – join a 2 day, 1 night tour

Day 5: Mekong Delta & Ho Chi Minh City in the evening / depart for your next destination


Entering Vietnam and the appropriate Visa

You need to make sure you have got the appropriate visa to enter Vietnam. For details on how to arrange your visa, click here.

Getting from Ho Chi Minh City Airport to your hotel

This might sound simple, just jump in a taxi! Well, you need to be very careful with what taxi company you use.  Jenna thankfully did quite a bit of research into how much a taxi should cost and which companies to use and which to avoid. Either use Vinasun or Mailinh taxis and make sure the meter is on. Other taxis are known to have a dodgy meter, which is not how you want to start your trip! Nothing worse than getting frustrated as you watch the meter jump quickly knowing you’re about to pay 10 times what you should be paying. Typically, from the airport to a hotel in district one, you’re looking at around US$15- $20. We actually picked up a private car and negotiated the price before agreeing. We paid 180,000 VND which was a pretty good deal and no hassles at the end.

Getting around Ho Chi Minh City

Same rules apply, if you want to take a taxi just make sure you’re using Vinasun or Mailinh. It is always a good idea to talk about how much it is likely to cost before getting in and always make sure the meter is turned on. Otherwise, walk! It is a very hot city, so you might want to pick up a fan to cool yourself down with while you’re walking. You can, however, use Uber.. if you’re game! There is uber bike, you use the Uber app as you normally would, and you have an option for a bike or a car and you go from there!

Staying connected in Vietnam

While we were waiting on the never ending immigration lines, we noticed a table selling 4G sims. Jenna went to check it out and for US$10, you could get a 4G sim card to suit most phones and that would give you unlimited data for two weeks, which coincidentally is how long we were spending in Vietnam (and I can confirm it turns itself off pretty much on the 2 week mark to the hour!). It is 100% worth it as you can use Google Maps, order an Uber or get directions to your hotel if you’ve gotten lost in the day. For more tips on using your mobile phone abroad, click here.

What to see in Ho Chi Minh City

Notre Dame Basilica: This gorgeous cathedral does have the same name as the one in Paris, and that is because it is a French cathedral and was made 100% imported French building materials. It is located in downtown Ho Chi Minh City and was finished being built in 1880. Saigon General Post Office: Situated opposite the Notre Dame Cathedral, it was designed by none other than Gustave Eiffel.. you guessed it, the guy who the Eiffel Tower is named after! The Opera House: The Opera House is also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City. It is also a really great showcase of the French Colonial Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City.

Bui Vien Street: This street is where the nightlife is in Ho Chi Minh City. After dark, the place turns into a party place with numerous bars and clubs opening up, performers on the street and street vendors selling food and other bits and pieces.

Exploring the Mekong Delta

For a full review of our two-day, 1 night tour of the Mekong Delta, click here.  We highly recommend Innoviet as they took us outside the standard tourist areas and the home stay we stayed at was incredible.

Getting to the Cu Chi Tunnels

This is something you really need to do when you visit Ho Chi Minh City. It is certainly worth the trip out there.  Click here for a full review of our half day trip with Innoviet Travel.

Where to eat & drink in Ho Chi Minh City

Cuc Gach Quan: This is one restaurant we were recommended a few times, so we had to check it out. It is a Vietnamese restaurant and the building itself has such lovely architecture. The food, well it is probably the best we had in Vietnam. It was so fresh, it came out quickly and the flavours were amazing. It isn’t easy to find, you sort of have to go out of your way to get here, but I can promise you it’s worth it! It’s located at 10 Dang Tat, District 1 (off Hai Ba Trung). I also ordered a Vietnamese Iced Coffee with condensed milk. YUM is all I have to say about that! NGON:  This is a large restaurant and has a massive menu so there is something for everyone. It serves traditional Vietnamese food as well as many other cuisines. The service was average, but the food was delicious. It is located at 160 Pasteur, District 1. They don’t take bookings (well at least they didn’t when we went there) but they are pretty quick so you only normally wait 15 – 20 minutes. Food Markets: We ate here on our first night in Ho Chi Minh City. There are a number of food stalls to choose from and all traditional Vietnamese food. It is a great place to go if you are a group of people and all feel like something different! You won’t be disappointed. The View Rooftop Bar:  The View Rooftop Bar is a pretty chilled bar to grab a drink and observe what’s happening down Bui Vien Street which is the nightlight, backpackers street of Ho Chi Minh City. The service was a little slow, but in terms of being in the middle of things, this is the spot!

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City

District 1 is where it’s all happening. If you stay in this area, you can pretty much walk anywhere (if you wanted to!). We stayed at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza and all I can say is WOW! We are Accor Plus and Platinum members which is why we booked with an Accor hotel to start with, however this hotel is truly something special. We were greeted immediately and were taken to the Executive Lounge for a speedy check in and complimentary afternoon tea and drinks while we waited. This is a standard upgrade if you’re a platinum member, which we were. The room was spacious, the bathroom fantastic and the hotel amenities were great. The best part for us was the executive lounge – we were starving after our flight, so to be able to head to the executive lounge and enjoy some food and drinks, it was nice. They also provide some hot nibbles at dinner time and include complimentary cocktails and whiskey. It was definitely worth it! There is also a lovely rooftop swimming pool if you fancy a relaxing afternoon! Breakfast was amazing. You could pretty much choose to have whatever you wanted. From local asian cuisine, to pizza, to western food and freshly cut fruit. The staff were incredible, we checked out to head out on our Mekong Delta tour, they offered to store our large suitcases for us and when we returned for another night after the Mekong, they all remembered us and welcomed us back like we were their friends or family. It was great.

Air B&B

There are also several Airbnb listings right in Ho Chi Minh City if you prefer to go down that path. Airbnb first-timers, if you sign up through my referral link you get AUD $50 credit when you book your first trip! –>> sign up here! If you already have an account register a second account for your travel partner to get AUD $50 off your next trip

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling to Vietnam, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and an easy click link to get an instant quote. For more on what to see and do in Vietnam, click here. Here are a few more snaps of our trip to Ho Chi Minh City.

“When overseas you learn more about your own country, than you do the place you’re visiting.” – Clint Borgen

Are you planning a trip to Vietnam? Have you got your visa sorted? If the answer is no, keep reading to find out what you need to do so you’re not rejected when you arrive at the airport!

Getting a Vietnam Visa

Before you plan anything, you need to get your Vietnam Visa sorted. There are two ways of going about this. The first is to get your visa from a local embassy before you arrive and the second is to apply for a Vietnam visa on arrival (VOA) and collect at the airport. We went with option two.

We chose to organise our visa through Vietnam Visa Online and the cost is US$19 per applicant. It takes only 2 working days to get the information back. It is important to check the paperwork as they did have a typo on ours so we had to get them to re-send the document which was time consuming (we ended up getting one of our tour companies we booked through to ring on our behalf).

It is important to note that you can only get a VOA at Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang and you must have the following before arriving at the visa counter in Vietnam:

  • Original passort (valid at least 6 months beyond date of arrival)
  • Completed Entry/Exit form (which you will be emailed from the company doing your VOA paperwork)
  • 2 Passport photos that are 4cm X 6cm (one photo on the entry/exit form and the other separate)
  • Printed Visa Appoval Letter with full pages (which you will be emailed from the company doing your VOA paperwork)
  • Payment is cash only, either in USD or VND

Visa costs as at April 2017 are:

  • 1 month or 3 month single entry: US$25 per applicant
  • 1 month or 3 month multiple entry: US$50 per applicant
  • 1 year multiple entry US$135 per applicant

If you are arriving in Vietnam at a different airport or at a land border, you will need to get your visa from an embassy prior to arrival.

How did you organise your visa? Leave your comments below!

We spent two weeks in Vietnam and had an amazing time. Click here to check out our posts on Vietnam.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost

Byron Bay, known for its beaches, diving and surfing and also home to Australia’s most eastern point. If you’re like us and have planned a long weekend in Byron, the good news is you will have plenty of time to unwind and relax.

4 day itinerary for Byron Bay

Day 1 (half day): Arrive in Byron Bay late afternoon, check into your accommodation. Head out for some dinner.

Day 2 (full day): Spend the day beach hopping and enjoying the walks around Cape Byron and the Lighthouse

Day 3 (full day): Enjoy the fascinating places that are around Byron, such as The Farm.

Day 4 (half day): On your to the airport, enjoy a few stops along the way.

Getting to Byron Bay

The beauty of Byron Bay is that it is in close proximity to two local airports, Coolangatta and Ballina. Ballina is the closest airport to Byron at only around 30 minutes where Coolangatta takes around 50 minutes. However, Coolangatta often have more flight options to choose from and can often work out cheaper. We chose to fly into Ballina as we booked early enough and picked up some well priced flights.

Getting around Byron Bay

Depending on where you stay, depends on how you get around. If you are staying in central Byron Bay, you could get away without a car and walk everywhere. However, if you’re staying slightly out-of-town, you will need a car to get around. We booked our accommodation a bit late and given it was over a long weekend we had to stay a little further out from the centre of town. We therefore needed a car, which turned out to be fantastic. It was a pretty hot weekend so the car came in handy when wanting to get to the top of Cape Byron!

Cape Byron Lighthouse

The most easterly point in Australia!

If that’s not impressing you then I’m not sure what will!! Cape Byron lighthouse is located on a rocky cliff, with a drop of around 100m. The views from the lighthouse are stunning and you can easily spend a few hours here.

thewelltravelledman byron bay australia

We popped up for sunset one evening, and the colour of the sky was mesmerising.

We then drove back the next day to explore the area (parking cost us around $6 for a couple of hours).

We had perfect weather and made the most of the surrounding walkways, seeing some local wildlife and also some humpback whales! If you visit from the end of June to August, they are migrating north to the warmer waters. We were there in September and throughout that month and October they return with their new babies! They were having an absolute ball, teaching their little ones breaching and slapping. We spent hours trying to capture them.

A guide to Byron Bay Beaches

With over 30km of beaches in the Byron area, it is hard not to find one that suits you! The water temperature is around 18°C in the winter to 26°C in the summer which makes it perfect for most of the year!

Watego’s Beach: Probably one of our favourite beaches in Byron. It is a well protected north-facing beach. It is a very popular family beach with free BBQ’s and picnic tables to use. We stopped by for sunset one evening (on our way up to the lighthouse for sunset) and then again for a swim stop the next day.

We spent a half a day relaxing and catching some rays at Wategos beach. If you like our personalised travel microfiber towels, click here to find out how you can get some of your own!

Cosy Corner & Tallow Beach: Cosy Corner and Tallow Beach are located on the south side of Cape Byron. Views overlooking these beaches are just as you exit from the lighthouse.  Cosy Corner is quite sheltered but you will need to pay the National Park fee of $6 to park there. Tallow Beach is meant to be a great fishing beach. It isn’t protected so if the wind pick up, it becomes choppy.

The Pass: If you’re into surfing, then this spot is meant to be the best and most popular. This is a pretty nice beach with a nice lookout as well.

Clarke’s Beach: Clarke’s beach is north facing making it very popular for swimmers. It is between Main Beach and The Pass and is perfect for water sports such as bodyboarding, windsurfing and paragliding.

Main Beach: If you’re staying in the centre of Byron Bay and don’t have a way to get around, this will be the beach you’ll spend most of your time at. It gets very busy given its location to the centre of town, so you might want to get down there early on a to get a good spot!

Other places to see around Byron Bay

The Farm: The Farm is exactly what it says it is, a farm!

It is a working farm and there are plenty of things to see and do, especially for the kids. They run farm tours, have a bakery and a produce store, as well as the famous Three Blue Ducks restaurant (see below).

Byron Bay Community Markets: This market is probably the biggest in Byron Bay. There are plenty of stalls ranging from food, clothing, souvenirs and fresh produce. They are open on the first Sunday of each month but if you’re there in December and January, there are two extra market days on the third Sunday.

Where to eat in Byron Bay?

Three Blue Ducks: The Farm Byron Bay is home to the Three Blue Ducks restaurant.

The beauty of this restaurant is that it is located at The Farm, which is as you could guess, is a farm! They try to source as many ingredients as possible from the farm.

Everything they use is organic or spray free. The food is fresh and the grounds are worth a visit!

Balcony Bar & Oyster Co: This restaurant and bar is located in the heart of Byron Bay. It overlooks the main street and roundabout which is perfect for people watching if you are up on the veranda. The service was great and the food was amazing. Jenna had one of the best lamb ragu she has ever had at this restaurant.

Basiloco: If you’re looking for an Italian restaurant in Byron Bay, we can highly recommend Basiloco. The food was delicious and the servings were plenty! It is safe to say we over ordered, but somehow managed to get through it all!!

Byron Fresh Cafe: This place was just buzzing. When you have people lining up and waiting for a table, it must be good. And, no surprises – it was good!  We stopped there for dinner and had the burger options and the food was delicious! I would recommend eating here for breakfast as well as their menu and quality of food was really good.

Where to stay in Byron Bay?

Because we left our accommodation booking to the last-minute, there was nothing available in the centre of town. But, it was to our advantage. We booked at Tri Byron Bay and were glad we did. Located less than a 20 minute drive from the heart of Byron Bay, it is a great place to escape and simply relax.

The self-contained studios are well equipped, ours with a large bedroom with a king bed, overlooking the Byron hinterlands.

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

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