July 08, 2024

Aussies heading back to Vietnam with VietJet


Australians, especially boomers, seem to be spending money on travel like there is no tomorrow. Let’s hope they’re wrong.


Words and images: Roderick Eime - traveloscopy.com

All kidding aside, we are certainly travelling again. We’re spending big and we’re going overseas, despite some expensive airfares. Where are we going? We seem to be travelling closer to home, especially to the South Pacific and Southeast Asia more so than Europe or the Americas.

Japan is the big buzz right now, but we are also returning to favourites like Thailand and increasingly, Vietnam.

I’ve made two trips to Vietnam post-pandemic and I can vouch for the recovering tourism sector of this once pariah communist state. Bygones are certainly bygones and there is no doubt the socialist republic is one of the most resilient countries on the planet.

At around 1.5million tourism arrivals per month, Vietnam is running at about half the volume of its near-neighbour, Thailand.

Be super careful with your online visa application

Australians still require a visa to enter Vietnam and applications are now fully online. But be careful, there are a couple of tricky bits with the application, so don’t rush it and double double check your inputs, especially the port of arrival. Express options are available and at some airports, like Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) you can request a ‘queue jump’ at arrivals for a small fee.

One piece of exciting news sure to provoke a spike in Australian arrivals is the just-announced direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Hanoi (HAN) by aggressive newcomer, VietJet Air. The Low Cost Carrier (LCC) also serves Adelaide and Brisbane via Ho Chi Minh City (SGN). While some inflight services are bare bones, the aircraft (primarily Airbus A330s and A320s) and cabin crew are definitely up to scratch.

VietJet aircraft (supplied)

National flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, are lagging somewhat in their promotions currently allowing VietJet Air and others like Jetstar an opportunity to capitalise with their own direct services.

So, once we’re on the ground in Vietnam, where are we going?

In Hanoi, visitors are drawn to the Old Quarter, the oldest part of Hanoi now a vibrant nightlife, dining and shopping location. You might want to pay your respects to Ho Chi Minh where he lies in state in his grand mausoleum or stroll around Thái Cực Lake, the largest of the capital’s famous lakes. More recently, thanks to social media, the quirky ‘train street’ offers a great photo opportunity but don't go wandering along the tracks unescorted.

Halong township is growing at a fast pace (RE)

Hanoi is also the jumping off point for Halong Bay where visitors throng on day cruises on the UNESCO World Heritage waterway. My strong recommendation is to take one of the fancy overnight cruises there or nearby Lan Ha Bay. It’s worth the extra pennies to avoid the day tripper crush. Stay a day or two in Halong town, take the cable car and enjoy the sights.

Saigon nightlife (RE)

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is another major city popular with visitors. If you’re a first time visitor, take a day tour like those offered by Intrepid’s Urban Adventures. A city tour should include a street food experience or you can visit any of the several excellent museums. Also on the day tour menu is the Mekong Delta and CuChi Tunnels.

Vietnam's Mekong Delta is an intriguing adventure aboard a luxury river boat (RE)

The Mekong River can also be enjoyed on one of the many river cruises that will also take you into (or from) Cambodia. These vessels offer luxurious accommodations, excellent dining and conduct daily shore excursions during a week-long adventure.

For those looking for a more comprehensive exploration, regional centres like Danang and its famous historic neighbour, Hoi An, have proven particularly popular with visitors to Vietnam.

Superb Capella Hanoi (RE)

Overall, you can be confident of excellent quality accommodations and reasonable prices from all the big names in global hotel chains. Independent properties also compete favourably with the more recognisable brands, so don’t be afraid to step outside the familiar.

Thanks to the many social media channels and online travel agents (OTRs) there are plenty of platforms to do your research. Be sure to check more than one review site as ratings will vary from site to site. Of course, using the services of a trusted travel agent is always a good idea, no matter where in the world you are heading.

For flights to Vietnam, see www.vietjetair.com

The writer was a guest of VietJet Air and Sun Group

All material (c) Copyright Traveloscopy.com unless noted otherwise.

June 11, 2024

Peleliu 1944: Hell in The Pacific

US Marines come ashore at Peleliu under intense fore from Japanese defenders

Following the trail of famed Australian war photographer and cameraman, Damien Parer, we explore the jungles of Peleliu and awaken some restless ghosts.

Just as the morning sun began to bake the sand and rubble beaches of tiny Peleliu, two divisions of US Marines set off from their ships toward shore in waves of motorised landing craft. Intelligence had told them to expect only moderate resistance, but they were in for the surprise of their lives.

May 31, 2024

Fatu Hiva: For the Love of Nature

One of the 20
th Century’s best known explorers and ethnographers began his celebrated career on a far-flung outpost in the Pacific Ocean in 1936 with his new bride and not much else.


French Polynesia is nowadays a world famous location for honeymooners who spend their languid days in 5-star over-water bungalows, getting endless massages and drinking colourful cocktails with little umbrellas. But not the newlywed Heyerdahls. They had every intention of eschewing the trappings of civilization and returning to a simple life ‘back to nature’ on the most inaccessible yet fertile island they could find.

May 22, 2024

Anik Palace Hotel. Emerging luxury in Phnom Penh



Phnom Penh recalls its colonial luxury with emerging brand, Anik Hotels. John Savage gets embedded.

Tourism took a mammoth hit around the world during COVID-19, and no popular destination was more affected than Cambodia which has suffered more disasters than most.

May 04, 2024

The Anam Resort Paved The Way To Luxury On Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Peninsula




The Anam is the first five-star colonial beach resort in Cam Ranh and a sanctuary of contemporary luxury that harks back to a bygone. John Savage indulges himself.

With an infectious smile as wide as Cam Ranh Bay, the Anam journey had started. She said her name was Pinky and she was at the airport with a welcoming smile, a sign bearing my name and a luggage trolley. She walked me over to a sleek black Merc for the 15-minute drive to The Anam Cam Ranh, one of the first five-star resorts in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh area.

May 03, 2024

High in India - A steaming Darjeeling



For more than 130 years, a tiny train has laboured up from the plains of West Bengal to the lofty Himalayan tea plantations. Follow the tracks of the famous ‘toy train’.

words and pictures by Roderick Eime


“One steps into a railway carriage which might easily be mistaken for a toy, and the whimsical idea seizes hold of one that one has accidentally stumbled into Lilliput.” - Lawrence John Lumley Dundas, Earl of Ronaldshay (1876-1961)

April 28, 2024

Stroking Strath. An easy and popular day ride from Adelaide



The Adelaide Hills presents a multitude of of riding and driving opportunities. The Southern Route to Strathalbyn is, you'll quickly find, one of the most popular as rider, Rod 'Rowdy' Eime discovers.

I know, I know. You’ve heard me blather on and on about the myriad riding opportunities within cooee of Adelaide. So, let’s move on and take that to the next level and create some history. And you read it here first.

April 26, 2024

A Journey on The Overland


A lot can happen in 60 years. 

As I sit comfortably in my Red Premium seat on the Adelaide-bound Overland intercity train, I fondly recall the several previous journeys I took when it was an overnight express.

April 16, 2024

The Magic of Morocco


Morocco is a land of vibrant culture and colour. Tripwired's Michael Gebicki channels the Berbers and Tuaregs.

It’s late in the evening when we finally arrive at our desert camp deep in southern Morocco. It’s been a huge journey, two hours in a four-wheel drive from where we turned off the road at Foum Zguid to cross a parched, stony wilderness that morphed into the ochre sands of the Sahara. There’s ice, a miracle, and we gulp down chilled drinks handed out by Bobo, the camp boss. 

USA Canyon country: A matter of scale


(c) NPS

Utah is home to some of the world's most astounding natural architecture. Graeme Willingham explores the canyons of the Quaker State.


It is zero degrees Celsius, confirmed by the layer of frost on the exposed roots of a sentry Ponderosa pine clinging to the top of the fragile ridge. We’re some thin-air 2.5kms above sea level, at 7 o’clock, on a Fall morn. The sun had just cleared the horizon and started its work in the clear sky to light the limestone pinnacles, known as hoodoos, in Utah’s Bryce Amphitheatre.

April 02, 2024

Bali off the beaten track


There is a lot more to Bali than Kuta Beach and noisy bars, Winsor Dobbin reports.

There is something for just about every traveller in Bali.

Looking for bars and nightlife? Sorted. Delicious food and affordable beers? Sorted.
Cultural experiences? Sure.

But what if you want to get away from it all? To chill out in a hilltop resort that’s surrounded
by local villages, temples, and farms.

March 29, 2024

Visiting Valletta



by Ian McIntosh

For a lot of people, Malta’s Valletta is a one-day stop on a Mediterranean cruise. As you roll up you firstly marvel at the height of the ancient walls built by the Knights of St John to protect the settlement. A quick stroll and you are at what is called the Upper Gardens - a magnificent lookout over the entrance to the port - and beyond. From here a short walk and you are in the colourful streets admiring the elegant baroque-style buildings. 

March 18, 2024

Viking Cruises Arouses History

Viking Orion in Sydney (supplied)

As cruising makes a post-COVID resurgence, veteran journalist, Ian McIntosh, recalls earlier times at sea.

Before I outline why Viking is the best cruise line I have sailed on in recent times - a little bit of background. The cruising industry in this part of the world started when the P&0 line ships that used to cart just about everyone to Europe along with a hold full of produce suddenly faced an uncertain future. Aircraft were finally making an impact despite the fact that they were incredibly expensive. Qantas started to snatch away the younger crowd by introducing what was called the Pacesetter fare - a cheap deal to London that included a few days in Hong Kong and Greece. In my case Mykonos. These were the days of DC8s and 707s. 

February 24, 2024

A head for heights and Dolomite delights



High in Italy's mountainous northern Alps lies one of Europe's smallest wine regions where quality prevails. Roderick Eime sips, sniffs and spits his way through the misty valleys of South Tyrol.


His knee was now more painful than it had ever been as he struggled down the glacier, barely a few hundred metres ahead of his pursuers. In his mid-40s, he was now an old man with the body to match. His laboured breathing and awkward gait hampered his hurried progress across the ice when suddenly he felt a searing pain in his shoulder. He’d been hit with an arrow fired from behind and the exhausted fugitive fell forward heavily and waited for his fate.

Richard Quest takes a break after 20 years


After 21 years at CNN, I am taking my long service leave! 

January 14, 2024

Loh and Behold: The Legend of the Giant Coconut Crab



Legend tells of the story of the giant coconut crab that inhabited the jungle of Loh Island in the Torres Group, the most remote of all the island groups in Vanuatu.

This massive, bad-tempered crustacean had the unfortunate habit of eating the villagers and threatening the survival of the inhabitants until one brave soul needed to venture into the jungle to get much-needed food and disguised himself as a beautiful red crab hoping not to appear as a delicious human. The ruse worked and the man-eating monster was so enthralled at the attractive colouring of the villager’s disguise that it enquired of the villager how he too might look so attractive.

Support Traveloscopy - Support Responsible Travel.

Traveloscopy is a freelance journalism enterprise supporting the tourism and travel industries. We aim to encourage people to travel thoughtfully and responsibly and also support sustainable initiatives within the travel sector. You can help us cover our operating costs, even if in just a small way.

Last 30 Days' Most Popular Posts