Saturday , May 25 2024

New Year’s spots near Ho Chi Minh City


Make the most of the New Year’s holiday by exploring destinations within 200 kilometers of Saigon, all of which ensure a blend of nature and relaxation without sacrificing travel time.

Numerous southern tourist attractions beckon for a quick New Year’s getaway over the 3-day holiday.

Trekking and camping allow visitors to reconnect with nature and provide an escape from the urban hustle. The costs are affordable for those with reasonable budgets, although it’s worth noting that these destinations may not be the best fit for those seeking more luxurious and comfortable experiences.

For those desiring complete relaxation, the option of staying at private resorts is available. Although the cost for this activity tends to be on the higher side, it offers a retreat with private spaces and top-notch services.

Offering insights into these possibilities, Chon Thanh, a tour guide and travel blogger from Ho Chi Minh City, recommends five tourist destinations in proximity to the city. Travelers can consider embarking on a one-day, two-night journey tailored to their budget and preferences.

Camp and trek in La Ngau

Distance from Ho Chi Minh City: 192 kilometers

Cost: VND1 million – VND2 million (US$41 to $82)

Nestled upstream of the La Nga River in Binh Thuan Province, La Ngau Stream is enveloped by the Tanh Linh Forest. This location boasts an untouched landscape, offering pleasant disconnection from the virtual world. Travelers are drawn here primarily for camping experiences beside the water.

The journey from Ho Chi Minh City to La Ngau takes nearly 3 hours via the Phan Thiet Highway, with a turn at Highway 55. Progressing from there, visitors reach the vicinity of the Notre-Dame de Ta Pao statue, turning left at La Ngau Bridge. A further drive of 2 kilometers leads to the camping ground.

While the road near the camp can be challenging, cars can still navigate it. For those without personal vehicles, contacting the campground to arrange a 7-seat shuttle service is a convenient alternative.

Visitors can engage in a variety of water activities at La Ngau, including paddleboarding. Photo by VnExpress/Do Hieu

Visitors can engage in a variety of water activities at La Ngau, including paddleboarding. Photo by VnExpress/Do Hieu

La Ngau currently enjoys its most beautiful weather of the year, experiencing all four seasons in a single day, with the midday sun being pleasantly mild. Accommodation options come in two forms: setting up tents at spontaneous sites, or indulging in comfortable camping with available services (glamping).

Do Hieu, the owner of Boo Camp in La Ngau, reveals that only two camping locations in the area hold official operating licenses, while the rest are “impromptu” sites. Full-service camping ranges from VND650,000 to VND1 million ($26 to $41) per person per night, inclusive of meals. The tents come fully equipped with mattresses, blankets, sheets, pillows, Wi-Fi, and separate toilet facilities.

To secure a spot, visitors are advised to make advance reservations, as bookings for tents with the more stunning views fill up as the holiday approaches.

No surcharges are applied during holidays.

For the New Year celebration, visitors can spend two days enjoying campfires, stand-up paddleboarding, and archery.

Groups of five or more seeking additional experiences can engage in treks spanning 5-14 kilometers while passing Dami Lake, Ham Thuan Lake. Travelers can also volunteer in La Ngau Commune. For those opting for independent camping, rentals for sites along the beach, which offer a dedicated guard for safety, are available at VND100,000-VND150,000 ($4 – $6) per night.

Explore Can Gio District

Cost: VND1 million – VND3 million ($41 – $123)

Approximately 40 kilometers southeast of central Ho Chi Minh City, Can Gio stands as the metropolitan area’s only seaside district, boasting 23 kilometers of coastline. Its geographical location, coupled with natural conditions, cultural relics, and a rich historical background, makes Can Gio a magnet for tourists seeking experiences in eco-tourism, green tourism, agricultural tourism, and community-based tourism.

Reaching Can Gio requires a ferry crossing. Departing from the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, travelers should head towards Tan Thuan Bridge, and then navigate the streets of Nguyen Van Linh and Huynh Tan Phat to ultimately reach the Binh Khanh Ferry.

The ferry ticket system comprises 17 prices. Costs range from the most economical VND2,000 ($0.08) for pedestrians and bicycles, to the priciest VND220,000 ($9) per trip for tractors. Motorbike passage is set at VND4,000, while vehicles with less than seven seats incur a fee of VND23,000.

Visitors opting for an overnight stay in Can Gio can explore diverse accommodation offerings. LATA Camping, situated near the beach, provides glamping services with tent prices ranging from VND500,000 to VND2.7 million ($20 to $111) per night.

An aerial view of coastal Can Gio District in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

An aerial view of coastal Can Gio District in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Alternatively, there are homestays and resort choices such as Hon Ngoc Phuong Nam Resort and Can Gio Resort, with prices ranging from VND600,000 to VND900,000 per night. Additional options include Hana’s House Homestay, Phuc Homestay, Eco Homestay, Cat Tuong Homestay, and Homestay with Uncle Nam Dwarf Restaurant, which offers stays from VND300,000 to VND600,000 per night.

Can Gio boasts a wealth of attractions, including the Vam Sat ecological tourist area, April 30 Beach, Thanh An Island, and the Dan Xay ecological area, Rung Sac Revolutionary Base Zone, and the Hang Duong seafood market.

Camp in Ta Dung National Park

Distance from Ho Chi Minh City: 250 kilometers

Cost: VND1 million – VND3 million ($41 – $123)

A rainbow rises over picturesque Ta Dung Lake in Dak Nong Province. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Phuong

A rainbow rises over picturesque Ta Dung Lake in Dak Nong Province. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Phuong

Dak Nong stands as the southwestern gateway to the Central Highlands, with its capital being Gia Nghia City. Life in this region is characterized by simplicity and offers a glimpse into the cultural features of around 40 different ethnic groups.

To journey to Dak Nong from Ho Chi Minh City, visitors have the option of using cars, buses, or motorbikes. Bus tickets, available at the Mien Dong Bus Station through operators like Dai Nghia, Duyen Ha, and Hoang Long, range in price from VND150,000 to VND200,000 ($6 to $8) per person.

While camping at Ta Dung, visitors can enjoy activities like boating to take in the scenic islands amidst the lake. The location also features granite waterfalls and hosts a variety of rare flora and fauna.

Opting for self-sufficient camping offers the chance to select a hilltop campsite for a sunrise spectacle. Visitors are advised to bring their own tents, flashlights, blankets, pillows, warm clothing for the night, along with provisions such as food and a grill for cooking on-site.

Homestays in the area also offer food services for added convenience. Noteworthy accommodations include Ta Dung Topview homestay, Uncle Hung’s house in the Ta Dung Tourist Area, and Freedom Green Village.

Bath in Binh Chau Village’s hot mineral springs

Distance from Ho Chi Minh City: 140 kilometers

Cost: From VND2 million ($82)

Binh Chau Village is situated in Xuyen Moc District, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province. It is known as the southeast region of Vietnam’s “green lung.” Besides strolling along Ho Coc Beach, indulging in hot mineral springs is a popular activity in Binh Chau.

Tourists can enjoy boiling eggs in a hot mineral pool at Binh Chau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Photo courtesy of Instagram/ntqa2802

Tourists can enjoy boiling eggs in a hot mineral pool at Binh Chau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Photo courtesy of Instagram/ntqa2802

Visitors can opt for accommodations in the commune, either at hotels or homestays, and then they can arrange a private hot mineral bath service to optimize travel costs. For a more lavish experience, those with a higher budget may choose to stay at a resort offering hot mineral baths.

Mineral bath ticket prices start at VND170,000 ($7) per person, varying based on factors such as mud type, mineral content, and tub size. Beyond bathing, visitors can also enjoy foot soaking, massages, and savoring boiled eggs in the hot water well. Resort stays with mineral baths range from VND2 million per night, depending on the room type, with a separate entrance fee option for guests only interested in the mineral bath experience.

5. Relax at Ho Tram Beach

Distance from Ho Chi Minh City: About 120 kilometers

Cost: From VND3 million ($123)

Ho Tram Beach stands as a renowned tourist destination in Ba Ria – Vung Tau, captivating with its blue sea, sandy beaches, and tranquil atmosphere, all of which make it a perfect retreat for relaxation. Multiple transportation options are available to reach Ho Tram, with private cars, bus services, and motorbikes being the most popular choices.

A stretch of casuarinas and melaleuca trees line the curves of the Ho Tram coast in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Photo by VnExpress/Thy An

A stretch of casuarinas and melaleuca trees line the curves of the Ho Tram coast in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Photo by VnExpress/Thy An

Additionally, some resorts provide complimentary shuttle services for guests traveling from Ho Chi Minh City.

Accommodation options in Ho Tram cater to a range of budgets. Less-expensive hotels and affordable motels include Duy Tan Hotel, Ven Song Riverside Hotel, Sea View Hotel, and the Cat Dang Motel. More upscale establishments for those seeking a higher level of luxury range all the way up to the area’s two 5-star resorts—InterContinental Grand Ho Tram and Holiday Inn Resort Ho Tram Beach—which are situated close to the sea in isolated settings. Holiday accommodation costs start from VND3 million per night, depending on the room and villa type.

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