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January 23, 2012

Going on a trip to Vietnam part 1

Hey people! You might have noticed, I’ve changed the heading of my blog from “Psychedelic art and design blog” to “Color your reality with psychedelic vision”. Within this year I’ll try to show you how you can saturate your reality using psychedelic vision and doing different stuff. Going on a trip can make a serious impact on your perception and vision. I’m not talking about the trips you go on by using psychoactive substances, but about the traditional one. I’ll tell you how you can set up in central highlands of Vietnam and later I’ll tell you what you can do there during 2 month.

Those of you who follow my blog for a while know I love traveling. I try to spend the cold Russian winter in some warm place on our wonderful globe. 2 years ago me and my girlfriend went to Thailand and we spent the winter in Southern California last year. This time we are back to South-East Asia. I’ve started writing this post while sitting in an airport in Ho Chi Min (ex Saigon), Vietnam waiting for plane to Bangkok, Thailand and I’ve finished it few days later on a tropical island Koh Chang.

Let’s start! Below you’ll find few tips on setting up and spending time in Vietnam./

How to find a house for rent in Vietnam?

First things first. You need a place to live. Sure it can be a guesthouse (from 6$ per night) or a hotel (from 20$ per night), but it will only be one room – good if you are out all the time, but bad if you want to do art or work at home. Besides it’s kind of hard to spend a month or two in a hotel. So you need a house or at least an apartment. In Vietnam people hardly speak English and it is really hard to speak Vietnamese. There are no “House for rent” signs on the streets (unlike Thailand). Almost only thing you can do is go to a tour agency and ask them to find a house for you or speak to someone at the hotel’s reception.

Houses in Da Lat, Vietnam

How much does it cost to rent a house in Vietnam?

There are few things you should know when renting a house:

  • You don’t have to pay the guys from the tour agency, cause their royalty is included in the price of the house.
  • The best time to look for a house is October and early November – before the high season starts and all good and cheap houses are rented.
  • If you rent a house for 5-6 month you can get a nice discount.

Well, we’ve been only in two locations. First was Muine – it’s a coastal village in Southern Vietnam with tones of tourists and wavy sea. The best house we saw there in the late November 2011 was 300$ per month if you stay for at least 3 month. There were 2 huge rooms and kitchen within the house, but the building was few minutes ride away from the shore. Not the best variant, but we came to Vietnam too late this time. There were less expensive houses but much worse in general.

The second location was Da Lat – a beautiful mountain town, very calm and refreshing. We lived in the very center of the town in a 3-floors-tall apartment and we paid 400$ per month. We have also seen a house a bit further from the center and maybe two times smaller for 300$.

Where to eat in Vietnam?

I’m afraid I’ll disappoint you – the food in Vietnam is OK but not great. The most popular dish is a meat soup with rice noodles served with a plate of fresh basil, salad and other plants you add yourself to the soup. It’s called Pho Bo. You can find it everywhere. The price is 1.2-2$.

Cafe in Da Lat, Vietnam

Most of native dishes are rice or rice noodles + meat, pork, chicken or squid and shrimp. They cost about 1.5-3$ in a street cafe. If you go to a restaurant they can serve you very much the same thing but the price will be 2-5-times higher.

Street food in Da Lat, Vietnam

You can also find lots of seafood here. The closer you get to the coast the larger variety is waiting for you. You can see living snails, shells, squids, turtles, sharks and other exotic animals within fishtanks. You just have to pick one and it will be grilled in front of you. Kind of weird, isn’t it?

We’ve seen only one vegetarian restaurant in Da Lat. It was very nice there. Relaxing music, Buddhist monks all around and good food for about 2$ per plate of rice with fried tofu and vegetables.

Another option is to cook yourself. You’ll find everything you need on the market. Unfortunately cooking takes time. Unless your creative field is food, I’d recommend you eat outside as most of the locals do.

What to drink in Vietnam?

Speaking of water you should definitely drink it from the bottles. Some people don’t even drink cocktails with ice, ’cause you can never tell what water was frozen into this ice. What I’d recommend you for sure is Vietnamese coffee. Vietnam was a French colony – this is why you can find baget bread and coffee everywhere. The Vietnamese coffee has a specific smell and it’s always very strong. Below is the image of a device used to make the coffee.

Vietnamese coffee

Vietnam is also famous for its cheap beer – about 50 cents a can which is nice to drink on a hot day. Locals drink beer with ice. You can also find cheap brandy (1$ per 300ml) and wine (2$ per 750ml) but its quality is quite average. We used to make glue wine on cold Da Lat winter evenings)

How to connect to Internet in Vietnam?

Finding Internet is not a big problem in Vietnam. Every guesthouse or hotel has its own wi-fi network and if you rent a house you can look for a house with ADLS or set it up yourself – this costs about 20$ to set everything up and about 20$ to pay for the unlimited plan per month. The speed low but not that bad – about 512 kb/s. You can also buy a 3G-modem if you travel a lot across the country. That usb-modem costs about 100$. Sorry I don’t know the monthly plans. The providers name is Vinaphone, so you can try to figure out their pricing yourself.

How to travel across Vietnam?

The most popular transport is a bus. A 6-8 hours ride can cost you 6-10$ depending on a type of a bus. I definitely recommend you going on a sleeper bus – the one with beds. If you go on a day time you’ll be laying in bed and observing the country. If you prefer going on a plane check out Asian low cost airways – AirAsia and Tiger. If you book in advance you can save a lot. Flying with Vietnam airlines will cost you at least 2 times more.

How to make these psychedelic effects on photographs?

I’d like to thank my dear love Marina for letting me to use her photographs she’d made in Vietnam to illustrate this post. You can find pictures of our trip to Vietnam on her Flickr. Frankly this psychedelic effect was made while I experimented with Photoshop filters. You can download the action I made from my Psychedelic Art Stash. All you need is subscribe to my newsletter to get the instant access to the premium psychedelic art resources I make. You’ll get the link after you subscribe. Those of you who are already on the list can just place your email and hit the button to get to the stash.








2 Comments on “Going on a trip to Vietnam part 1

Going on a trip to Vietnam part 2
January 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm

[…] week I told you how you can stay in Vietnam for a month or two. Today I’d like to speak on what you can do there. I lived only in one town for almost two […]

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[…] Going on a trip to Vietnam part 1 […]

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