Planning a trip to Vietnam? Dig in to this free online travel advice.

Ha Long Bay

When I sit down to write a new edition of Best Trips, I start looking for free online travel information with a simple Google search, then follow the link trail until I find the most useful content on the web.

With this Vietnam edition however, I knew exactly where to start looking. Free online travel information for Vietnam starts with one name: Robert Reid.

The Future Of Guidebooks

A veteran writer for Lonely Planet, Reid passed up the opportunity to update the newest edition of LP’s Vietnam guidebook. Instead, he went independent and online – publishing a comprehensive, free guide to Vietnam in September 2007, only a month after he finished his travel research.

Reid says his website is “the most in-depth, independently researched guidebook online for any destination”. He’s right, but it ain’t gonna stay that way for long.

The future of travel guides is online, and more and more travel writers are trading their book publishing contract for a WordPress template and a few Google generated ads.

Free Itineraries, Free Maps, Free Videos

Highlights from Reid’s online Vietnam guide include a handy-dandy itinerary planner, a collection of videos, free maps and easily printable, detailed guides to every nook and cranny of Vietnam (his guide to Phu Quoc Island is particularly good).

Speaking of Phu Quoc, a large island at which I’ve often gazed wistfully from the beach of Kep, Cambodia, check out Reid’s recent feature in the Houston Chronicle.

OK. Enough kissing up to Mr. Reid. Here are some more free online resources for your Vietnam travels.

More Resources

The FAQ Thread on Lonely Planet’s Thorntree forum has some useful information.

The New York Times travel section on Vietnam isn’t exactly comprehensive, but does boast solid features on golf in Vietnam and the ritzy southern resort town of Mui Ne.

TravelFish serves up an extremely useful article on how to catch a train in Vietnam (also check out an account of Scott Lothes rail journey to Hue on the Reunification Express).

In case you missed them, last week we featured detailed guides to Surfing Vietnam and Cycling Vietnam’s Highway 1 right here on MatadorTrips.

If you have any questions about a trip to Vietnam, or just want to talk about rare monkeys, be sure to get in touch with Matador’s Vietnam expert, Delacouri.

Have you come across any free online travel resources for Vietnam? Please leave a comment below!