This will be my first time travel to Vietnam. I was born in Sri lanka , so I'm kinds of used to the fun / tricks associated with third world life :-), but having lived in overseas for long and not knowing the local language is going to be bit challege.
Purpose of my visit : To experience the local culture, just wanted to be with locals, eat / learn local cooking as I love cooking, travel in boat/cruise.. even try the fresh Vietnam Beer
Duration of stay : 2004 Mar 12 till 20th Mar.
Port of landing : Saigon international airport.
Type of accommodation : Back packing.
Male sole traveler.
Could you please help me with
1. Where to travel around.
2. Best place to visit.
3. best mode of transport.
4. any Budget travel guides etcc
Any other useful tips.
Well, you've only got 7 full days if you consider your arrival an departure days as already filled. With that time you're best to just stay in the Mekong Delta region. With that focus, I think you'll find plenty of information on this site to give you ideas of where to go. You don't want to pick more than 3 spots in my opinion as travel between destinations will probably eat up a whole day. So, maybe Can Tho for a first stop and then just taking a boat up to a pre-arranged homestay in the Delta. Perhaps ask around with a specific forum topic on homestay/cooking courses with locals in the Delta region. With two nights in Can Tho, two nights in a homestay you'll sandwich in some time in HCMC where you can probably arrange another cooking course and just see the sites around the city.
For travel, I'd recommend Phoung Trang & Mai Linh as the best bus companies to use for comfort and speed.