At the beginning of this year I was lucky enough to travel from the North to the South of Vietnam over the course of 3 weeks. Vietnam is a beautiful country with busy cities to quiet tranquil towns with amazing architecture to beautiful lush greenery.
Seeing as summer is about to hit and everyone usually everyone takes time off, I thought why not share my Vietnam adventure and hopefully help you plan a future trip to this amazing country.
I first flew into Hanoi, the busiest city in the North of Vietnam. Now what I can tell you is, this place is perfect to visit if your on the hunt for inexpensive food, great sightseeing and of course meeting other westerners travelling throughout the country. Make sure you try a sizzling BBQ and Bun Cha here!
It’s easy to travel to Halong Bay from here which is exactly what I did. The best way to see everything the bay has to offer, is to take a 3 day cruise. I mean it when I say “You get what you pay for…”. The luxurious cruises will cost you around $400 a night, but if your on a budget opt for a middle range price and you will be well catered too swell.
The next stop was Danang. Now this was a very interesting place. Despite having their own airport and being a pit stop for Hoi An, most people spoke little to no english. So communicating was a little difficult. But we still managed to get around after hiring a scooter and explored this vast city. If you are planning on staying Danang make sure you visit the Sky Bar. It gives you incredible views of the city and at nighttime it really is something magical.
Two hours out of Danang is Hoi An. Now anyone who has been here will back me up when I say, this place is sweetest town in the whole of Vietnam. The streets are decked out in lanterns, everyone cycles around on bikes and if your chasing local food, this as tasty and as local as it gets. I highly recommend trying Cao Lau, a signature dish in Hoi An.
Now I know that I just said Hoi An was very sweet but if french scenery is your idea of beautiful, then Dalat will steal your heart. Only accessible by coach via Na Trang, this place is where Europe meets Asia. The whole town is filled with French Colonial Architecture and really is breath taking. Filled with delicious french bakeries, Sizzling steak and eggs cafes and opportunities for canyoning, this a must stop if you up for an adventure.
The last few days of the trip were spent in the capital of Vietnam, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh). Street stalls, food markets, roads filled with scooters and people everywhere….. this place will meet your expectations of a capital city, in Asia. If you feel like shopping, experiencing fine dining and heading to the best bars in country, Saigon is a definite must. Fill your mind with history and knowledge and head to the museums and book a day trip Cu Chi Tunnels. This city has everything to offer so everyone will find something they love.
My top 10 tips for travelling Vietnam
- PLAN. I can’t stress this enough, . Transport can be quite difficult to get, especially in more remote areas. Certain places are only accessible by car or bus and don’t always depart frequently.
- $$$. Make sure you convert whatever finances you have into US dollar. The whole country has adopted to the currency and tends to use/ accept it over their localand in some places won’t except anything else.
- Pack a variation of clothes. The north is way cooler than the south and warmer clothes will be necessary depending when you travel.
- Accommodation. Generally very cheap, you can often get hotels that will give you a great room in the centre of the action, with free breakfast and can often be cheaper then a backpackers!
- Food. It will only slightly variate through out the country but must try are: Pho’, Banh Mi, Steak and Eggs, Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Spring rolls), and Com Tam.
- Water. Don’t drink from the taps! Bottled water is the way to go if you want to avoid an upset stomach.
- Scooters. Wear a helmet at all times. Not even the locals risk going without one, the fines are heavy and being a Westerner it could result in a harsher penalty.
- Valuables. Theft happens everywhere but it can be even worse when your over seas, watch your valuables.
- Make friends. People from all over the world come to travel this beautiful country and experience the culture. Step out your comfort zone and link up with people to sight see with in Vietnam. Travelling is always better with company!