I was determined to see as much of Vietnam as possible in my 11 days, this was to include travel from the UK too. This was going to be an adventure and this is how I completed a mini trip of a lifetime (all this with my 15 year old son)!
Flying from London Gatwick to Hoi Chi Minh City (Siagon) via Hong Kong on Cathy Pacific. We settled in for our 11 hour flight and in no time at all we reached our first destination. Long haul flights seem so much easier than short haul. After a day in Hong Kong sampling the atmosphere and shopping we went onward to Ho Chi Minh City. Whilst planning this itinerary I wanted to see Vietnam for all its glory and sample different places to stay. Our first was a backpacker’s hostel in central Siagon. We arrived safely by taxi and instantly went out in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a very different world in Siagon over taken by scooters and people hooting! Crossing and walking down the road became an experience, you soon got the hang of dodging scooters. The street food and the living cost of this country shone through on arrival, people are very friendly and live in a basic life! This city is cheap and full of life, a beer was 60p well needed! Through our hostel we booked a Metong River Cruise with Hai Travel, the itinerary included pick up form our hotel, coach out of town to see: Budahas, temples,candy factory, crocodiles, river crossing, gondola down the river and lunch! This cost £9 for everything and we were thoroughly impressed! If time permits go for the 2 day 1 night tour.
The night market is another must do in Ho Chi Minh City you can get all sorts here but remember to haggle! Go in at half the asked price and meet in the middle. Sample street food here it is lovely and so cheap wherever you can try ‘Banh mi’ (it’s a baguette filled with meat, a sauce and grated salad). Try it, it’s yummy! After 2 nights we were moving on back to the airport for our onward trip, next stop Nah Trang!
We’ve arrived! Hello Nah Trang! Home to beautiful paradise beaches. We checked into our hotel and was most impressed by the quality and friendliness. We had all ready decided this was our beach time and would totally relax, this is exactly what we did. The beaches are beautiful, crystal clear waters and white beaches. If you’re a waters sports lover, this is paradise.
We snorkeled and went on jet skies, the water was full of life and with the sun beaming down it was like paradise. After a long day on the beach we ventured out to The Sailing Club which has a beautiful setting, beanbags on the beach and funky music playing, one of the best curries I have ever tasted, made this a real quirky night spot. We really enjoyed our time here and would most definitely return for a relaxed holiday! After 2 nights we decided to take the overnight train to Hoi An.
Hoi An is so welcoming and I left with a heavy heart! The town is beautiful and surrounded by lanterns everywhere, they line every street and light up Hoi An. Here we stayed in a homestay with a Vietnamese family, in the grounds of their home in our own bungalow. Again, this whole culture is so kind, Vietnamese people would do anything for you, they do not live a rich life at all but they are keen to see you smile. We took a private day trip around Hoi An sampling local delicacies like ‘Egg Coffee’ and ‘Cau Lau’ it’s made with noodles only made in Hoi An. The culture in this town is full and well worth listening to stories told by old and young. The Japanese bridge is worth a visit here. Hoi An is known for it’s tailoring and leather making. A full suit will cost you around £39 with shirts costing £15 they have every fabric possible and books full of ideas. I was measured at 11 am and had my clothing by 16:30 the same day. The beaches here are beautiful too you get a good mixture in Hoi An of town and beach. After two nights here we moved on again this time by flight to our last stop Hanoi!
Hanoi – A city with again thousands of scooters everywhere! It’s easy to navigate around this city with a map ask any travel shop they will give you one. We set off the first day in search of the Water puppet theatre and Hoan Kiem Lake, easily found and well worth seeing. The water puppet show is clever and for a couple of pound each worth it. We also visited the prison here and was fascinated by its history! Although this city is lovely we would have preferred to see Halong Bay or Sappa. After 2 days here we left for our flight home.
I was completely won over by Vietnam and so glad I choose this amazing country, it’s everything I have dreamed of and more! Yes, it’s a long flight but it’s definitely worth it. The jet lag is easily ignored and recovery is quick. I think this is an ideal destination for most and a must see place for all.
Many thanks to our colleague and guest blogger Sarah Jane Martin for sharing her experience of Vietnam with everyone.