Halong Bay is probably one of the most popular tourist spots in Vietnam. It’s a little slice of paradise with it limestone rocks towering over emerald coloured water.
Everywhere will do tours to the spot whether it is 1,2, or 3 day excursions including kayaking and cycling around the islands. These are probably the cheaper options, especially if you go with ‘CastAways’ or ‘HideAways’ tour company for around $70. Or if you feeling really luxury, you can book a rather fancy overnight cruise for approximately $230.
Tam Coc otherwise known as the Halong Bay on land. It is mostly appreciated by cruising along the river in a little rowing boat taken by a local- rowing with her feet in-fact. The boat tour lasts around 1 hour and 30 mins and they take you around the windy river & through the caves.
The scenery is amazing and makes you feel like you’re in a scene out of Jurassic Park. Everywhere you look is so green & beautiful.
Just to note, at the end of the tour before they take you back, you meet other locals on boats keen to sell you drinks and food. Don’t feel pressured to buy anything, they will probably just keep on at you until you leave.
Phong Nha- The Dark Caves
An incredible trip but something to think about if your very claustrophobic like myself.
Despite the main attraction being the cave, you start the experience by zip-lining over the river to get to the entrance. Just an added thrill to your day!
You enter the cave and wade through water and over rocks as it begins to get darker & darker. The guide then explains that everyone will be going through a hole and down 100m. I wasn’t definitely not keen on this and was adamant I was going. Although I had Joe behind me not giving me much choice. I climbed in, following everyone else through this tunnel of mud & water and eventually we reached the mud bath. This was probably about 1 metre deep of thick mud which everyone covered themselves in. Then, oh my god, the guide told us all to turn off our head torches so we were in complete darkness. It was definitely an experience & one I’m glad to say I have done, but I was quick to get out. Joe on the other hand loved it. For someone who loves adventure & something a bit different, it was 100% worth doing. Then once we left the cave, we kayaked over to the other side of the river where there was a big obstacle cause of ropes, swings & zip-lines. It was all so worth doing and one of our best days!
If your visting Hue, there isn’t exactly a lot to do there. We only visited as we knew about the trip you could make from Hue to Hoi-An by scooter. It takes around 7 hours but there are multiple stops along the way to break up the trip and explore more of Vietnam. Our favourite most beautiful stop was Elephant Springs. For 50,000 dong each, we managed to have this pool of crystal clear water to ourselves. The trip also included the famous Hai Van Pass featured on Top Gear. The roads are windy, but being 500m above sea level, it gives you the most spectacular view of Vietnam.
Joe & I shared a bike, which made the price much cheaper. We were able to give our bags to our hostel in Hue who took them to Hoi An ready for when we got there.
One of our favourite places in Vietnam, we ended up staying for a week. The town is very touristy and can become quite busy in the evening especially along the river. However, regardless of that, its such a beautiful place, filled with lights and coloured lanterns. We stayed for the Lantern festival which happens every fortnight, however, the night didn’t really feel much different to any other night.
In the day, we rented bicycles from our hostel and rode along the rice paddies and down to Anbang beach. The town also has lots of markets and cute little shops along the street with handmade souvenirs. It’s hard not to stay a little longer in Hoi-An than you expected.
Strangely enough, Dalat is one of the coldest places in Vietnam, due to being so high up in the mountains. It was a bit odd walking around in leggings & a hoody.
Dalat wasn’t originally a stop over for us, until we got told about it by multiple people. It’s always best to get recommendations from people you meet.
For around $50, we had the experience of canyoning around waterfalls. This included, abseiling & sliding down them and even throwing ourselves off an 11m drop. It was definitely an day fuelled with adrenaline and excitement.
The guides made us feel really safe, showing us how to abseil and what to do at each waterfall. Although the worst one was the ‘Washing Machine’. We were told to get down through it as quickly as possible but when your stuck in the middle of a waterfall with water on top of you, everything goes out the window. I think everyone came out of that wondering how they managed to get out alive!
A place of white beaches & crystal clear water. If your thinking of going to Nha Trang, consider Quy Nhon first. We stayed at Life’s a Beach hostel and we had our own private beach. It was the perfect location for just a few days of chilling and topping up our tan. There isn’t really much to do in the area and there isn’t any wifi at the hostel. So you are really shutting yourself off for a couple of days and experiencing real paradise.
If you don’t mind early starts, the sunrise on the sand-dunes is incredible. Our tour started at 4am but was so worth it. When we arrived, we were given the option of getting on a quad having a lift to the top for 400,000 for two. It completely depends on your budget but we definitely felt it was worth it as we got to the top pretty quickly. Watching the sunrise is pretty amazing and the most perfect way to start the day. It was beautiful & full of photo opportunities. We had about an hour up there and then we took the quad back down as he razzed us down the hill and over the dunes.
Ho Chi Minh
Being the capital of Vietnam, it is very busy and full of life. Especially at night time. The bars fill up and sometimes fill out onto the streets with plastic seats to accommodate the customers. Its pretty expensive down pub street so be wary of where and how to spend your money. We often got beers from the supermarket to drink on the way, otherwise your wallet takes a bit of a hit.
Not only does Ho Chi Minh offer a busy nightlife, it also holds an incredible amount of history. If your in Ho Chi Minh, its definitely important to visit the War Remnants Museum to get a real insight into the history of Vietnam and the people who live there. The photos and information there is heartbreaking and definitely a tough read. However, its a real eye opener and makes you feel what you may take for granted.
The Mekong Delta often gets forgotten about when people visit Vietnam. We booked on a tour with a company called ‘Mekong & more’ and it was one of the best tours we have been on. https://www.mekongandmore.com/. It is organised by an Australian man and his Vietnamese wife and they give you the most authentic & genuine tour. Accommodation and food is included for about $90. All you have to pay for is any drinks you want. They took us to spots that are not touristy what so ever and took us to local restaurants you wouldn’t usually go to but had the yummiest food!