When you arrive in Vietnam, the first thing that hits you is the heat! It’s hot, it’s humid, it’s crazy! Without a doubt the biggest culture shock is the traffic, consisting mostly of motorbikes and mopeds which shoot in every direction! Drive at your peril but enjoy this fun and beautiful country, the friendly people and the exciting culture.
The capital of Vietnam, located in the north of the country, is a true Vietnamese city. The streets of Hanoi are a winding maze filled with shops, bars and little restaurants. With countless swarming motorbikes, simply crossing the road is an experience within itself. But Hanoi is so attractive, all the quirky, mismatched buildings of the buzzing Old Quarter draw you in. Every street corner has plastic stools with people serving huge bowls of noodles, rice and Pho - which is traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. A visit to the Ho Chi Minh museum and mausoleum and the one pillar pagoda offers a fascinating insight into the history of this once very troubled country which is now so warm and friendly. In the heart of the Old Quarter is the stunning Hoan Kiem Lake, which is well worth a morning stroll around. Hanoi is alive 24/7, whether it be through the roar of an engine, the shouts of an overcrowded market or the smells that fragrance the air. Hanoi is an unmissable stop on a tour of Vietnam.
The city of Da Lat is located inland, set in the mountains of Vietnam. The winding, sloping streets, painted houses, pine trees and cool climate makes it feel like a European destination. Da Lat was the most unique and intriguing destination visited on our journey through Vietnam. It has a different vibe, filled with independent coffee shops, cafés and the most mouth-watering bakeries. The scenery in and around Da Lat is simply breath taking and visiting will open a new door, a new perspective on what Vietnam has to offer.
The charming, pretty town of Hoi An is located along Vietnam's coastline, only a short journey from the city of Da Nang. There was something special about Hoi An, it had a brilliant atmosphere. It was one of the most sociable scenes in all of Vietnam, full of bars and restaurants, especially along the riverfront by the Japanese Bridge. Hoi An is also great for shopping, well known for both selling and making clothes it's perfect for picking up some bargains and for cruising about the quieter streets on a motorbike. It's a great way to spend a day and visit the beautiful beaches that Hoi An is home to. Only a small place, but Hoi An grabs you with both hands, as you soak up the atmosphere you and can't help but fall for its charms.
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam's mammoth city in the south, Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, is a rollercoaster that everyone must ride. Filled with both skyscrapers and twisting backstreet alleys akin with Hanoi, HCMC has it all, mashing the modern and traditional in one giant package. Plus, the food is sensational. There are thousands of restaurants to choose from and we found that most are dishing up some of the best food in Vietnam. Vietnam's largest city is a beating heart, full of life.
Nothing can quite describe the magic of Halong Bay. No picture posted on this blog, or anywhere, can quite do the scenery justice. The still emerald waters, the fairy tale islands and beaches and, of course, the mountainous limestone rocks jetting from the water, the lush greenness of them at one with the water they bathe in. Halong Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site for a reason. Its natural beauty is unlike anything seen before and sailing through its mythical landscape is absolutely not to be missed on any trip to Vietnam.