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10 days in Vietnam
10 days in Vietnam
Posted at: 11:30am , 18 Jun 2019 By James Eacott

10 days in Vietnam

I arrived into Hanoi after a very pleasant flight with Vietnam Airlines.

The first learning curve here is how to cross the road! You soon get used to this - just remember when you come back to the UK to stop.

Hanoi is a great introduction to Vietnam with the bustle of the Old City and the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake to meander around. Do sample the local Pho (local broth noodle), this is tastier and more filling than it appears. Put your sightseeing hat on and visit the 900-year-old temple of literature, the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and the President palace. A great way to see the old quarter is by cyclo tour, and if you get chance visit Hotel La Siesta Trendy for a yummy lunch!

A two-hour drive from Hanoi and we arrived at our second location La Han Bay, a quieter version with less boats than Halong Bay.

We spent a night onboard; I loved the cabins with floor to ceiling windows watching the Karst mountains and beautiful scenery go by. There are plenty of activities if you want to get involved with, such as a visit to the nearby caves, cooking demonstrations and kayaking. When the sound of the engines wakes you in the morning, try a tai chi lesson on the top deck, or sit with a book on the balcony. 

Next stop was the ancient town of Hoi An, my favourite place in Vietnam.

Picturesque narrow streets with shops and markets, lit up by colourful lanterns at night. There is a real mix of styles here with a Chinese influence. We had a walking tour of the town including the Japanese covered bridge, merchants’ houses and museums as well as time to make our own lantern. If you would like a few days to rest and relax on a beach Hoi An is the place to do so. 

After leaving Hoi An we ventured to Hue, a scenic drive through the cloud covered mountains with incredible views over Danang Bay. In Hue we visited the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City. A quick night here before our flight to Ho Chi Minh City. From Saigon we travelled by road to Can Tho, via Cai be to get a taste of the Mekong Delta. We boarded charming wooden boats to explore the bustling Mekong canals. Cai Rang floating market is a must! Unlike Bangkok if you have been, this is a true authentic floating market with locals buying fruit and veg, not for tourists. 

Saigon has about 9 districts. It’s a huge city and I really liked the mix of old and new. Hotel des Arts roof top is worth a visit for a cocktail with incredible views! One of the tallest roof tops and a DJ on the decks! There are many historic landmarks such as the opera house, former president’s palace and the Notre Dame Cathedral to see, so I would recommend having at least a couple of nights here. I ran out of time to visit the Remnants war museum which I regret as it’s supposed to be very interesting.

The following morning, we visited the Cu Chi tunnels by speedboat. A visit to the underground villages provides an understanding on how the tunnels were constructed and this really makes the recent war with America come to life. You can see French and American influences in architecture all over Vietnam (mostly French colonial style).

My highlight of the trip was our Saigon after dark foodie tour by vespa! I didn’t stop laughing an enjoyed trying to speak with my biker ‘Tan’ (pronounced tongue).

Tips for travelling in Vietnam:

  • Pack a light raincoat, when it rains it does rain! however usually for a short period of time.

  • Although you can use American Dollars in Vietnam, smaller stalls and markets will accept Vietnamese Dong only, so it’s worth ensuring you have Dong on you in change.

  • It is humid and hot, always make sure you drink plenty of water. A lot of places don’t yet have taps to re fill bottles. 

  • Be adventurous, try the food that you may not normally opt for as its delicious.

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