Travelling through Vietnam was one of my best trips in Asia so far. It was also my first-time backpacking. I really enjoyed this experience because It was different than what I’m used to do during my vacation (which consist in relaxing near the pool of the hostel). Me and my friends discovered Vietnam from the north to the south in two and a half weeks. The country offers so many diverse landscapes and the food is amazing.
First, we landed to Hanoi (the ancient capital city) from Taipei where I studied for a semester. So yes, Hanoi is really messy and crazy! The first day, we barely went out from our hostel and we saw a scooter accident! An old Vietnamese man broke his leg just in front of us… To be honest, I didn’t like the big cities in Vietnam (Hanoi and HCM city) because it was really noisy and messy. Indeed, there are so many scooters, and very difficult to go by walk around. For me, the best place to go are the others cities where you can go trekking, kayaking and admire the beauty of the landscape. I don’t recommend to spend a lot of time in Hanoi, one or two days is enough.
In the mist of Sapa Town
We did a 12 km trek in the mountains and rice fields under the rain. Thus, it was very slippery and muddy but I really enjoy hiking in Sapa, the landscape was beautiful and it was nice to escape from Hanoi. We were in the core of the mountain and far away from everything.
We spent the night in barn we decided to take a “real experience” and to sleep at the locals. However, the barn was very rudimental with no heat, we had a fire for 30 min and then we slept under 4 degrees, with big blankets. I woke up several times because it was so cold. I didn’t expect that as a local experience. But it was how the family lived. Their home was in small village in the middle of the mountains.
Sunny Ha Long bay
After the cold of Sapa we spent 2 days in Ha Long Bay. It is a really famous spot for the beach and all the water activities. When we got there, we just relax, swim, kayak and eat some fish and oysters!
Into the jungle of Phang Nha
Phang Nha was definitely the wildest tour that I had in Vietnam! We did a tour trek into the jungle for an entire day! We walked 12km under a small rain and covered by mud all over the feet, legs and butt! We book a tour in Abandoned Vally trek which included a swim in the dark caves, a lunch barbecue and an exploration in other caves.
The swim in the dark caves was the coolest moment of the tour! The guide gave us a helmet, a head torch and a lifejacket before interring the cave. Once in the cave, we all turned off our head torch, for maybe 2 minutes, and it was pitch black. It was a little scary to be in the total dark I was opening and closing my eyes, it was just the same. After two minutes, we all turned the head torch on and we swam back to the spot to have a barbecue lunch! It was so good, the men in the tour carried all the equipment for the barbecue. A Huge thank to these brave men!
few hours in Hue
We only spent 4 hours in Hue, it was a stop in between to buses from Phang Nha to Hoi An.
We took a tour bike riding by an old Vietnamese man but he was really energetic!
Some friends told me that Hue doesn’t worth to spend an entire day there because there is not lot to see or do. So, having a couple of hours in Hue was perfect to discover the city and having a small break for coffee of course!
- The marvelous Hoi An
Hoi An was definitely the highlight of my journey in Vietnam. I heard a lot about of good things about this place before, and especially about the lanterns. Indeed, Hoi An is well known for its lanterns which are hung everywhere in the streets. That make the city so beautiful and famous. The city is also known for its tailors. You can have a dress or a suit made for less than 48 hours and for a very low price.
- Relaxing in Mui Ne
After treating ourselves with really good Vietnamese food in Hoi An, we headed to Mui Ne to discover the white dunes. Mui Ne was nice but it seemed a little bit boring compare to all the adventures we had before.
- 3 days in Ho Chi Minh
HCM was worst than Hanoi, I really don’t like it. It was scouter everywhere. The city was crowded, noisy. I just did not vibe with this city. But I enjoy and I recommend the war museum which was my favorite thing to visit in HCM. I learned a lot about the Vietnamese war between 1960-70. the information was very complete and I like the fact that they also focus on the war reporters and photographers.
how we get to each city
Night bus! so many, cheap but the drivers are a bit crazy, drive fast and hunk a lot! We spent at least 2 days in each city.
Spring rolls, I simply had the best spring rolls in Hoi An ! So, different than what I used to eat in Paris, it is all homemade and fresh!
Banh mi: the Vietnamese sandwich with a baguette you can find best banh mi in HCM city.
Pho the traditional Vietnamese soup. It was very hot, so I just had one pho the last day before going back to Taiwan.