Vietnam is one of my favourite places. The colourful streets and the optimistic, friendly people make this country what it is, amazing. Vietnam is also a place of outstanding natural beauty with something to see wherever you are. It has a wide variety of activities and things to see, so whatever city you are in you won’t be stuck for things to do. Vietnam has everything from beaches to mountains, shops to temples, outdoor to indoor activities.
Hoi An is a beautiful Vietnamese place that is strung with colourful lanterns that create a lovely ambience when they are all lit up in the evening. The winding streets that pass through the yellow houses is a wonderful road to walk along and take in the local life.
Hoi An is known for its custom made clothing. I had a blazer made with fabulous winged shoulder pads, and it is my most worn piece of clothing. It is a fun experience. You get to pick the material you would like, and you can have absolutely anything made. My friend had fallen in love with a Dior dress, so she showed the seamstress a picture of the dress and the woman helped her pick out some similar material. We left it with them for 2 days, and when we popped back, she had the dress of her dreams made for only £80.
Hoi An is known as the ancient city because it still boasts ancient buildings and sticks to traditions that are from many years ago. The city is remarkable to walk around as you can really soak up the true Vietnamese way of life. The detailed buildings that are all surrounded by beautiful flowers all have their own interest factor. Each flower that is planted is so for a purpose, not just because they look pretty, which they do.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, or better known as Saigon is a wonderland of colour, fantastic food and smiles. Also, it has some of the busiest traffic I have ever seen.
The Local Market
In district 10 you will find the very well known market that sells everything from veggies, salon services, clothing to homeware. The atmosphere is electric as you can hear the locals shouting at the visitors trying to make a sale. I bought the most delicious mango’s here and had one for breakfast the next morning. It was so juicy and sweet.
Ho Chi Minh City Nightlife
This place is thriving at night time, so it is a great place to let your hair down. There is the Backpacker district which is a great place to meet new people. They do ladies night which means that ladies drink for free. If you can be there for ladies night, you save some money, but even if it is not free drinking, it is still very cheap. It’s a great night with the last bar closing at 4am.
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay Cruise
Taking a cruise through Ha Long Bay is something most people do if they are in this part of the world, as it has recently been named one of the natural wonders. I did a day cruise through the bay that started bright and early in the morning. A lot of people got on 2 to 3-day cruises, but I only had time to do the one day.
It took us a while to get from the port to the bay, but as we entered it, it was very misty and cold, which gave it an eerie feel. However, not long after, it cleared up, and the sun came out which brought out the magic. As we sailed through the emerging rock faces, it really was impressive.
We stopped off to go kayaking. While kayaking around the bay, it was terrific to go near to all the rock faces and get a close look. We were kayaking for about an hour.
We then got back on the boat and were given lunch which was a buffet style lunch which had veggie options as well as the usual rice, chicken, bread etc. We stopped off at our next destination which was a cliff face which everyone could climb to get a great view of the bay from the top. It is only 1000 steps. Needless to say, I was exhausted when we got to the top, but the view made it all worth it. Climbing back down was just as hard but definitely worth it. I really enjoyed the cruise around the bay and would recommend it to everyone.
Nha Trang beach
This beach is touristy, but it is worth going to, as the sand is powdery fine and the sea is perfect. Along the front of the beach, there are many restaurants to refuel at and watch the world go by. On the beach, some people come round and try to sell you various T-shirts and bracelets, but they are not pushy.
Boat rides are very popular here, and there are boats lined up in the harbour waiting to take you and your friends on a brilliant day out. 12 of us joined a boat that was also taking 2 other large groups of backpackers out for the day, which was great because we were all on the same wavelength. We paid a one-off fee of £40 each, which included as much drink as you wanted and a buffet lunch. In the morning we stopped off out in the sea, and all had a snorkel in the blue water. The guys on the boat threw rubber rings at us all so we could float around with our drinks in hand. Lunch was served at about 1pm, and there was so much delicious food. The music was turned up after we had eaten and we were all dancing around having the best time.
We stopped off at a private beach for the rest of the afternoon. There was a volleyball net, so a lot of people were playing that. There were beds to sunbathe, and the sea was full of fish so of course, that’s where I was, swimming with the fishes. This was a fantastic day, and for the money, I have no complaints.
Things to know
Ying and Yang
The principle of Ying and Yang is also used when making food. They believe a good contrast in spice, temperature and ingredients helps create a healthy meal.
Vietnam is the worlds largest exporter of the cashew nut
The brand ‘North Face’ is made in Vietnam so you may find you are able to find some quality goods for a fraction of the price because they are not good enough to be sold in the shops abroad.
95,000,000 people live in Vietnam
The currency is called a Dong
I hope this gave you a few ideas of what to do when you visit Vietnam. This is a place where there is so much to do, in an ideal world it would be good not to have a time limit here.