In May of 2018, our colleague Sigrid visited Vietnam. Read about her experiences below.
This was my first trip to Vietnam, so I was obviously very excited about what the coming days had to offer. And it would soon turn out that I did not become disappointed.
After being landed and transported through the city to the hotel, my first impression was, that Hanoi was a rather chaotic city, just by looking at the traffic. A jumble of scooters, cars, big trucks and rickshaws. After a few hours in this city, one finds out that the only way to cross the street is to zigzag between cars, scooters, cyclists, etc. otherwise you will never get anywhere. Later, however, I found out that this indeed is Vietnam and not just Hanoi.
After half a day on my own in Hanoi, I had an interesting and very informative city tour. I visited some of the main attractions of the city. Hanoi is a cultural and historically rich city. Like for instance The Temple of Literature. An almost 1000-year-old temple built by Chinese Confucius students, a unique example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Likewise, the Ngoc Son Temple, located on a small island in Hoan Kiem Lake, as well as the amazing water puppet theater.
Our hotel in Hanoi is located within a 5-minute walk of Hoan Kiem Lake. A walk down the lake is recommended. Partly because it is beautiful, and you can observe local life, but also because the air is a bit cooler here. The temperature was between 34-36 degrees with high humidity.
Next stop was the Ha Long cruise.
It was probably the part of the journey that I had looked most forward to, and I can say that it fully lived up to the expectations. Sailing through the bay with the most amazing view, while traditional Vietnamese 3-course selection lunch meal was being served, felt like pure luxury.
The cruise program included a walk up to Surprise Cave – the most famous cave in Ha long – via a small opening in the rock, a visit to an oyster farm, a mini-course in preparing traditional Vietnamese spring rolls, squid fishing, swimming in the ocean and time for relaxing, while sitting and enjoying the view. It is hard to describe how beautiful and magnificent the Ha Long Bay is, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
After a 16-hour train ride, I arrived at Da Nang station, from where I was transferred directly to the hotel in Hoi An. Let me put it this way: if you are planning a visit to Vietnam, don’t miss Hoi An.
Historically, Hoi An is a former trading port where Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese and Portuguese merchants came in the 16th to 18t. century. Today, the city is famous for its restored architecture, homemade silk, expert tailors, the food, especially the local noodle and seafood dishes and not to forget the colorful lanterns. The city’s quiet atmosphere makes it easy for you to stroll around the small streets of the old town. Hoi An is really the city of the lanterns, and a very charming and cozy city.
I also had a half-day trip to My Son, one hour’s drive from Hoi An. My Son was the capital of the ancient Cham civilization ruling in central Vietnam in the 2nd 13th century. Unfortunately, a big part of My Son was bombed by the Americans during the Vietnam War, but the part that still remains, gives a unique insight into that part of Vietnamese history.
Ho Chi Minh is a metropolis with large modern skyscrapers and ancient colonial buildings.
As a tourist, the city is a good starting point for excursions both in and outside the city. It was especially the War Remnants Museum that made a big impression on me. There is no doubt that the Vietnam war has set deep traces in the people of Vietnam. A visit to this museum plus a trip to the Cu Chi tunnels gives a unique insight into what horrors the Vietnamese people underwent during the war. And their survivability.
There is so much to experience in Ho Chi Minh. I must mention the Ben Thanh Market, which is only a 5-minute walk from our hotel. Here you can shop almost everything you can even imagine of both local and foreign goods. And here you can also taste the local cuisine, like noodles, fresh seafood, spring rolls, crispy rice pancakes and so on. Many locals are enjoying a bite to eat and a quick drink here on their way home from work.
My last couple of days in Vietnam were spent at a very nice beach hotel in Phan Thiet.
Here I had time to relax at the pool or the beach after some eventful days in Vietnam. Perfect end of a fantastic trip.
You accept this by clicking on.
Read more here.
We have redesigned since you last visited us, but our tours are still the same.