Vietnam, the surprise that I never thought I’d receive. Vietnam was my favourite part of my trip by fair, why? Because I met so many amazing people and really traveled on my own for the first time.
I flew directly into Hanoi – be warned most credit cards are not accepted in the card machines so take cash with you. I staying in the downtown area as this is where most of the bars are. Everything is super easy to get to from this location. I wasn’t a massive fan of Hanoi because it was super loud and wasn’t great for my bipolar as I was just coming down from a manic episode so everything was super sensitive.
Hanoi – Mai Chau
From Hanoi I went to Mai Chau through Vietnam backpackers hostel https://www.vietnambackpackerhostels.com/explore/mai-chau-valley you stay at this really cute home stay in the middle of nowhere (it’s about a 2/3 hour drive from Hanoi and lasts for 2 nights). This is where I did hiking through the rice fields with a really nice guide called Finn. This also includes a bike ride around the rice fields and village and a motorbike ride (about an hour journey) to a cute lake where you get to go on a boat and go swimming. All food, activities and accommodation is included in the price that VBH quote.
From Mai Chau I went back to Hanoi and got an overnight sleeper coach to Hue. I booked this through VBH but you can book this through many a different travel agent shops in the area.
Hue – Hoi An
I only stayed in Hue for a night so I didn’t get to explore a lot but there is a few things to do so it’s worth a visit if you have time. From Hue, I got a jeep through the hostel (but again I’m pretty sure you can do this through travel agents in the area). https://www.vietnambackpackerhostels.com/explore/hai-van-pass the Jeep tour takes you to Dong Ha beach where you can have a swim and have lunch (included in the price) and then to Hai Van pass which is a famous road on Top Gear, you also get an amazing view to the Philippines from here. As well as this you get to go to hell. I know crazy. But it’s the caves where Vietnamese people believe their souls go after death. Eventually you end up in Hoi An, which was my favourite place of the whole trip.
I seriously recommend that you stay in this hostel (they have private rooms) the vibe is amazing and it feels like a hotel and has a pool! https://www.vietnambackpackerhostels.com/eat-and-sleep/hoi-an-hostel Hoi An is famous for their lanterns so make sure you explore the city at night if you go. They also have an amazing beach which you could rent bicycles to travel to. The city is super small and easy to navigate, they also have a market which is open most days which is full of clothes, food and you guessed it, lanterns.
From Hoi An I was meant to go to Ninhavana, which is the beach resort part of VBH. https://www.vietnambackpackerhostels.com/eat-and-sleep/ninh-van-bay-ninhvana I missed out on this because I was having so much fun in Hoi An (I made many a friend there). Worth a look if you fancy some relaxation time… they have a spa on site.
Hoi An – Ho Chi Min City
From Hoi An I flew to Ho Chi Min City which you have to fly out of Da Nang airport which is about a 40 minute drive from Hoi An (you drive through it on the jeep tour). The flight is about an hour and half and I paid about 30£ including bag checking.
Ho Chi Min City
There is a cheap bus that will take you to most parts of the city centre from the airport. I stayed again at the VBH https://www.vietnambackpackerhostels.com/eat-and-sleep/saigon-hostel I’d highly recommend that you do a bike tour of the city as it is quite big and everything takes about 40 minutes to walk anywhere. Check out the post office and send a post card, there is a lot of history there.
From Ho Chi Min City I flew to Manila and that ended my Vietnam Journey sadly! Vietnam you gave me everything and more so thank you.