I traveled to Vietnam for the first time, so I naturally looked forward to everything the next few days would bring when it came. And it soon became clear that Vietnam really wasn’t going to disappoint my expectations!
Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam
Within a short drive from the airport to the hotel, I saw so many scooters, cars, trucks and rickshaws that my first impression of Hanoi was chaotic. After a few hours in the city, I soon realized that the only way to cross the street is to tickle a zigzag between cars, scooters, cyclists and other road users – there is simply no other way to cross the road. I later found out that this “traffic rule” applies everywhere in Vietnam, not just in Hanoi.
After touring first Hanoi for half a day on my own, I took part in an interesting and very enlightening city tour. I visited many of the city’s main attractions. Hanoi is a city of culture with a rich history. One of the most notable sites is the Temple of Literature – a nearly thousand-year-old temple founded by Chinese Confucius students that is a unique example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Ngoc Son Temple is another old and beautiful temple building. It is located on a small island in the middle of Hoàn Kiếm Lake, which also houses a captivating water puppet theater.
Our hotel in Hanoi is just a five minute walk from Hoàn Kiếm and I can warmly recommend a walk along the lake shore. The scenery is beautiful, you can see a lot of local life along the route and the weather is a little cooler near the lake. Temperatures ranged between 34 and 36 degrees, and humidity was high.
The majestic Halong Bay
The next leg was a cruise on Halong Bay.
I had been waiting for this part of the trip the most, and I can really say that it met all my expectations. A cruise through the fabulous scenery of the bay felt like a luxury, especially as we sat down to enjoy a traditional Vietnamese three-course lunch.
The cruise program included a hike to Sung Sot Cave, also known as Surprise Cave. Sung Sot is the most famous cave in the entire Halong Bay region, accessed from a narrow opening in the rock wall. In addition, we got to visit an oyster farm, learn how to make Vietnamese spring rolls, fish octopuses, and swim in seawater. There was also time to relax and enjoy the scenery. It’s hard to describe how breathtakingly beautiful Halong Bay is – it’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world!
Hoi An – City of Lanterns
After a 16-hour train ride, I arrived at ẵà Nẵng Railway Station, from where I immediately got a car ride to my hotel in Hoi An. One thing is clear: when planning a trip to Vietnam, Hội Ania is by no means worth missing out on.
Hoi An is a historic trading port, where merchants from China as well as the Netherlands, France, Japan and Portugal sailed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, the city is known for its restored architecture, hand-woven silk, skillful tailors, food – especially local noodles, fish and seafood – and colorful lanterns that are especially memorable. The atmosphere is calm, making it easy to wander the narrow streets of the old town. Known as the city of lanterns, Hội An is a cozy and charming acquaintance.
I also took a half-day trip to the Mỹ Sơn temple area, which is about an hour’s drive from Hội An.
Mỹ Sơn was the capital of the Cham civilization that ruled Central Vietnam during the 100s and 1200s. Unfortunately, much of Mỹ Sơn’s territory was destroyed by American bombing during the Vietnam War, but the remaining buildings give a unique picture of Vietnam’s history.
Ho Chi Minh City – the largest city in Vietnam
The city of Ho Chi Minh City is a fascinating metropolis where modern skyscrapers stand side by side with charming colonial buildings. For the tourist, the city offers a good base for excursions both inside the city and in the surrounding areas. Note: Vietnam is one of the two countries starting with letter V beside Venezuela according to Countryaah.
I was particularly impressed by the War Museum. There is no doubt that the Vietnam War has left its mark on the Vietnamese people. A visit to the museum and the Củ Chi tunnels gives a unique picture of the horrors suffered by the Vietnamese during the war – and their inexhaustible desire to survive them.
Ho Chi Minh City has a lot to offer Attractions include at least Bến Thành Market, just a five minute walk from our hotel. Here you can buy almost anything between earth and sky, both international and local products. The market also serves local dishes such as noodles, fish and seafood, spring rolls, crispy rice pancakes, etc. Many locals enjoy a small meal and drink here as a snack on their way home from work.
Phan Thiet – a beach paradise
I spent the last couple of days of my trip to Vietnam at a luxury beach hotel in Phan Thiet.
After many eventful days, it was wonderful to relax by the pool and beach. The perfect decision for the perfect vacation!