Vietnam is one of the fascinating and enjoyable trips we have done in Asia so far. Food was delicious anywhere we ate, we were addicted to the Vietnamese soups and had fun exploring their cuisine. We tried to cook our favorite soup at home, but we failed significantly. Apparently, these unique secret methods are going nowhere out of Vietnam.
Once in the big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, we were amazed by the number of motorcyclist driving around the town. All are driving in a PERFECT HARMONY.
Hundreds and hundreds of motorbikes & motorcycles with the minimum of three people on board, and sometimes stacked with so many products, yet no road range, no horns. They reminded me of the flocks of birds that fly together and changed directions suddenly without ever crashing into each other. Once again AMAZING!
We saw people in Vietnam living in perfect harmony under very harsh economic and living conditions.
But if you are a lucky tourist and made your way to Vietnam we recommend visiting/seeing Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and SAPA but we haven’t visited SAPA so we won't write about it.
A beautiful old city with robust French Mediterranean style architecture, wide boulevards, large French-style villas. Quite a few items of cultural interest, good food and best for shopping for silk and linen for your home. For any serious shopping, leave it to Hanoi.
Taxis and Limos are affordable in this part of the world so use them if you don't want to walk.
We would recommend that you stay for three nights.
A natural wonder. Leave Hanoi by car in the very early afternoon. Arrive Halong Bay late afternoon; We would highly recommend taking a 2 or 3-night cruise to see all the limestone islands (thousands of them) and stop to see a limestone cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites. Spend the night on board and enjoy the tranquility and night beauty. Have breakfast while sailing and enjoying views and beauty around you.
We would recommend 2-night cruise minimum.
To get there arrange for a car and driver to/from Halong Bay. Safer to hire a car from the hotel and cheaper than local companies.
PS: Very important to avoid ‘night driving’ on the highways.
Has several fabulous resorts right on the sea where you can relax in luxury. Nearby is the ancient Vietnamese royal capital city of HUE. A must visit.
It was once the capital and now a World Heritage Site. Lots of (foreign) money spent on restoration. Full of old palaces of former kings, royal pagodas, plus grand royal tombs to see. You can go all around this historical places by foot enjoying the safety of no cars while exploring. For us, HUE was one of the highlights of our trip as we were lucky to join them in the "Moon Light Festival."
I would recommend one day trip with car and driver arranged thru the hotel. Because of the authenticity of the place, we went several times once in the morning and another night for dinner to enjoy the "Moon Light Festival." Need to mention that we discovered the best Vietnamese coffee there. What a treat!
Hoch Minh City (Saigon):
Compared to Hanoi it is full of museum telling the sad stories of the American war. They make sure that the world doesn't forget what happened to them.
Galleries and exhibits in museums are well maintained / subjects well presented. So if you have a keen interest in recent history, you could give the museums a visit.
I would recommend staying for two days if you are going to visit the museums; otherwise, one day would be enough as there are so many other places to visit in this lovely country.
- Carry a good supply of bottled water. Ideally, ask the hotels for a few extra bottles to take around with you. It is especially important when going way out of the cities.
- Make sure you have enough insect repellent sprays.
- Carry cash if possible.
- Stay in 5 stars hotels preferably.
We would recommend combining Cambodia with Vietnam as they complement each other and share some history.
Hundreds of people on their motorbikes filling the streets.
The floating fisherman villages and villagers making a living out of trading with ships and tourists in Halong Bay.
Winning a cooking class contest.
Cruising the Halong Bay.Magical experience.
Moon light festival.
Marble mountain and caves in Vietnam. Now magical but during the war a hideaway.