Got 2 weeks to spare and want to hit a few must have spots in Vietnam? Well, I recently travelled to this incredible country and fell in love with the hustle, bustle and mental roads…plus who doesn’t love a Banh Mi?
Our first stop was Hoi An, a bustling little city in the North of Vietnam. Picture small streets, scooters like you’ve never seen and incredible street food! This little place stole my heart within seconds, especially when your sat amongst the locals, eating noodles with chopsticks and drinking local beer. Be prepared to keep your belongings strapped to you, to wear decent shoes to roam the streets and to take a deep, confident breath when crossing the street. Also, if you are out during the week, expect random police raids down Beer Street, they will confiscate bar stools, chairs, tables and mopeds, its brilliant to watch. If you do head to Hectic Hoi An, stay in the centre, hit up Beer Street and use this as a base as you explore the North.
From Hoi An we travelled to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site, a magical setting filled with limestone islands and house boats. When you look out of your boat window you realise its magic, and the wish that the stories of the dragon dropped the stones to protect main land was true. But the tragic thing is about this incredible place is that its overrun with tourists, the water is littered with rubbish and dead fish float by due to the water pollution in the area. I wouldn’t rush back here, but the boat we spent time on was incredible, and I’d recommend that in a heartbeat. If you’d like to check it out, the cruise company we used is called Hera Cruise, brilliant service, rooms and food to die for!
After escaping the tourist trap of Ha Long Bay, we flew down the coast to Hanoi. This place is a MUST. Cobbled streets lit with lanterns, handmade clothes, rivers, beaches, hippies and the best food we had in Vietnam. Stay central, rent a bike, cycle around, get an energy reading, eat some vegan food, roam the markets, get a massage and try and go during a full moon! I fell instantly in love, got a tattoo and looked into moving there to work! I was sold. Places we loved were Miss Vy’s cooking school, The Fisherman (a vegan beach bar and restaurant), Nomad Yoga and Morning Glory! GO HERE.
Our final stop was Phu Quoc, an island in the far south of Vietnam, many travellers use this place as a final Vietnam stop before travelling to Cambodia. Phu Quoc isn’t a place I would rush back too, but if I did I would stay in the North, it is SO much nicer and way more chilled. Here we hit the beaches and the gym and hired a boat for the day (something to add to your to do list). It’s all about the sea food here. Hit the night market and get some fresh fish cooked up for you Vietnamese style! if you plan on visiting, we stayed in a great hostel called 9 Station Hostel (possibly the biggest and nicest hostel I’ve stayed in), but if you are looking for a more upmarket Northern place (which I recommend), then stay at Mango Bay Resort!
Overall, Vietnam was incredible, it came at the right time in my life for me, opened my eyes to more spirituality then I could imagine, but…I still prefer Thai food! Sorry!