Let me start off by saying Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had the most wonderful time and of course a magical Christmas!
If you follow me on my Instagram or Twitter then you’ll know back in November myself and my wonderful boyfriend Martin spent three weeks travelling Vietnam which was honestly THE most incredible thing i’ve ever done and I long to go back every single day.
So what I wanted to do was give you guys a lil breakdown of our adventures and share some of our experiences and recommendations just incase some of you are thinking of going to Vietnam any time soon or in the future which I strongly recommend.
I think i’m gonna break our trip down into three blog posts just because we did so much and I don’t want to keep you here for ages reading through my babble so here’s part one below.
Martin and I decided we were going to travel from North to South Vietnam, we booked our flights, landing in Hanoi and departing in Ho Chi Minh City, we didn’t book any hotels or hostels in advance … scary I know, we truly winged it! Money wise we initially took $500 (in the big cities they accept USD) and our bank cards so we could just withdraw money as and when needed. The actual currency in Vietnam is called the Vietnamese Dong and this is what we used throughout the majority of our trip, a little confusing when first handling it but you get used to it after a while.
Right on to the good stuff …
We hadn’t even left the airport when we came across our first little scammer, after buying a SIM card for $13, we gave the seller who was a young Vietnamese woman $20 and she didn’t give us our change, when we informed her she hadn’t the lady stamped her feet like a child and insisted she had, after some back and forth for a few minutes her colleague told her just to give us our money … I mean she spoke in Vietnamese but I assume this is what she said as immediately the seller gave us our money. I don’t want you guys to be like ‘oh maybe I should stay away from Vietnam if the people are like that’ honestly we saw this as a funny situation and knew we would come across something like this on our trip eventually so better to get it out the way on the first day, well first hour!
Vietnam is famous for it’s amount of bikers on the roads as cars are too expensive so 95% of the people travel by scooters and motorbikes, now both Martin and I were completely overwhelmed by the amount of bikes on the roads, we’d never seen anything like it before, it was mayhem but you’ll just get used to them after a while and kind of learn how to manoeuvre around them.
Where we stayed – Sky View Hotel
Things to do in Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh Museum
Duration of stay – 2 days
Weather – Cloudy, humid and stuffy
We booked our trip to Halong Bay through our hotel in Hanoi but there are tonnes and tonnes of tour operators you can go to in Hanoi and throughout Vietnam if you want to visit Halong and I really recommend you do because it was one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever seen! We travelled there by bus and speed boat before getting to our larger boat where we stayed the night in a cabin. As well as the absolutely breathtaking views, we did so many activities on our excursion like kayaking, biking, swimming and hiking through the jungle, it was jam packed but the most fun ever. Our tour guide was fantastic as were the other people in our group, we even had a bash at karaoke on the evening. After the chaos of all the bikes and traffic in Hanoi, the tranquil scenes and peace and quiet were definitely needed and appreciated.
Duration of stay – 2 days
Weather – Hot, sunny
After a long day travelling back from Halong Bay we only had a few hours back in Hanoi before getting a sleeping bus to Sapa … our first sleeping bus of the trip and let me tell you they’re weird and not that comfortable but they’re pretty much the cheapest way to travel up and down the country. We arrived in Sapa around 6am and decided to walk around to try and find our hotel after having a look on booking.com for a decent one, like I said we were winging it! The views in Sapa were nothing like what we’d seen so far, there was so much more greenery and beautiful mountains covered by a sheet of morning fog, i’m so glad we got to experience it.
We were initially supposed to do a 20k trek but after all be it an amazing but tiring time in Halong we just didn’t have the energy so decided to scrap it. Instead we went to our hotel, had breakfast and enjoyed our stunning hotel room. Sapa was were we rented our first motorbike, of course Martin road as he’s an expert and I just had the easy job of sitting on the back soaking in the views … it’s a hard life haha! We spent the majority of the day roaming around on the bike, stopping here and there to explore some waterfalls and stalls on the roads. In the evening we went for a lovely meal and to a bar attached to our hotel where strangely they had corn on the cob hanging from the ceiling, never the less we had a great night there.
On our second day we experienced our first couples massage, laid half naked on tables next to each other with two Vietnamese women literally sitting on our backs … you couldn’t make this stuff up! We also took a trip to an outdoor market which was extremely muddy and very dark.
Where we stayed – Phuong Nam Hotel
Things to do – Trekking
– Rent a motorbike
– Ride the cable cars
Duration of stay – 2 days
Weather – Warm, rainy, sunny
Okay so I think i’m gonna leave it there for now, let me know if you’ve enjoyed the post or if there’s too much info or not enough as I haven’t included everything we got up to in these places, like I said I don’t want to bore you guys but if you want more just let me know in the comments because I love reminiscing about Vietnam sooo much!!