Real Traveller Cynera Clement shares her experience of visiting the charming Vietnam. Look out for amazing photos, brief yet informative descriptions of the places she visited and travel tips. See more from her travel on her Instagram here. Hope you enjoy this real travel story!
Her story in her words:
I visited Vietnam along with three of my colleagues last year and after doing quite a bit of research, we managed to narrow our trip down to Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay (all of this in one week!). As hectic as it may sound, I can assure you our trip was actually pretty relaxing. The country truly surprised me with its history, landscapes, hospitality and simplicity.
I’ve listed down my recommendations for each city I visited. If you have any recommendations/travel tips on Vietnam, do share them in the comment section below.
Ho Chi Minh City :
Having only 24 hours in HCMC, we wasted no time; quickly dropped our bags at the hostel (more on this later) and left to explore the city. We visited Notre Damn, Saigon Central Post Office, had lunch at Pho Le, District 5 (which was amazing btw!) and managed to squeeze in a tour to Chu Chi Tunnels. I loved that the city had so many gorgeous cafes to choose from. We were lucky to try out a couple before our flight to Da Nang. Highly recommend Lui’sine Cafe in District 1.
Where to stay:
The Common Room project is a luxury hostel located in District 5. It was my first hostel experience and would highly recommend this place for young travellers looking for a accommodation that is different from the usual hotel experience.
Da Nang :
My Khe beach in Da Nang is named as the 8th most beautiful beach in the world. Lucky for us, it was a mere 15 min walk from our hotel. Compared to all other places we visited in Vietnam, this was definitely the town with the least amount of tourists. This is a great place to relax, drink some good (+ cheap) local beer and devour fresh seafood by the beach.
Things to do:
We opted for the My Son sunrise tour which leaves as early as 4:30 am. Unfortunately, we missed the sunrise even though our journey began fairly early. On the plus side, we escaped the tourists and managed to get this UNESCO world heritage site all to ourselves. These impressive Hindu themed ruins feature many beautiful stone sculptures, temples and towers. A must visit for those who appreciate history. After the My Son tour, our driver took us on a 2 hour drive up to Hai Van pass and I can honestly say the view was to die for!
Hoi An :
This gorgeous little town stole my heart and is undoubtedly my favorite place in Vietnam. We visited during the full moon festival (occurs every month end – make sure to check the dates before travelling!) and had the chance to make a wish and let go of floating lanterns in the river. It gets particularly busy during this time but I would highly recommend experiencing this at least once. Old Town is picturesque with an abundance of bougainvillaea’s, quaint little cafes, boutiques that sell tailor made suits and beautiful dresses, souvenir shops that are not to be missed.
We did not have enough time to explore Hanoi but from what I seen I can say it reminded me a lot of (my hometown town) Mumbai, India. We did try out as many local restaurants as possible though and I think its safe to say I will be off pho for a while. Hah!
Ha Long Bay :
I was blown away by this natural wonder. Viewing pictures of places online and actually seeing them with your very own eyes is a whole new experience. We chose Carina Cruise for a 2 day – 1 night stay and paid around 185$ USD per person which was well worth it considering the generous portions of food, good accommodation and well planned itinerary. We had a great tour guide who gave us an insight on all the places we visited which included the stunning Sung Sot caves. There are certain places where pictures do not do justice and this was certainly one of them.
We learnt a few words in Vietnamese and it definitely did help as we noticed the locals face light up instantly with every “zin chao” and “cam on” (hello and thank you). Get familiar with the local currency & always keep an eye on your belongings especially on crowded streets.
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