Welcome to one of the most fascinating Asian countries that I have ever been to in my life, Vietnam!! This country is rich in culture, filled to the brim with spectacular destinations and is full of sensational culinary delicacies!! Just thinking about Vietnam, my mind wonders back; smile returns to my face and my stomach craves all the yummy Asian food that I enjoyed there. These are the top places to visit on your adventure through Vietnam!! Is your notepad ready?? Then let’s go!
Hanoi Old Quarter
To me, Hanoi is the heart of beautiful madness, narrow streets, million scooters, tiny plastic chairs, egg coffees and the place where my love for Vietnamese food started! Ahh… I love Hanoi!!
When you arrive in Hanoi, I strongly recommend that you stay right in the middle of it all, in the Old Quarter. There is a multitude of hotels around and the majority of them have a very affordable price tag. (We stayed in a 3 Star Hotel for only $46 p/n, not bad!) The streets of the Old Quarter are narrow and filled with an insane number of tourists, locals and passing scooters, and it’s awesome!! Colourful trinkets and souvenirs dangle from displays of every window. Local vendors sell their yummy fresh fruits, vegetables, handmade specialties and so much more!! The streets of Hanoi beam with life! Street food stalls and restaurants alike invite you with delicious smells to eat more and more!! I said it before and will say it again… I fell in love with Vietnam from the first bite!
How to get to Hanoi: This city has an international airport, so you can choose to fly there directly.
Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime? Sapa valley is a magical place. Hoang Lien Son Mountains tower on each side of the valley with its highest Phang Xi Pang peak reaching 3,142 meters tall.
If you are up for it, you can hire a local guide for an informative guided hike from the township of Sapa and down to the little town of Tavan. It is a 4-hour walk and will cover about 12 km. This way you can truly absorb the beauty of your surroundings and discover how the Hmong, Tay and Dao hill tribes still live. Not only will you check out the most spectacular scenery of cascading-down-the-mountain terraces of rice fields, but so much more! If you want you can even taste some rocket-fuel-like local rice or corn wine. Yum!
How to get to Sapa: You can take a bus (about 5 hours) or an overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Bus option will be faster and usually bit more comfortable.
When you feel like snorkeling and kayaking near the caves or purely are in need of relaxation and bliss, then Halong Bay is your choice! The best way to explore this beautiful part of Vietnam is on board one of the luxurious junk boats. Air-conditioned cabins, 5-star food and cocktails on the top deck checking out the beautiful emerald waters of the bay. Sounds good? I know it does.
There are thousands of tower-like limestone islands scattered in the Halong Bay. Although you might not be able to check out everything, the key places of interest for your list should include: Titov Island, Fishing Village, Pearl Farm and the Surprise Cave. Apart from those, all you got to do is have a wonderful time and soaking up some sun! Little tip: make sure to reserve yourself a top deck daybed for cocktail hour for spectacular sunsets!
How to get to Halong Bay: Bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay port will take around 3.5 hours.
Welcome to the floating adventures on the mighty Mekong! This majestic river is a thriving main artery of the Southern Vietnam! It makes its way from the Capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. This is where all the main tours begin.
You can choose from a multitude of adventures here. From a sunset cruise across the Mekong (admire the views of the capital) to the inland jungle-like cruises in the heart of this amazing river.
Here you can lose yourself in the maze of rivers scattering out like arteries from the giant Mekong. Along the way, you can learn a lot about the area. You will be able to check out the hustle and bustle of the floating markets, witness farming and water buffalo in the paddies, Khmer pagodas, Buddhist temples and much more!! The mighty Mekong has it all and it is all about the real Vietnam!
Hoi An… This place has a soft spot in my heart. I know I can only speculate, but I believe that Hoi An and the surrounding areas will make a similar impact on you as well.
When you stay in Hoi An, I recommend you rent a villa or a room at one of the beachside resorts! It is a perfect spot to soak up the sun, go snorkeling or simply relax by the pool resort style!
This is of course not all that you can do in Hoi An. No, no!! Make your way to the amazing ancient town of Hoi An! Beautiful rustic coloured buildings surround you everywhere. Markets beam with vendors selling some of the authentic delicacies, if you are game to try! There are 18th-century Japanese style houses still intact and well preserved for the tourist to admire. And what attracted us the most to this place was the night time. This is when the streets light up with millions of lanterns, illuminating the ancient town in magical, fairy-tale-like glow. It is best to book a table for dinner at one of many restaurants. Our favourite was “Morning Glory” (table on the balcony, overlooking the pretty street). Ps: Bakery across the road has amazing Crème Brule.
Tip: Best way to explore this area is by scooter. You can rent one for a few dollars a day and usually can be organized by the place you are staying at. That way you can zoom around as you please.
How to get to Hoi An: Just under 1.5-hour flight from Hanoi to Danang Airport and about 30 minutes’ drive to Hoi An.
Vietnam, just saying this name makes me want to go back, again and again! The country where I found tastes I had never experienced before. The country filled with happy people, spectacular scenery, and extraordinary Asian culture magic! I love Vietnam and I know that you will too!
Bio: Jolene and Andrzej are living their dream. The duo is behind Wanderlust Storytellers, their widely successful family travel blog. They love sharing their passion for travel with people all around the globe. The couple says that they have found their purpose in life: “the question and the never-ending search for what we are here for or what we are meant to do with our lives was answered when we created our family travel blog.” You can also follow their adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
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