Last January I had the pleasure to attend my friend’s wedding in Vietnam before exploring the country!
My girlfriend and I arrived in Hanoi after 30 hours of flying. Everything was a bit of a blur when we arrived at our hotel. I only remember trying to plan my commute to my friend’s city for the next day. My friend reassured me that a 12-person van would pick us up at a nearby intersection. She only gave me a portion of a licence plate. After several taxis flag us down, we spot a small car stop near us with similar plates and the driver was grabbing our bags. We hopped in. The driver hands me an old flip phone and to my surprise it was my friend who reassured me that the driver will drop us off at her place. He did not. He dropped us on the side of a highway and pointed at a card with a photo of a 12 person van. There were so many but we finally spotted it – not knowing if it was the right one. We arrived in Mao Khê and enjoyed the extravagant wedding.
We returned to Hanoi after a few days of celebration and explored the old town of Hanoi, an ancient city of over 1000 years old!
My girlfriend and I met up with my sister in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and discovered a vibrant, modern city. Tourists were everywhere and scooters outnumbered everything else! We visited markets, museums and much more!
We made our way to the Mekong Delta to discover the culture and food of the region. We ate jackfruit, durian, snake, rat and tasted delicious snake whiskey. We later explored the Cu Chi tunnels which were used during the Vietnam War. We even got to shoot an AK-47 rifle after our informative history tour.
Nha Trang was our relaxing vacation during this trip because we mainly relaxed on the beach.
Next Stop Hoi An! This colourful city gave us a chance to purchase custom suits or clothing at a reasonable price. At night this city glowed with its hundreds of lanterns on its old streets.
After a brief stop in Hue, we went to Halong Bay. This is one of the most beautiful scenic areas I have ever seen! Spectacular cliffs jut out of the South China Sea. We stayed on a junk boat and even kayaked around the islands where we got to see monkeys!
The last place we visited was Sapa, near the Chinese border. We stayed in an amazing ecolodge overlooking rice fields built on the side of the mountains (link). The trip ended in Hanoi where the entire city exploded with colour, cheers and noise after their soccer team won an important match.
It was an unforgettable trip!