Hello all you Sun-Kissed Souls and welcome to the new Souls that have joined.
Today I am giving you my tips on the best things to do in Vietnam when you don’t have much time. If you have anything more to add to this list, please let me know in the comments. We skimmed the surface of Vietnam, but in my opinion on a tight schedule, we covered most of the bases.
My worldwide Trip to Vietnam was enjoyed so much. I felt like a real queen returning with some extra money in my pocket. Before this trip, the last time I left Korea was a year prior when I headed to Malaysia for last years summer break more about that here. It was without a doubt time to dust off the passport and hit the Airport.
This time around having saved a bit of cash I was not going to be a budget backpacker a slight upgrade from my former self where I would stretch out my last dollar if it meant I could explore a new place. (check out my first encounter with this beautiful country here) Luxury was never much for me since I was always busy during the day as long as I had a bed to sleep in at night I was happy with that.
As I transform from the 20 something backpacker, I formally was my travel lifestyle has changed too. Don’t get me wrong I can still backpack and hostel it out but if I have a choice I would opt for more comfortable lodging even if it came with a heftier price tag within my means, of course, I am not putting myself in debt to travel, but that’s an entire post for another day.
My world wind trip was not going to be much of a relaxing one spending a few nights in the north middle and south of Vietnam. This time around I was also not traveling alone, Something else that was new to my travel game of Solo travel. I was going with my Korean/South African Soul sister Kelby. We are super chill people in general but I was still a little apprehensive to travel with a partner just because she has not much travel experience and when people travel due to high-pressure situations you never know how they will react in these times.
We came back loving each other more and thrilled to have made such amazing memories together. This was a big blessing because we do have many travel plans together in the next few months.
30- 1/8/2018-Hoi An
2-4/8/2018-Ho Chi Minh
The Currency used in Vietnam is Dong, and it will leave anyone feeling like a millionaire with its crazy conversion. $1 is equal to 23 312.50 Dong to give you an idea. It for sure made Korea feel expensive but made us feel rich for a few days.
First, stop Hanoi after a 4-hour bus ride from Daegu to Incheon International Airport we checked in and flew for about 5 hours. We made it to our destination at about 2 pm that afternoon.
Accommodation: The Hanoi Old Quarter Hotel.
The hotel was lovely and in a great location just behind all the crazy hustle and bustle but very easy to find. In the excellent walking distance from all the main attractions in this area. The staff is super friendly and accommodating also comes with breakfast included. Standard fruit eggs, bread, toast, omelet and coffee options.
We Booked a Classic King room and got more than we bargained for. Price per night $40
Things to do in Hanoi
1. If you are in Hanoi over the weekend make sure to check out the weekend night market. Get lost in the streets eat all the food and buy all the things.
2. Hoan Kiem Lake is always buzzing with people and a great walk night and day.
3. Hanoi Women’s Museum. This was a significant bit of history to see how amazing and strong-willed these women were during the war times.
4. St Josephs Cathedral a beautiful piece of French architecture. There are lots of amazing cafes in this area too.
5.Ha Long Bay – There are many options if you have time I recommend one night two days I did that tour on my first visit. This time around because of my condensed schedule we made a one day trip for $55 leaving at 8 am. This includes a 3-hour drive to the Port about 3 hours on the boat including lunch a cave visit and kayaking or local wooden boat cruise through the bay then back to Hanoi all with an English Tour Guide.
Next, we were off to Da Nang a seaside city in central Vietnam. Internal Flights are pretty cheap ranging between $40 – $70 we flew Viejet a Vietnam budget airline also known as the delayed airline by the locals needless to say they lived up to their name with a delayed flight to Da Nang luckily only by an hour.
When we arrived, we went straight to Hoi An the magical gem of Vietnam my ultimate favorite spot. Forget what everyone says about it being extremely touristy it is, but still, it’s so beautiful, and I genuinely want you all to experience it.
This time with the accommodation we got even fancier and still didn’t break the bank too much.
Accommodation: The Green Haven Resort and Spa less than a 10-minute walk away from the old town and the gorgeous river.
This place has a beautiful pool area and spa with excellent prices, and the buffet breakfast is included and incredibly delicious. Don’t forget to cash in on your complimentary 10-minute foot massage at the Spa.
Price Per night $50 and up
Things to Do in Hoi An
1. If you a shopper like me then this spot is a shoppers paradise. With Tailors on every corner, you can have garments made up for you within hours and for a reasonable price. I got a beautiful dress made a matching top and shirt set, a pair of leather shoes and a leather duffle bag. For just over $200. You could never get all those amazing things for that price anywhere else. But I will do an in-depth post of the Tailor we visited with more information and what we had done.
2. The little old town is beautiful to walk around packed with gorgeous art galleries shops and cafes and restaurants everywhere.
3. Chum Island Cu Lao Cham. Due to time restraints and since we were on a summer break, we needed to include the beach even if it was only for half the day. We visited Chum Island a beautiful spot just off the coast of Hoi An, We visited the fishing village, went snorkeling and then had a feast on Sunny Island and a swim in the clear blue warm ocean.
4. Nightlife the town transforms into a different world at night when all the beautiful handcrafted lanterns are all lit up. Make sure to dine in style and eat the best food and wander the streets. There are also loads of cocktail bars with happy hour specials and promoters luring you in. We had a fun dance and drank at the Tyger Tyger bar.
There is so much you can still do in this little town from food tours, bike rides in the countryside and lantern making classes. I wish I had the time to do it all.
Then we headed back to Da Nang.
Accommodation: The Grand Mercure Hotel this place completely topped all my expectations because it was a gift from an old friend who works here. If you want luxury, this is it. I had never stayed in a suite like this before it was so gorgeous and I wished I had more time to enjoy the room. I had the best nights sleep in the most comfortable bed with the best pillows I had ever had. I felt like a real Queen and how can one get used to normal life after this.
Things to do in Da Nang
Due to time constraints, we didn’t get to experience this city much at all especially the beach areas that I heard are good.
1. The Con Ga Church (Rooster Church but known as the Pink Chapel) another old French Church that has been restored and still in use today a gorgeous church to see.
2. 1920’s Cocktail Bar and Lounge. On different days they have different things happening, but it transforms you back into the 1920’s the decor and the staff everything is quintessential to the 1920’s, The night I visited they had fantastic live music, and it’s an excellent spot for great atmosphere and tasty cocktails.
3. Bana Hils, we spent a full day here, and I would highly recommend this spot to anyone traveling to this part of Vietnam. I will do a whole post on this spot as there is just so much to share. As a teaser imagine landing in Vietnam and waking up in France on top of a mountain. It’s an amusement park/ village up on the Bana Hills. You take the longest and highest cable car up, and when you get off at the top of the mountain, it’s as if you have magically been transported into France the architecture is so beautiful. I felt utterly overwhelmed and kept asking myself is this real life.
Next stop on this busy Itinerary was Ho Chi Minh City.
By this point, Kelby and I were feeling very tired, but we still had one more weekend of fun to endure. After another delayed flight thanks Viejet Airlines we only landed in Ho Chi at midnight. Both Kelby and I could not remember the accommodation we booked but knew it was a significant downgrade from what we had experienced.
Accommodation: Bsunhomestay in District 1 this places ranges between $20-40 a night depending on the type of room and breakfast is included,
I guess it was only fair to change it up I felt like this was God directly speaking to us and saying “Sit down and be humble.”
I am seriously not a fussy person give me clean accommodation and a clean toilet with running hot water I am happy. As I know for more than half the world that is considered luxury. So we had to sit down and be humble in our homestay with our twin beds and a shared bathroom can you imagine us coming from the suite life. lol
The place was nice, and we got to experience life in a tall and skinny Vietnamese home. The host was just amazing very friendly and helped us organize a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels and helped us arrange things as we needed. The location is a few streets away from the bustling backpacker street it is walkable to get to wherever you need in this area, but for convenience sake, it is a little out of the way. Next time I would prefer to stay more in the city center.
Things to do In Ho Chi Mihn
1. Cu Chi Tunnels this was my second time going, and I got the same tour guide Mr. Bean and old war veteran and an incredibly fascinating character filled with exciting stories he does make this tour a little more interesting adding his. It’s a half-day tour usually running in the morning or afternoon. We did the afternoon tour, but due to traffic, we did experience some delays. Once we hit the tunnels, the areas weren’t so busy, so it was pleasantly lovely to have the place practically just for our tour group.
2. Vietnam Remnants Museum – Prepare yourself, it’s such a sobering heartfelt experience reading and looking at all the pictures in this place it was great to see what the not so long ago history was all about but at the same time hard to even imagine this was real life.
3. Notre Dane Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. (What another church lol) Under renovations at the moment but still beautiful to see. I Indeed fall in love with the French architecture on this trip. Right next door is the Saigon Central Post Office The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. Today it still operates as a post office and a tourist attraction.
4. Bến Thành Market s a vast marketplace in central Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam in District 1 The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an essential symbol of Hồ Chí Minh City, popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.
Personally not my favorite market because I suck at haggling and like to shop in peace over being yelled at to buy things. I do understand their hustle, and they are just trying to make sales, but for me, it was too overwhelming.
5. Ben Thanh Street Food Market I love a great food market, This reminded me of the gourmet food markets back home in Cape Town think Houtbay Market but just bigger and better. Filled with all Asian food options and western food choices you will not be short of choice that’s for sure. Beleive me go hungry so you can try bits of everything. They also have ample seating spots and don’t be alarmed if you only see tourists here.
6. Bui Vien Street in the backpackers’ area of Ho Chi Minh City
This spot is an incredibly overwhelming a real sensory overload. From nightclubs to bars, cafes and restaurants everything you want in nightlife entertainment you can find here. I swear this place doesn’t stop Monday to Sunday you will see it buzzing till the wee hours of the morning.
I don’t hit the town as much as I used to, but your girl still loves a good dance. We hit up Drama Club super cool spot very instagramable decor, and bright lights and neon signage makes for great pictures.
8. Visit a spa and treat yourself before you jump on a flight and head home. We walked around the street where the food market is and checked out a few spas in that street for good prices and got massages and pedicures before heading back to Korea. Beauty treatments like these are very expensive in Korea so we indulged big time.
So this was my trip, in a nutshell, I could honestly go on for hours but send me a message if you want more information about anything specific and I will be glad to get back to you.
I tried to link most things I did in this post for you to click on and check out. Like I mentioned above I will do a more in-depth post about the tailor we used for our clothing we had made in Hoi An and a post about Bana Hills. So come back for that. I have so much more to share, but I did not want to overload this already full post with even more information.
Have a great weekend and let me know in the comments what your winter or summer has been like.
Peace,Love and Happiness