Two years ago I went on a week-long trip to Vietnam. As you may know, I love Asia. The culture, the nature, the weather, the people – what is there not to love? Before this trip I had already visited many countries in Asia, but not Vietnam. A good friend of mine is Norwegian-Vietnamese, and after hearing her stories about Vietnam and the culture, I was really excited to visit the country.
A week is not much time to explore a country. I wanted to see as much as possible during my week in Vietnam, because there are so many interesting places to see there. After some serious planning, I managed to make a route that covered most of the places on my bucket list:
– Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City
– Day 2: Mekong Delta
– Day 3: Hoi An
– Day 4: Hoi An
– Day 5: Hanoi
– Day 6: Hanoi
– Day 7: Halong Bay
So, how did I manage to see all these places in only one week? The key is to save time on transport. Buses in Vietnam are slow, and the traffic is terrible. I recommend to fly as much as possible. With Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air you can fly across the country for a reasonable price. On my trip, I flew between Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An, and Hoi An and Hanoi. From Ho Chi Minh City I took a day trip to Mekong Delta, and from Hanoi I took a day trip to Halong Bay. It was a bit hectic – but I am very happy I managed to see all these places in such a short time.
Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta
I arrived Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon, and because I was going to another big city, Hanoi, later, I did not prioritize Ho Chi Minh City. Instead, I went on a day trip to Mekong Delta. I still got to see a small part of the city during my first evening. I met up with a Norwegian-Vietnamese friend, and we went to a night market and had a drink at a skybar with pretty amazing view.
The day after, I got up early to visit Mekong Delta. The highlight of this trip was a boat trip on the Mekong River, of course! We also got to taste exotic fruits, ride a horse-drawn carriage and try the famous snake wine.
Hoi An is my favorite place in Vietnam – maybe even one of my favorite places in the whole world! The city can be described in three words; charming, traditional and cosy. The city is so amazing. The streets are filled with cheap restaurants, and I eat so much fantastic food here. Just outside Hoi An, the ruins “My Son” are located, and this is also an interesting place to visit.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, and is the country’s political center. Everywhere, you can see communistic propaganda posters. I found this very interesting, because it is so different from everywhere else I have been. Hanoi also has many big attractions. Hoam Kiem Lake and the area surrounding the lake is very beautiful and a must-visit. I also spent some time visiting several temples. It is very easy to walk around in Hanoi, and by walking around I discovered small markets and interesting streets without tourists.
Halong Bay is maybe the most famous place in Vietnam – everyone have seen pictures of this place. I went there on a day trip from Hanoi. It is a very long day trip, with around four hours of driving each way. We went early in the morning and came back late at night. In Halong Bay, we went on a boat trip (which is essential). We even visited a floating village, how amazing is not that?
If I had more time, I would also love to visit Sapa. Sapa is known for its beautiful rice marks, and the village is located north of Hanoi. I would also have spent more time at the beach, because Vietnam has many nice beaches. A popular party- and beach destination in Vietnam is Nha Trang, which is located between Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An. Luckily, I know that I will go back to Vietnam in the future. Vietnam does not only have a rich culture and beautiful nature, it is also the home to the nicest and most welcoming people I have ever met!
You can find more detailed blog posts from all the places i visited in Vietnam HERE (only in Norwegian).