I went on a 10-day journey across the entirety of Vietnam. From the easygoing vibe of the northern province of Hanoi to the sandy dunes at the southern coast of Mui Ne, I have conquered 6 a total of provinces. I rode planes, huge boats, motorcycles, old buses, grab car and rick shaws and ate banh mi after banh mi and phởs on rainy nights. I could easily say that this trip is definitely one for the books.
So, here’s the 411 of my Vietnam trip:
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is one of the most famous destinations on the northern part of the country. What I love about Hanoi is that it is laidback ambiance. Time seems to slow down when you are here. We spent our days just walking around, talking to locals, eating and perusing museums.
Some of the places you can visit are:
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
- Hoàn Kiếm Lake
- Temple of Literature, Hanoi
- One Pillar Pagoda
- Hoa Lo Prison Memorial
- St. Joseph’s Cathedral
- Hanoi Opera House
- Long Biên Bridge
- Old Quarter
- Presidential Palace
Read my Hanoi entries here:
A piece of heaven on Earth. Ha Long Bay is one of the most pristine destinations I have ever been to. It is well-renowned for its emerald waters and its rock formations that seemingly depict a dragon’s back.
We spent our whole afternoon sailing across the waters and going inside caves. The highlight of this trip was the sunset. It is one of the warmest (in terms of colors) I have ever witnessed. The way the orange hues burst into the once sapphire-colored skies is beyond marvelous.
Plus, the serene feeling of being near a body of water is also therapeutic. A few times, I found myself staring outside the horizon without thinking about anything. I was just happy and fulfilled of being alive—no strings attached.
Read my Ha Long Bay adventure here:
Da Nang is a tricky one. At first, I thought it’s just a common city with numerous cars and buildings compared to the old-fashioned Hanoi. But as we spent merely 3 days here, I have come to love how quiet it was despite the density of people. There are also a couple of quaint cafes we got to eat at during our stay in Da Nang.
Best part of our trip here was going to Ba Na Hills which boasts the world’s longest cable car ride. Our ride was one of a kind as it rained the whole time we were there. The thought of having rain and wind crash against a moving—suspended—cable car will make you so grateful about surviving. When we reached the resort, I had nothing but praises to how it was built. It really looked like medieval Europe. Moreover, the mist brought in by the rain added a mysterious effect to the whole amusement park.
Read my Ha Long Bay adventure here:
Hoi An is my absolute favorite. Its old-fashioned town that is built in between canals, the lanterns that lit the dark, night skies, and the its whole ambiance is just so astonishing.
We endlessly strolled along the banks of the river and went in and out of the interconnected pathways until our feet were sore.
Hoi An, surprisingly, made me question where I want to move and start a new life. I have always loved Japan. It is where I want to live if ever one day I would be strong enough to embrace my independence. But Hoi An comes a close second.
Read about my magical encounter with Hoi An here:
Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon reminds me so much of my home, Manila. The chaotic, usually jam-packed streets with motorcycles and cars, the larger-than-life vibe of the city at night just screams Manila to me. That may be the reason why it didn’t take long enough for me to get used to Ho Chi Minh City. It feels like you are walking in the streets of Manila. But what I like about this massive city is how they have preserved their old buildings and turned them into famed tourist destinations.
Some of the places that you can visit when in Saigon are:
- Ben Thanh Market
- Independence Palace
- War Remnants Museum
- Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
- Saigon Central Post Office
- Municipal Theatre’s Ho Chi Minh City
- Bitexco Financial Tower
- Backpacker Street
- People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City
- Thien Hau Temple
Read about why Ho Chi Minh City feels just like Manila here:
Mui Ne marks the end of this trip. This diverse town is found in the coastal south-central province of Bình Thuan.
The most memorable part of our trip was driving along the coast with a river on our left and dessert on our right.
We got to visit two desserts—one that has red dunes and one that has white. And we were also brought to the fairy stream where we got to dip our feet in a cold, shallow water.
Read about my sandy journey here:
But most of all, the very reason why I fell head over heels for Vietnam—its people. I made a separate article just to honor their kindness and warmth towards a stranger like me. In my 10 days of staying in different provinces of Vietnam, I have so many unadulterated encounters with them and despite not getting documented, those memories I will surely treasure for the rest of my life.
Read about my heartwarming story about the People of Vietnam here:
Vietnam has crawled into the top of my favorite travel destinations list. And making this article made me miss Vietnam so much that I am contemplating of going back there soon.