Travel diaries: what you don’t (usually) hear about Vietnam

What started out as a pho and crispy chicken obsession may well just be the reason why the WSB and I decided to plan a trip to Vietnam.

Spoiler alert – Vietnam did not disappoint. If you only read one post about my travels to Vietnam…let it be this one.

I hope to write a lot more in the coming weeks but these are my thoughts and first impressions on some of the things that took me by surprise at the major stops we made around Vietnam.

Saigon
Chaotic to us but it seemed like everyone else knew what they were doing. Crossing the street is an art. They have crossings but no one actually stops to let you cross. You cross when there is a gap and avoid looking onto incoming traffic.

The iced milk coffee is amazing. So amazing in fact that the boy who is not a coffee drinker started having one everyday.

breaktime-iced-vietnamese-coffee.jpg.jpeg

We headed to Ben Thanh markets the very first day we were there. The local women would hold on to the WSBs arm to try and get him to look at their stall. I found it hilarious. The boy did not.

Ben Thanh markets (fresh food area)
Ben Thanh markets (fresh food area)

People dress very well. This was no Bali or Thailand and travelers wore chinos and button up shirts. So no Bintang and Heineken nipple baring singlets here boys. A lot of the tourists seemed to be from neighbouring Asian countries and the women were always very well dressed. And boy – they really do love posing for the camera.

Hanoi
We stayed in the French Quarters which was elegant and felt very rich and expensive. I felt a little out of place with my sneakers and backpack.

the-french-quarters-hanoi.jpg.jpeg

The Old Quarters is a wonderful place to get lost but personally I started feeling a bit “over it” simply walking around there. Especially if you are no mood to shop. A walk around the lake is a much nicer and relaxing option.

hanoi-old-quarters.jpg.jpeg

North Face is huge is Hanoi and every second shop will sell you North Face labelled clothing. Most are fake and a quick read of the label will give away spelling and grammatical errors. Nevertheless the jackets aren’t actually bad quality and many people from colder European countries were stocking up for their Winters.

Halong Bay
Very touristy indeed and initially I kind of regretted booking the 2 night 3 day tour as I felt like we had done all we could on the first day but an interesting experience nonetheless. We surprisingly didn’t get to spend as much time on the boat as I would have liked. On the second day of the tour the original guide left with our group and we got a new guide and group as most people sign up for a 1 night tour. The second day was spent with another group doing a day trip on another boat.

 

Halong Bay itself is very pretty but it felt very similar to the type of scenery I had seen in Thailand. It was very misty and my mood lifted when the sun finally came through one afternoon for a few hours.

Da Nang
There is so much development happening in Da Nang! The long stretch of sand reminded me of the Gold Coast in Australia. We spent 2 nights here at the Holiday Beach Resort and since it wasn’t peak season, we didn’t have to hang around waiting for a seat by the pool or bars as the place was deserted.

I really liked Da Nang because it has a lot of potential. If you want to see Da Nang..better to go now rather than later before the massive hotels bring in the throngs of partying tourists in.

Holiday Beach Da Nang resort - Vietnam

View from Holiday Beach Dan Nang

Hoi An

An Instagrammers delight! A very picturesque quaint town. Lovely to walk around. We were only here for 1 night but that was enough to get a feel for the place. I felt that Hoi An has been very cleverly maintained and marketed not just for international but domestic tourists alike.

Hoi An old town area

Hoi An Old Town Instagram

Have you been to Vietnam as well? What took you by surprise there?

13 thoughts on “Travel diaries: what you don’t (usually) hear about Vietnam

    1. Thanks hun! It was never really on my list either but became intrigued about it just because I like Vietnamese food so much. I highly recommend Vietnam.. plus it was a really safe place to visit and I kind of very secretly wish I had done it solo when I was single…shhh

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh I loved reading your experiences in Vietnam! I hope to visit one day. I loooove Vietnamese ice milk coffee! The condense milk makes it.
    I think I’d love to roam around Hanoi – just to window shop though.
    I’ve not heard of Da Nang… I hope it doesn’t get super developed before I get there.
    Your photos make me excited for my upcoming trip to Japan! We just booked it – we’ll be going end of May for 2 weeks. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the coffee was sooo good there. We tried local Vietnamese Iced coffee when we were back in Sydney but it just wasn’t the same.
      Japan sounds so exciting. I’ve heard that May is a good time to go there as well

      Liked by 1 person

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