Vietnam, such an amazing country that, unfortunately, doesn’t get the fame it deserves. With many people coming back dissapointed, feeling a bit overwhelmed with scams, it tends to scare off many others to go. But there is a big secret about Vietnam, about how to avoid the scams : Plan less, take your time.
You see Vietnam is a relatively relaxed country (on the contrary of what you may think after looking at the traffic) and many people enjoy their experience once they have had the time to take a step back, relax, and understand a bit more the country.
Filled with history, the background of Vietnam is hard but interesting. But there is not only all those war stories that make Vietnam. What makes this country beautiful is its nature and its people. Step into it and be ready to be charmed.
So what should be the 5 things that will rock your world ? That will help you never forget the beauty of Vietnam?
Cruise on Halong Bay
Yes, you’ve seen it everywhere, it’s expensive yes but it’s worth it. Cruising in one of the most beautiful scene in the world is an experience you can’t forget. Don’t fall for a dodgy cruise that will ruin your entire time, make some research, read peoples advice online but don’t book with somebody there, the biggest scam in Vietnam must be here, you’ll pay for what seems like a cheap price and get a terrible boat that will ruin your experience.
The experience is usually the same once in Halong : cruising around, discovering « Surprise Cave », Kayaking, enjoying the sunset and the sunrise, you can even go squid fishing. But don’t skip on this one or don’t budget too low for your cruise, that’s our advice !
Discover the caves in Phong Nha Ke Bang National park
Have you heard of Son Doong ? Probably, it’s the biggest cave in the world and is located in that exact park ! Unfortunately at the time of writing this article only a few tourists can a access this cave and prices are very very high. But don’t be discouraged, it doesn’t mean you can’t actually enjoy others. Paradise Cave, Phong Nha Cave, those are some of the beautiful and impressive sites you can discover in that park. Give yourself a couple of days and just enjoy the area. Nature can be impressive and those caves are a brillant example of that !
Trek in Sapa and join one of the markets
Sapa, a town in the mountain in the North of Vietnam is a beautiful town with rice terraces and many tribes walking around. It’s the perfect town to opt for a classical 2 days trek and it’s also the place to go and enjoy one of the most beautiful market of the country: the Bac Ha Market. Full of colours, H’mongs coming to do their shopping, trading animals, food, you will be in the heart of the population there. Yes there will probably be many tourist but this, somehow, doesn’t change a thing, life keeps going whatever surrounds you.
Enjoy Hoi An’s old town at night
Of course Hoi An is gorgeous, it’s not a UNESCO site for no reason, the old town has so much character to it, but while nights comes down and the thousand of lanterns illuminate in the street… That’s when Hoi An is the most beautiful! All those colours gives to the city something old and something terribly romantic. If you want to make the experience even better hire one of the little boats and go releasing some lanterns on the water. It’s super touristy yes but who cares? This is also amazingly romantic and beautiful! And while in Hoi An why not get a suit done by one of the many tailors there? Or try a bar crowl for only $1?
Take an Easyrider tour From Hue to Hoi An.
Vietnam is a lot about motorbikes. If you’ve seen the Top Gear special, then you know also what we mean: a tour of the country without trying it out is a bit of a shame. But if you don’t drive, if you are a bit scared, do not worry! Hoi An and Hue have Easy Riders at your disposal that will be happy to take you through the famous Ho Chi Minh trail up to P’rao (Lao Border) and back down. 2 days on the road, hot springs, waterfalls, gorgeous landscape, meeting some minorities and an historic road, what could be better? You’ll also have the chance to discover My Son, another heritage of the country on the way. So give it a try, it’s not too expensive and it’s an adventure you will remember!
Of course apart from those 5 things there is many things you should do, visit. We loved Dalat, enjoyed the Water Puppet theatre in Hanoï & the Jade Emperor Pagoda in Saigon but just take your time, limit your visits and let yourself go for a bit. Vietnam is a shy country, you need to push yourself to try to know it better to then see it opening slowly. Time is your ally, don’t rush, live your experiences to the fullest!
For more information you can read our articles and see our pictures:
Halong Bay: Photos
Phong Nha: Photos
Hoi An: Photos