Vietnam is absolutely a must-see destination in Southeast Asia. The diversity of the country will amaze you! It is high on my wishlist to travel to this country a second time. I would take roughly the same route, but then with my own motorbike and at a slow pace of about 2 months. Why I fell in love with Vietnam? These are the reasons!
#1 Vietnamese cuisine
Even at home, Vietnamese food is my absolute favourite when we go out for dinner. From steamy noodle soup to fresh Vietnamese springrolls… You could wake me up for it anytime! Vietnam is such a walhalla for every foodie. The delicious street food and the great restaurant are top. If you want to bring it all home with you, then a cooking class is a must.
#2 Coastal town Hoi An
Travellers are either a fan of the coastal village of Hoi An, or they find it an awful tourist hype. I obviously belong to the first group. I loved the relaxed atmosphere, historic buildings and nice shops. The famous and fairytale-like lanterns and lights around the bridges in the evenings are beautiful. Hoi An is also the perfect base for day trips to ancient temple ruins and the tropical Cham Islands.
#3 The islands of Halong Bay
If you’re first looking into Vietnam, you’ll probably come across many pictures of beautiful Halong Bay. This bay in the north of Vietnam is magically beautiful. Scattered through the super blue waters are impressive rocks, which gives Halong Bay a fairytale-like atmosphere. You probably won’t enjoy a better sunset in Vietnam than here! The archipelago is even on the UNESCO list. You can make a beautiful boat trip along the rocks and islands.
#4 Vibrant Ho Chi Minh City
Old Saigon is a typical bustling Asian city. Huge avenues with hysterical traffic, impressive high-rise buildings and atmospheric alleys with ancient temples. This combination of old and new makes Ho Chi Minh City particularly interesting. The street food and local markets are an absolute must. The city is also the perfect base for a (multi-day) visit to the beautiful Mekong Delta and one to the Cu Chi Tunnels from the Vietnam war.
#5 The mountains of Dalat
High up in the mountains is the city of Dalat. Make sure to read about the climate in this place, because you can leave your bikini in your backpack here. Because of the altitude this city is much cooler than the rest of Vietnam. Dalat itself is nice, but you mainly want to come here for the surroundings. A bike ride through the mountains is highly recommended. Drive past local farms, waterfalls and small villages to see life outside the city. Adventure activities such as abseiling and canyoning are popular here as well.
#6 Historical My Son
Many guidebooks will tell you to combine a Vietnam trip with a day trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Not only does Cambodia deserve much more time than a short day trip and does it make a very long distance trip, Vietnam has it’s own historical temple ruins. I admit: those are not as impressive as those of Angkor, but definitely worth a visit. From Hoi An, you can easily make a day trip to the old king City of My Son. Hire a local guide or bring a good guide book to learn about Vietnam’s ancient history and to make the temples come alive!
#7 The Mekong Delta
The Mekong is one of the most important rivers of Asia and runs along the border between Laos and Thailand to the south. To end up in Vietnam and end at the ocean! The Mekong has created a landscape of floating villages and markets, green fields and endless water in this southern part of Vietnam. Our boat trip through the Mekong Delta was one of the highlights of our Vietnam trip!
#8 The bounty beaches
Vietnam is a beach country par excellence. The country has a coastline of over 3,000 km! So it’s not hard to guess that you can enjoy the best tropical white sand beaches, blue oceans and palm trees around here. Popular beach destinations are Mui Ne and Nha Trang, but we chose to sleep more off the beaten track on one of the Cham Islands. This island group just off the coast at Hoi An is mainly visited for day trips, so from the afternoon you often have the beaches almost for yourself.