– 9 days –
I rave about Hoi An anytime people mention travel in Vietnam. This was one of those standout destinations that I’m still thinking about a year later.
Most of the historic sites in Hoi An work on a coupon system – you pay $6 and this grants you admission to a number of temples, assembly halls, and workshops. While the Old Town of Hoi An is quite small, I managed to see something new every day I was there.
If you want to get crafty and take a unique souvenir home with you, there are classes where you can learn to make lanterns and conical hats. Not only do you pick up a rather unusual skill, but it also makes your souvenir all the more special.
There were also plenty of places to visit outside of the city, like the Tra Que Herb Village, Cua Dai Beach, and An Bang Beach.
Of course, you can’t come to Hoi An and not go shopping. Despite its size, the city of Hoi An is known for the hundreds of tailor shops scattered across the city. Travellers come from far and wideto have their clothes perfectly tailored and it doesn’t cost a fortune. When it comes to picking out clothes, you can either choose a model you like in the store, or you can bring in a picture from a magazine and the tailors will recreate that look for you. I managed to walk away from my time in Hoi An with 3 new dresses!
– 3 days –
Hanoi was the one city in Vietnam that I didn’t really click with. I think it was the combination of mad traffic, incessant honking, and the fact that I’d had a very busy month of travel through the country. While I didn’t feel very inspired to go out and explore, I did manage to visit Hoan Kiem Lakein the historic centre of town, and attend a water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater.
– 2 days –
I couldn’t imagine coming to Vietnam and not witnessing the natural marvel that is Halong Bay. Also known as The Bay of Descending Dragons, Halong Bay is home to some of the most fascinating topography in the world. Rocky karst formations covered in lush vegetation rise out of the waters giving the bay an other-worldly feel.
I knew a one day tour would not be enough time to soak in this magical landscape, so I signed up for a 3 day – 2 night boat tour. The next 3 days were spent sailing the harbour aboard the junk boat(that’s just the name, the boats are not junky!), and taking part in a number of activities likekayaking in the bay, visiting caves, and hiking around some of the islands.
I can’t recommend this experience enough!
When it comes to choosing a tour of Halong Bay, you’ll want to do your research. From wild party cruises where young twenty-somethings get deserted on an island ‘Castaway-style’ to high-end luxury cruises, there is something for every type of traveller and every budget.
Also, consider what time of year you’re travelling in. I went to Halong Bay in May when it was jelly-fish season! This meant no swimming or jumping off the ship unless you wanted to get seriously stung.