– 6 days –
The mountainside town of Sapa was another favourite of mine. This frontier town which is only a few kilometres away from the border with China, was a much welcomed retreat after a whole month of travel in the country. The cooler temperatures made it very pleasant to spend the days walking outdoors.
My time in Sapa was spent visiting the local markets, hiking to nearby villages like Cat Cat, and also doing a 2 day trek through the hill tribes with a local guide. The scenery we saw was truly breathtaking.
If my Vietnamese visa had not been about to expire, I would have gladly spent weeks here. I mean, just look at those mountains!
What would I change in my Vietnam travel itinerary?
- There were a few destinations that I’ve heard many travellers rave about, that I simply didn’t have enough time to visit. The sand dunes in Mui Ne and the beaches of Phu Quoc Island are the two places I wish I’d made it to.
- When it came to travelling the Mekong Delta, I wish I had chosen a more relaxed tour. The tour I took spent too much time rushing around from one destination to the next aboard a bus, when all I wanted to do was sail the Mekong.
- I really enjoyed hiking through Sapa and if I’d had more time I think I would have signed up for a longer trek through the mountains. The 2 days flew by!
- I really can’t complain about the weather in Halong Bay; while the mornings started out misty, the fog would soon clear to reveal spectacular landscapes, however, my tip for travellers is to try to avoid jelly-fish season! If you’re looking forward to a lot of water-based activities, this could put a bit of a damper on the trip.
- More train travel. My travels in Vietnam were made up of a combination of buses and trains. The buses were probably one of the most terrifying aspects of travelling in Vietnam – imagine kamikaze-style drivers who are not afraid to swerve onto oncoming traffic in order to pass vehicles. This aggressive driving style coupled with ceaseless honking and very few bathroom breaks, made the overnight bus journeys torturous. I would suggest you take the train.