During our stay in Vietnam we used the cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi as our main places to stay. From there, it is easy to visit many of the highlights the country has to offer. In previous posts we covered our Hạ Long Bay cruise, and trekking trip to Sa Pá. Yet, Vietnam has more to offer. Apart from seeing Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi itself, we went on trips to the Mekong Delta, Mũi Né, and the Củ Chi tunnels.
Upon arriving from Phnom Penh in Ho Chi Minh City, the first thing that struck us were the motorbikes. Hundreds of them. Everywhere. Something as easy as crossing the street suddenly became quite the challenge. We managed however - the trick is to keep walking, and the motorbikes will find their way around you. Hopefully, that is. The city itself has not that much to offer, apart from the typical church - market - high building.
The Mekong Delta is located south of Ho Chi Minh City, and easily reachable by a three to four hour bus ride. This area of the country consists of many islands, connected by waterways. Many people here live on the land, and produce rice, fruits, or delicious coconut candy. They only earn a few dollars a day, but enough to sustain them. An interesting look into the lives in the floating villages of the Mekong Delta.
According to fellow travelers, the best beaches of Vietnam are in Nha Trang. But, because this would require a long overnight bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City, we decided to go to Mũi Né instead (“only” a five hour ride away). Unfortunately, the beaches here are more used for surfing, parasailing, and jetskiing due to the hard wind and high waves. Luckily, the hard winds in Mũi Né also caused sand dunes to appear over the years. We went on a tour to visit the White and Red Sand Dunes. Even though we couldn’t avoid eating some sand, it was great to see the dunes, which made us feel like we were in the desert.
During the Vietnam War, heavy battle was going on in the Saigon (nowadays Ho Chi Minh City) region. The tunnel complex has a total length of 121km long, and a small (safe) section is open for the public to crawl in. An interesting day outing, especially since the Vietnamese government looks at the war from a different perspective than the West.
The capital of Vietnam. As with Ho Chi Minh City, the main way for locals to move around is to use the motorbike. The weather, however, is quite different. Even though temperatures hovered around 20 degrees, for the Vietnamese people it was full on winter: jackets, scarfs, and gloves. For us, it just meant wearing a jacket and pants instead of shorts. Apart from a stroll through the center, and visiting the old city wall, Hanoi does’nt have any major highlights. A nice city, nontheless.
Hanoi would be our last stop in Southeast Asia. From there, a short two hour flight would drop us in Hong Kong.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.