Vietnam is a country abundant in opportunity. Whether you’re interested in religion, history, or relaxation, there is something for everyone! I spent a month exploring the country and these are the things worthy of your interest.
Hanoi is home to the Noi Boi International Airport (HAN), an excellent place to start your journey around the country. Due to the immense time difference from the United States, I landed around 22:00 Vietnam time in an attempt to rectify my soon-to-be shattered sleeping schedule. I was fortunate enough to start my trip off in style and stayed at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
Once I was rested and bathed in a fresh coat of SPF 70, I decided it was time to let the adventure begin. In Hanoi, there are no road/lane marks, and the only traffic rule seldom followed is that red lights means stop. It is almost impossible to navigate your way through the city without calling a taxi (if you’re in a group) or renting a moped. The moped is the cheapest option, but be prepared to honk and WEAR YOUR HELMET.
In Hanoi there are a lot of temples/pagodas and museums. Some of the religous sites wirth noting are: The Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Su Temple, Temple of Jade Mountain,Cua Bac Church, and the pagoda in the Hoan Kiem Lake. Some museums worth seeing are: The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and The Vietnam Fine Arts Museums. However, if temples and museums aren’t your style I suggest visiting the Old Quarter or taking a trip to the Hanoi Botanical Gardens. The one thing that everyone should experience in Hanoi is a water puppet show.
If you get the chance to visit Halong Bay, I suggest a junk boat cruise or outing. An outing will be cheaper and you’ll still have access to dangerously sweet beverages, but some of the cruises offer extra exploration activities such as kayaking away from the ship through caves in order to find hidden temples and fishing villages.
Warning: The jellyfish in the bay can be very large, they look comparable to a gallon of milk and spiders may fall onto your canoe while kayaking through caves. That being said, wear a life jacket and you’ll be set.
Hue is a city full of exquisite detail and history. I would highly recommend visiting the Imperial City in order to learn about the dynasties and a few temples if you have time. In my opinion, the ones that are worth your time are The Pagoda of the Celestial Lady and Thê Mieu.
If you’re feeling athletic and would like to hike or climb stairs I would recommend Mount Ngu Binh (Royal Screen) or the Tomb of Khai Dinh. Any other interests should refer to google search.
Shop until you drop, relax on a beach, drink pure coconut. Simply indulge. However, if you’re feeling adventurous head into town and make a wish on a paper lantern at night while eating food on the river.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Night life, traffic, and more shopping. Check out the amusement parks if you’re traveling with kids who need to cool down in the Sun. Eat a bowl of pho, I promise it is more flavorful in the South.
Mekong Delta (Vietnam’s Venice)
One of the coolest places to explore, both literally and figuratively. Enjoy fresh fruit from the river market– obtained by linking boats that are MOVING– and see how the other half lives. If river lounging isn’t your pace head into the depth of the delta and bike around winding narrow paths with the locals.
HOPE YOU ENJOYED TRAVELING WITH ME!