- Ho Chi Min/Saigon
The most populated city in Vietnam, no wonder how crowded it is. I did a day trip to Cu Chi Tunnel, one of the most interesting thing I visited in Vietnam. Here you can see what happened during the famous Vietnam war, how Vietnamese are so clever and advance in fighting the Americans Army, how this tiny 200 kilometers tunnel worked, really recommended. Make your way to the backpacker district named Pham Ngu Lao Street. Join the locals sitting on the floor and drink. Alcohols are so cheap here in Vietnam!
If you love outdoor activities, don’t miss this place. Dalat is such a small peaceful city with cool air, and lovely set with the lake in the middle. Rent a motorbike and explore the city in one day. There are some waterfalls, famous one called elephant waterfall (too bad I skipped this place). Things you can do is zip lining, motorbike crossing, jungle trail, and many more. I did visit Crazy House, Bao Dai Palace, Flower Garden, and Tiger Waterfall.
- Hoi An
Hoi An was before a successful trading port in South East Asia. The old town was declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Even though it’s touristy, the city remains traditional, not much affected by western style, as much like the others city in Vietnam. There are several Chinese Temples that you can visit. Take bicycle and explore the city, the have nice beaches too! (not the main beach but in the islands nearby). During the night you will see people selling colorful lanterns which somehow become the trademark of the city. Also visit Marble Mountain which is located 20 kms north from Hoi An. Take a look at the Buddhist Temple which was built inside the caves.
The only reason I wanted to see Hue is first, it’s on my way to Hanoi so I could do a day trip. Second, I was curios about the only imperial city in Vietnam. I visited only Imperial Citadel and Khai Dinh Tomb (it’s a bit pricey to get into the attractions in Hue). Imperial Citadel was badly knocked during the war, and while I was there, they’re renovating the building, nothing really much to see. Khai Dinh Tomb was okay, pretty interesting but the entrance fee is just too pricey.
It was a bit weird how different Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. As a capital city, Hanoi is less-developed then the South. Nothing much to see actually in Hanoi. There are some opera houses and museums in the city. I visited Hoan Kiem Lake and Saint Joseph Cathedral, the closest attraction from backpacker area.
Beautiful landscape, rice terraces surrounded by mountains, Sapa is one of the top destination in Vietnam. It is 12 hours north of Hanoi. You can arrange tour from Hanoi but I suggest you to go Sapa by yourself and rent a motorbike so you can visit the less-touristic villages. The trekking tour that I did was okay we spent the night in local homestay however the annoying part is the local Hmong people tried to sell souvenirs to you, they kept approaching me and offered bracelets, one is okay but there are lots of them!
- Halong Bay
I think my expectation for Halong Bay was too high. Personally I wasn’t really impressed by Halong Bay. I did two days one night cruising to Halong Bay. Sung Sot Cave was stunning. Cruising went well but there’s one spot where we could do swimming and kayaking, the water is too fishy. Lime stone hills were not really surprising me, I saw other places better for that.
Traveled in 14-28 May 2014
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