Diaries from Vietnam πŸ‡»πŸ‡³

Wow I cannot believe my time in Vietnam is over!! I spent two glorious weeks in the beautiful country and I honestly feel so sad to have left!

I’m currently prepping for my overnight train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, which I have to say I’m strangely looking forward to! I’ve never used an overnight train before so here’s another adventure!

Vietnam was absolutely beautiful, as mentioned in my previous post I had an amazing time in Hanoi! Since then, I’ve stayed in HuΓ©, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, all of which were so interesting and exciting in their own way!

HuΓ©

Spoiler alert: this is my favourite place in Vietnam! So I’ll tell you why! We only had one evening and a day in HuΓ© and I would have loved to have spent longer but we saw so much in that time.

Our hotel, La Perle Hotel HuΓ©, was absolutely lovely! The staff were incredible and so attentive! We even got a free upgrade to the deluxe room! Always nice! The fresh fruit available was just lovely! I’m obsessed with how much fruit is around. I’ve tried some new ones too: Dragon Fruit, Guava, Papaya and baby Bananas which are surprisingly sour!

Our deluxe room balcony space πŸ˜‚

We took a day tour from our hotel to fit all the “must-sees” in. Best decision ever! We saw everything all with such a funny guide, I have never done a tour like this before and I have to say I definitely will be doing many more!

First up was the Imperial City. This was massive! It is where the Kings of Vietnam’s past had lived, so understandably it was really rather grand! Everywhere was painted in gold and had so many rituals still in play. Such as certain doors being for the King only, despite the fact that Vietnam no longer has a King.

I loved all the tradition that was still around, it made the whole place seem so serene despite the sheer numbers of tourists milling around!

We got to see some of the places of worship within the citadel and they were just incredible. Unfortunately, due to regulations we weren’t allowed to take any photos, but they were just gorgeous designs all unique to each of the Kings they are there to represent. I’ve never seen anything so grand, particularly to honour an individual as oppose to a religious figure.

Later in the day we went to see the tombs of some of the Kings, and wow again! The Kings had all designed their own tombs and the two we saw were so different. One was incredible gothic in style, and the other inspired by feng shui and nature…

I have to say the nature one was my favourite, it was so beautiful and quiet! It felt like we were the only people there! Whereas the other was heaving! So many people! (Although I realise the photo doesn’t show this!)

Ultimately, HuΓ© was just beautiful and interesting. I highly recommend going there if you ever go to Vietnam. Plus spending that little bit extra on a tour means that you don’t miss anything good out!

Hoi An

This was where I was looking forward to the most. I’d seen all the idilic pictures online and couldn’t wait to see it! However, what the photos online don’t show is the unbelievable hoards of people also wanting to see it’s beauty! Tourists were EVERYWHERE. It was so hard to take any photos or see anything because thousands of other people were trying to do the same!

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Hoi An. It was beautiful and magical, but I could have done without the 30+ buses of tourists.

Before we had gone on holiday I’d researched a teahouse called Reaching Out. I instantly knew I wanted to go there because not only is it a teahouse (and I am obsessed with tea!) but it is a charity based business. It only employs people with hearing or speech impairments in their shop.

The tea was absolutely incredible, and Josh really enjoyed his coffee too. Plus they had lots of little treats that you could eat too!

The place was so lovely too! I could have taken hundreds of pictures of all the little decorations and teapots. Despite what my Dad thinks, we are not sat in a prison cell here either…

Because Hoi An was just a bit too busy for us, we decided to rent some bikes, risk our lives, and cycle to the beach. If anyone had been or seen videos of traffic in Vietnam you will appreciate what I mean by risk our lives. There are no traffic rules in Vietnam. Sure they have red lights and pedestrian crossings, but no one listens to them. No one stays in lane, or indicates when turning, it’s just a simple beep of their horn to let you know they’re going and won’t be stopping. It’s madness!

So off we went on our bikes. And I’ll be honest, I hate bikes on a normal day. But this was just scary! I had no working brakes, and a very tense body. I cannot tell you the relief I felt when I finally got to the beach!!

Now again for those of you that follow my blog, you will know I have a phobia of the sea…So you may be wondering why I went to the beach! Truth is I’m doing everything I can to overcome it! And Josh has been incredible in helping me too.

I’m proud to say I went in! Not fully and not for long, but I went in the sea! I may have had a couple of breakdowns in doing it and I’m pretty sure at one point Josh was carrying me out, but I did it! My fear won’t disappear overnight, but I’m making progress!

From Hoi An we flew to Ho Chi Minh City and the crazy was about to hit new levels!

Ho Chi Minh City

If I thought Hanoi was mad, this was on another level! You couldn’t even see the road there was so many mopeds everywhere! The occasional pedestrian stuck, and looking scared for their lives in the middle of a crossing, it had it all! We arrived quite late due to a flight delay, so we headed straight for our hotel rooftop restaurant, and wow! It was something else! The View at the Duc Vuong hotel is a must visit if you’re ever in Ho Chi Minh City! The food is so good, the staff are incredible, and the views speak for themselves!

I had the most delicious meal I think I’ve ever had in my life! And it’s the first time I’ve eaten meat this whole holiday too (as they didn’t have much of a vegetarian menu if I’m honest!)

Yeah

It was a DIY meal, in the fact that I had to assemble it myself. Although it was incredible messy, the end result was incredible! Who knew that papaya, banana, carrot, beef and vermicelli could all taste so good together!!

The next day we headed to the War Remnants Museum and Independence Palace. The War Remnants Museum was something else. I felt so emotional the whole way around. I had studied the Vietnam War as part of my A Level History, so I have a fairly good understanding of it all, so seeing all that I had learnt come to life in photographic form was chilling. Some of the photos on display were hard to look at, in fact all of them were in their own way. Seeing photos taken, just seconds before a bomb hit the men in them was quite emotional to say the least! There’s a reason people say you must visit this Museum and I couldn’t agree more. Even if you know nothing about Vietnam, or the War, visit it and you’ll learn so much about the strength of its people and it’s horrific history.

Independence Palace was one of the key elements of the end of the war. It has so much history wrapped inside its walls. But I will be honest, aside from its historical significance it wasn’t all that exciting! That sounds horrific to say I know, but once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. You can see all the rooms occupied once as a bedroom or a study and it’s not all that exciting. However, it was definitely worth the visit because of what it represents!

We decided to head out to a TripAdvisor recommended restaurant for dinner, and long story short, I was served raw chicken!! So we quickly retreated back to our trust sky bar, ordered some cocktails and me their delicious sticky rice and banana pudding and enjoyed the rest of the night overlooking the beautiful city lights.

The next day, we had booked a tour around the Cu Chi Tunnels. For those that haven’t heard of these, they are some of the remaining tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the War.

The tunnels were incredible to see. They had been made larger after the war to accommodate for tourists, but they still were tiny! We were able to go in a section of them, and they were so small I was struggling and I’m not that tall! How they used to use them when they were smaller I will never know!!

We had the most amazing dinner at s place called Den Long. We were back on the tofu after the events of the night before and it was incredible! THE BEST tofu I have ever had! Highly recommend this restaurant!

After dinner we went to the Bitexco Tower to use their sky bar on floor 52. Wow it was high, and quite expensive by Vietnamese standards, but it was worth it! The cocktails were about 220,000 VND which sounds expensive, but that actually is only Β£7.30! The view was absolutely incredible!

It was honestly my favourite part of Ho Chi Minh City! The views were unbelievable, I could have stayed there all night! Plus my cocktail was delicious! I can’t remember what it was called but it tasted cinnamony which was lush!

All in all I loved my time in Vietnam, and am so sad to say goodbye! I made so many memories with Josh and experienced so many new things! For a county that is growing so fast, and is yet so traditional it is beautiful. The people are so friendly, and the history so powerful! If you can get over the unbelievable heat and the scary traffic you’ll enjoy it so much!!

Onto Thailand we go!

Ox

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