Vietnam is a country on the rise in the tourism industry. The place is a must go country for all backpackers. This is a country with an itinerary for everyone. From beaches and islands to mountains and drives you’ll never forget, Crazy exotic food and amazing culture, this is one country you don’t want to miss. Lets just say one weeks holiday just isn’t going to cut it here. I spent one month exploring Vietnam and that was cutting things short.
My only regret… Not buying a bike. This is the first thing anyone should do when visiting Vietnam. So much more can be explored if only I wasn’t afraid of riding. Me and Matt are already thinking about when we can go back and do it again but on our own bikes. So without further ado heres my list of things to do in Vietnam.
KAYAK THROUGH CAVES IN HALONG BAY
Ok so we didn’t stay on Ha long. We opted to travel to Cat Ba island instead, Reasons? well, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than Ha Long bay for one and we didn’t want to get scammed. (Theres lots of stories floating around about tourists being ripped off over on Ha long bay side.) Cat Ba, which is on the other side of the bay, is often overlooked but the island is beautiful and with rooms costing around £7 a night and beers costing 30p you would be silly not to.
It cost me and Matt $45 dollars each to get a private little boat for a full day of exploring the thousands of tiny islands along the emerald waters of Halong Bay. This included kayaking at kayak village, home cooked vietnamese food on the boat, a visit to monkey island and optional snorkelling. For $45 it was totally worth it. We booked our tour through the hotel we were staying in, which we booked on booking.com. This experience is literally one of the most breath taking things to do in Vietnam.
RIDE THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS IN SA PA
Pack your waterproofs and jumpers because the chilly rides through the north of Vietnam are not to be missed. We spent three days riding scooters through the mountains near Sa Pa. To get there we got a sleeper bus from Hanoi to Sapa for around $12, once we were there we looked on booking websites to see what rooms were available and managed to get in a room for four of us for less than £10. I think we got lucky here as the staff let us leave our big backpacks at reception for the 3 days we were gone riding.
We hired mopeds for £5 a day and headed off on our journey. We spent hours a day exploring the beautiful mountains and all the remote villages filled with true vietnamese culture. Whilst riding through the north I truly felt like I was experiencing the real Vietnam. Little tip, always have google translate handy because the closer you get to the Chinese boarder the less english people speak.
PHONG NHA KE BANG NATIONAL PARK
Another amazing place to explore is Phong Nha Ke Bang national park. Stay the night in the most random little town, or should I say street in Thong Nha Ke Bang. Get up in the morning and hire a moped for the day to travel the loop that takes you through the national park. Explore some of the many caves they have there. One cave was so huge a New York sky scraper could fit inside apparently.
Want Vietnamese city life but dont want the craziness of Hanoi or Ho Chi Min, head to Da Nang. Famous for its dragon bridge which breaths fire on a Saturday night. I loved Da Nang, it had perfect beaches, city life and a beautiful national park to ride around. It was perfect, especially compared to the hectic Hanoi which I highly recommend not wasting much time with. For sure though one of the things to do in Vietnam no matter where you are is hire a moped and explore. We rode up to the mountain peaks and past the Lady Buddha for some seriously breath taking views.
EAT STREET FOOD
Whilst in Vietnam, 100% try the street food. It’s amazing and crazy cheap. One of my fave street food is the french influenced bam me sandwiches which cost like 30p and so tasty. Pho is everywhere. Theres so much to try and personally the smaller street food venues are wayyy tastier than dine in restaurants. Not to mention a fraction of the price. Perfect for travelling on a budget.
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