By the fact you’re reading this, I shall take the liberty of assuming you are someone who someday hopes to travel to Vietnam. Or if not, simply a curious reader wishing to find out more about the beautiful country. And to both of you I say hello! To the latter, perhaps after reading this article you may wish to transform your curiosity into a reality. An online version of destiny has placed this page of the internet in front of you, and maybe it was for that reason. The splendour of Vietnam is perhaps limitless, but for your benefit, I have managed to condense its limitlessness into 3 highlights. So, without further ado, here are 3 awesome travel tips to make the most of Vietnam.
1) Boat across Halong Bay
It’s hard to feel anything other than undiluted awe when floating across the emerald waters of Halong Bay. An UNESCO world heritage site, its calm waters flow between verdant, towering islets of limestone. The most popular way to see the stunning location is via a large ferry, so I opted for that option and stayed on one of the many boats for two nights. It cost around 120 dollars for an all-inclusive package, with food, drinks and travel to the boat paid for. For a traveller on a tight budget this may sound like a lot, but remember that once you’ve paid for a package, your cost of living for the next three days is essentially zero. Furthermore, if you’re still having doubts, I invite you to look up Halong Bay on a search engine of your choice. After looking at the plethora of magnificent image results, I’m sure your concerns will evaporate just like the water on your warm shoulders will, after a dip in the bay’s cool waters.
2) Bike around Vietnam
Although you may hear horror stories of Vietnamese traffic (mentioned in my last travel article “4 essential travel tips to survive in Vietnam”) driving a small moped around the quieter areas of Vietnam can be pretty amazing. When I visited Cat Ba Island, you could rent a scooter for the day for around 10 dollars. The part of Cat Ba I was staying in was pretty chaotic, with thousands of Vietnamese tourists and Western travellers dashing about the streets. So to be able to glide out of there with a few friends on two wheels was pretty dreamy. Cruising the island’s smooth roads, which twist and turn between flourishing forests, was an experience I won’t soon be forgetting. And for an unexperienced biker like myself, a short day’s excursion through a relatively quiet area definitely helped me to make the most of Vietnam.
3) Trek through Sapa
Without a doubt, my fondest memories of Vietnam were spent venturing into and through Sapa. Myself and a few others travelled there the most authentic way, via a nine hour, rickety night-train from Hanoi. If you also chose this way, your journey could go one of two ways. Either you’ll find yourself sleeping on a relatively uncomfortable mattress, or on a mattress stuffed with what feels like feathers of lead. I was ‘lucky’ enough to enjoy both types, and despite a sleepless night on the way back, the breath-taking views I saw during my sleep-deprived journey more than compensated for my tiredness. Once you’ve arrive, the clouds drifting through the village will assure you you’re in the right place, Sapa being located a lofty 1500 metres above sea level, amidst Vietnam’s mountains to the north.
After you’ve settled in a hostel, I implore you to book several days of trekking as soon as you can, preferably staying at least one night in a home-stay. If you do so, you’ll find yourself walking through one of the most exquisite landscapes you’ve ever seen. The lush green mountains are geometrically etched by the flowing curves of the rice paddies that line them, whilst the sound of trickling can be heard from one of the areas many, glistening rivers. After a hard day’s trek, you can take a dip in one of these local rivers, after indulging in the traditional Vietnamese cuisine your home-stay hosts will have cooked for you. Now, if all of that elaborate description hasn’t persuaded you that Sapa is essential if you’d like to make the most of Vietnam, I really don’t know what else will, but just trust me, it’s pretty astonishing.
Well, that’s all I have for you, hope you enjoyed reading the post and now have three extra things you can do to make the most of Vietnam!