Vietnam

Vietnam was a truly beautiful country and there was just not enough time to see it all. I spent the majority of my time in the south visiting the romantic cities and the beaches.

I won’t ever forget the traffic here and motorbike taxis are definitely a thing and the best way to get around. I just wish i’d been brave enough to ride my own bike as many others do along the coast line.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to visit the north, but I’ll save that for another time, I wouldn’t want to miss out on trekking in Sapa, or the midnight swims in Halong Bay. There are a couple of national parks I missed out too, so even more of a reason to plan to go back!

Hanoi

  

After my really long 14h sleeper bus (5pm to 7am) from Hue to Hanoi I was knackered. It wasn’t that bad a way to travel, I had my own reclining seat (no spooning this time) and the luxury of free WiFi, but I struggled to sleep! Which meant I spent the majority of my first day sleeping!

  
I did however surface around late afternoon to take a walk around the city. That evening I headed down to the lake to see a Water Puppet show in the worlds oldest Water Puppetry Theatre. The show was really good and I was facinated with how they manipulated the wooden puppets. I was only a short show at an hour long and consisted of several mini puppet shows depicting local agricultural, rural and artistic culture.

I spent my final day walking around seeing the sites and museums. The traffic in Hanoi is mental, I could just about handle it until rush hour hit. I had just finished up buying some souvenirs when I got run over by a bike. I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner but luckily I only lost a toe nail. 

Motorbiking to Hue

I’d wanted to do a motorbike tour for a while and when I reached Hoi An I decided to ride to Hue on part of the Top Gear Vietnam special route. Becca and I signed up for easy riders to take us as passengers with our bags strapped on to the back of the bikes.

We started riding at about 8am and finished at about 4pm. The route itself is only about 2-3h long but we stopped off at some amazing places and sites along the way.

  Marble Mountain

  Elephant springs

Hai Van Pass

Hoi An

Hoi An was beautiful! Such a charming town with a lot of character. It was lovely to just walk around and soak up the atmosphere. 

Hoi An is the home of tailored clothing, so naturally I had lots of stuff made! And if it wasn’t being custom made I was buying it from the markets. I even found a wonderful lady who would make $10 skater dresses in 4h! (Saying I went to see her a few times is an understatement). I think I pretty much replaced all my travelling clothes and gained an extra 3.5kg of clothes upon leaving Hoi An.

When I wasn’t shopping or diving, (or drinking) I was exploring the town by foot and cycle. You just can’t capture the charm this place had in a picture.

***It was also here where I drunkenly decided one night that I was done with Vietnam and wanted to head back to Thailand for Songkran. 

  

Diving – Cham Island, Hoi An

One of the things I said I really wanted to try whilst I was away was diving and I knew Hoi An would be one of my last chances to try it.

Becca, Rosie and I decided on a trip with 2 discovery dives around the Cham Islands. It was loads of fun!

To start with the kitted us out and taught us how to use the equipment. It didn’t take long until we had our heavy oxygen tanks on our backs and we were jumping off he boat!

Unfortunately I had some trouble with my ears and was in agony for both dives. I did however persevere and hit 7m on the first dive and 12m on the second. The sea life if saw was amazing, and swimming alongside it was surreal.

  

Bai Xep

 Bai Xep was a beautiful little fishing village with only 1 hostel and 1 hotel along a stretch of amazing beach. We had a lot of fun here and spent most of it drinking the night away, swimming in the sea and just generally chilling out. 

I also go to try out a Vietnamese fishing boat, not the easiest thing to paddle!

 

An Hoa

  

We stopped off 1 night in An Hoa a small fishing village, to eat an evening meal with a local family in their home.

It was a help yourself meal with fried veggies, barbecued fish, marinated meat, spring rolls and many other things I couldn’t name. The fish was incredible and pork really yummy. I loved eating with chop sticks too, I think I may have even mastered the art of eating rice with them too. No local meal would be complete with out the polite shots of rice wine… Yuk! (I am starting to get used to the taste though!)

Canyoning – Da Lat

Canyoning was amazing! I’ve never done anything like it before and found it so much fun!

To start with I learnt to absail down a dry cliff face (18m) before heading to a huge 25m high waterfall. Coming down this was pretty scary and the water pressure made it quite hard. To top it all you can only absail 20m and the further 5m you have to jump with no rope!

In between absails we would swim, cliff jump, water slide (head first, down a mini waterfalls) and travel along lazy rivers. We also did a little trekking alongside the river bank.

I think my favourite activity was the final 16m waterfall absail nicknamed the washing machine. I only had to absail the 5m rock before lowering myself in an empty space that was suddenly engulfed gushing water that took you in its stream, pushed you under and spat you out the otherwise unharmed!

Ho Chi Min City

I’ve hit Vietnam! And the traffic is as crazy as everyone says, but not as crazy as I thought.

I wasn’t too keen on the city and spent a day wandering around attempting to enjoy it. But when you find yourself taking 10mins to even bring yourself to start crossing a road it’s quite hard to enjoy yourself as I found I was in a constantly stressed state!