So depending on which city you fly into first you will be going in one direction, either north to south or south to north. I flew into Hanoi so I went north to south Vietnam. You can spend a few days in Hanoi soaking up the culture learning some history and eating the famous Pho soup. Hanoi is a great city to start with for a few days and you can get to Sapa from here. I spent 2 days in Sapa doing a trek and slept overnight in a homestay. It’s a beautiful town and you can hike through rice paddies across the villages. After heading back to Hanoi to recover those aching legs you can book onto a Halong bay trip. These range from a day trip to a few nights, depending on your time limits. I did a 2-day trip so stayed overnight on a boat that sailed through the beautiful limestone cliffs and islands. Halong bay is very touristy and it can be quite overwhelming picking a tour, so choose wisely.
From Hanoi you can get the overnight sleeper bus to Phong Nha. This gives you the opportunity to explore Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park and its surrounding for a few days. There are several caves to explore and botanical gardens, and the whole area is a UNESCO world heritage site. After a few day’s here you can head to Hue. On route to Hue there are the Vinh Moc tunnels if you want to stop by for a brief history lesson on the recent Vietnam war. If you’re interested in History then there is plenty to do in Hue. The former royal capital and its surrounding has plenty to discover including Hue Citadel, pagodas and imperial tombs.
After Hue you can make your way to Hoi An. There are several ways to get there. If you want to sit back and relax you can get the train to Da Nang which is a short taxi ride to Hoi An. Or you can hire a bike allowing you to drive through the infamous Hai Van Pass with stunning costal roads. If you’re not feeling brave enough you can hire a driver to take you through the same route. Once you get to Hoi An there is plenty to do in this old city and the beautiful countryside. You can spend several days here wandering the old town, enjoying the markets, getting tailor made clothes or take a trip to the beach. After some time relaxing in Hoi An you can take the overnight bus to Dalat. Here you can go canyoning explore different waterfalls or go hiking, depending on how adventurous your feeling.
After spending some time in Dalat you can make your way to Mui Ne. this costal fishing town is in the south of Vietnam. There are beach front resorts if you want to spend some time relaxing or you can take a trip out to the red and white sand dunes to watch the sunset. After a few days in the quiet town you can then head to the big city Ho Chi Minh. It’s just a few hours by bus but it’s a world away. Ho Chi Minh formally Saigon is the most populous area and you can find plenty of things to do here in a few days. There’s plenty of historical architecture to look at, food stalls to immerse yourself in, museums and markets. The city is hot, noisy and the traffic is crazy so if it’s too much for you there are still day trips out of the city to Cu Chi tunnels or a trip to the Mekong Delta.
There are plenty of other places to see in Vietnam such as Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Da Nang, Ninh Binh to name a few, so you can make you own itinerary depending on what you want to see and do.
The travelling nurse x