Gooooooood morning, Vietnam! It’s is a country of a rich history, obviously both vintage and more recent. Vietnam is an Asian MUST DO. The culture and architecture is said to be an influence of all Chinese, Japanese, French and American colonial influences creating an over stimulating, unique atmosphere. Let me just say, I was pleasantly surprised that Vietnam would be one of my favorite experiences in Asia so far. A four day weekend, including travel, was not enough time to fully immerse myself in this country, but I did effectively squeeze in everything I could fit!
After we checked in, the first thing anyone needs to do in Hà Nội is FOOD. After being awestruck by the insane motorbikes hustling and bustling through the streets, FOOD was the obvious first thing to do. Vietnamese street Pho is everything you’ve imagined and more. My general rule of thumb in a country where I don’t speak the language: if the business is crowded, you must eat there. In this case, this business was some plastic chairs and a team of three woman cooking noodles, chicken and cutting veggies.
After Pho, make sure to head to the Old Quarter to people watch and enjoy the atmosphere. Tiger beer is better than Tiger “Crystal,” don’t believe the hype of the Crystal edition if you ever find yourself in Vietnam. Honestly, Tiger is probably my favorite local beer in all of Asia & is an absolute must in the hot, humid streets of Ha Noi.
Wake up bright and early, hop on a bus and find yourself on a charter boat in Ha Long Bay. If you time it right, you can take a kayak trip through the caves of bright blue water. People will say Ha Long Bay is touristy but it is worth the time and experience in my opinion
**ALONG CAME A FACT**
The Vietnamese flag was adopted in 1955 and symbolizes the five groups of workers in the building of socialism: intellectuals, peasants, soldiers, workers and youths. The red symbolizes bloodshed, and the revolutionary struggle. I was visiting during National Day, which is Vietnam’s celebration of Independence from France in 1945 so flags were EVERYWHERE
Once you get back and freshen up, go grab food at one of Ha Noi’s amazing restaurants. I highly recommend the restaurant Green Tangerine
Great & unique food, romantic atmosphere, stellar service.
Another early morning, another early bus. Again, so worth the trek. Off to Chùa Hương or in English known as Perfume Pagoda. This is a MUST DO while in Ha Noi in my opinion. You get to take a boat ride through the Vietnamese scenery, visit the temple, view some of the most beautiful architecture, and visit an incredible cave filled with ritual prayer services inside. A day at Chùa Hương is a dynamic day full of culture and beauty. If a picture is worth a thousand words…
Last chance for Vietnamese street food!! We made sure to get Bánh mì and
Bún chả which are absolute musts. Be sure to follow the “If it’s crowded, it must be good!” rule of thumb.
I wish I could have stayed longer in Vietnam but I did absolutely enjoy my time while I was there. I will mention that my accommodations at Hanoi Royal Palace 2 and booked my tours through them. The room wasn’t the cleanest or most modern I’ve ever stayed in, but the location was PERFECT for everything I needed including night markets, street foods and the magic of Ha Noi.
Eventually, I will write a post explaining VISAS in Asia, one of which will be the process I went through in Vietnam. Pretty easy, so don’t get too alarmed.
I hope this was helpful and feel free to contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments–Happy traveling!