Lisa recently enjoyed an amazing holiday to Vietnam. She was there to visit her son, who currently lives there, but before doing that her and her husband, John, and daughter, Charlotte, spent a fantastic 10 days travelling around Vietnam, discovering all that the country has to offer and seeing the sights. Here is her story and some of the highlights of the trip.
‘We flew overnight from Manchester, via Doha, an amazing airport with a park in the middle of it!
On arrival in Hanoi, our private guide met us and took us to our hotel, Hotel de L’Opera.
Our room was ready for us on arrival, even though it was early morning, so we had a couple of hours sleep and then went out to explore Hanoi.
Although I have visited before, I needed to remind myself how to cross the road in Vietnam. Basically, the cars and scooters don’t stop for you, even on crossings, you just have to walk across and they go round you! A bit scary at first but it is surprising how quickly you get used to it. Just don’t try it when you get back to England!
We enjoyed a walk around the lake in the centre of Hanoi, our first Hanoi Beer along with the Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls for lunch.
The afternoon was spent travelling around the city on the Hop on Hop
off bus. A great way to see a new city, though we just stayed on it all the way round. This was a new attraction since I last visited a few years ago and I can already see how tourism has developed here in the last few years.
The next day, our private guide took us to several attractions in the city including Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, The Temple of Literature and The Museum of Ethnology.
In the evening, he came back to the hotel to escort us around the city to sample the street foods on offer. As it was a Friday evening the city was very lively and we also experienced some of the weekend night life.
NINH BINH, VIETNAM
Early next morning, we set off on our 2 hour journey to Ninh Binh. This is often known as an inland Halong Bay with it’s amazing scenery of sheer limestone mountains rising up beside the river.
We had a couple of days here, enjoying the scenery, the River boat (Sampan) rides, cycling around the countryside and just relaxing a little after the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
HALONG BAY, VIETNAM
From Ninh Binh, we then had a 3 hour journey across to Halong Bay. Here we boarded our beautiful boat ‘Orchid Trendy’ and settled into our luxurious cabin with large bathroom, with a full sized bath in the window.
We enjoyed a lovely buffet lunch whilst we set sail into the amazing bay (Lan Ha Bay, next to Halong Bay) and enjoyed the fantastic scenery of limestone rock formations coming out of the water. There were only about 30 guests on board so it felt very exclusive. Some of the guests enjoyed an excursion into a cave that afternoon but we just stayed up on deck enjoying the sunshine and the gorgeous scenery.
After Happy Hour at the bar up on deck along with a cookery lesson – how to make Vietnamese Spring Rolls, we went down for a lovely 3-course dinner. After dinner there was the option to go squid fishing or sit back on deck for a nightcap before an early night as we had an early start the next morning.
We decided against the 5.30am start for the Tai Chi session up on deck before breakfast. However, we were still up for a 6.45am breakfast so that we could go kayaking after breakfast, before we set sail again.
After kayaking there was more food – an early brunch before disembarking and being transported back to the port. Here our guide was waiting for us to transport us back to Hanoi Airport for our next flight.
HOI AN, VIETNAM
It was just a short 1 hour flight down to Da Nang, where we were met by another guide and transported to our lovely beachside hotel in Hoi An, The Boutique Hoi An Resort.
It was lovely to have a couple of days chilling by the pool in the beautiful sunshine in Hoi An.
However, we also did a half day Vespa Tour whilst there, which was brilliant. Riding pillion on our own Vespa with driver, we rode around the countryside, visiting some amazing attractions such as a Coffee producer, a boat builder and local villages. At the end of the excursion we enjoyed a traditional Vietnamese lunch in a riverside restaurant.
We also caught a taxi to a local spot where we enjoyed ‘Coconut Boat’ rides, which was an experience.
In the evening, we caught the hotel shuttle bus into Hoi An where there were lots of shops, market stalls, bars and restaurants. When it got dark the river was lit up with traditional Chinese lanterns and boats and there was a very busy vibe to the town. It was an amazing experience.
HAI PHONG CITY, VIETNAM
The last part of our trip involved a flight back up to Haiphong, where our son is currently living. Although we stayed in a hotel, we lived a bit more like a local here. Haighong isn’t a tourist city and westerners were quite a rare sight.
On the Sunday we caught the bus from the city centre to the coast. When got on a ferry across to Cat Ba Island , which is a lovely tourist destination. Here we hired scooters for about £2.50 for the day and toured around the island. We visited a national park and hiked up to a beautiful view point with amazing views across the bay.
All in all, we had an amazing trip and I would highly recommend Vietnam to anybody who is considering it. It is a very safe destination and everybody is so friendly. It is a very cheap destination once you are there.
If it is your first visit then I would highly recommend either booking on a small group tour or arranging to have a guide with you for a lot of your trip. This just means that you don’t miss anything and you get help with things like crossing the road 😂.’
For more information on Vietnam please contact Lisa on 01706 250006 or email [email protected] and she would be more than happy to give you more information
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