Vietnam: Where To Go & What To See

Vietnam is one of those countries that I have always wanted to visit. The last time I was over this side of the world I didn’t have enough time to go, and so I made it my mission to get here this time around!

Getting There

Rather than heading to Vietnam after Thailand – a more traditional route – we decided to wait until after the rainy season and visit on our way home. While it seemed like a good idea at the time, we had the unfortunate task of getting from Auckland to Hanoi. It cost us quite a lot and we had to take the weirdest route from Auckland – Gold Coast – Kuala Lumpur – Hanoi. It took us almost a full day, crossing three different time zones, but the journey was worth it in the end!

Our Route

As we only had two weeks in Vietnam we decided to visit some of the main cities along the coast. After jumping around Australia and New Zealand quite quickly we decided to take our time and spend longer in each place. We narrowed down our stops to the following:

  • Hanoi
  • Halong Bay
  • Hoi An
  • Ho Chi Minh
  • Mui Ne

I have separate posts on each of these locations but you can read a brief summary of each of these cities below:

Hanoi

A really busy city with a massive food culture! There is so much to see in the city from the water puppet show to the beautiful Hoan Kiem red bridge. The night market is one of the largest I have ever seen and the people are some of the nicest we met in Vietnam.

Halong Bay

Ranked as one of the most incredible natural landscapes in the world, Halong Bay is not something to be missed when visiting Vietnam. You can do anything from a day trip to a week long cruise around the islands, so there is something to suit everyone. We stayed overnight in Halong city and climbed Bai Tho Mountain.

Hoi An

Famous for the incredible tailoring and leather goods, along with the lanterns that light up the city at night time. This was my favourite place in Vietnam and I would recommend spending the most time here. It is more laid back and less crowded than the other cities and is definitely the place to go for shopping.

Ho Chi Minh

The biggest and most populated, this historical city doesn’t really have much to offer. However it is the perfect location to access some other nearby destinations such as Mekong Delta and Mui Ne. If your into history, check out the war remnants museum and chichi tunnels.

Top Tips
  • Bring lots of insect repellant – there are tonnes of mosquitos around
  • Always bargain with the sellers in markets – the first price is never the last price. Cut whatever they tell you in half and go from there!
  • Eat the local food! Check out this post detailing some of the must try dishes in Vietnam. They are all amazing and super cheap!

All in all, Vietnam was a real eye opener. The culture, the food, the people… it was amazing. It is hard to say where my favourite place in south east Asia is, but Vietnam is definitely up there!