Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh- also known as Saigon is one of the most incredible cities I have ever been too. From the minute I arrived I was completely taken aback by the culture and day to day lives of the people. The city will tantalise all your senses, watching the bright city lights, hearing the millions of non stop bikes getting from A to B, smelling and tasting the fresh street food and feeling the intense heat on your skin. Simply being in Ho Chi Minh is something I will never forget.
Millions of bikes swarm the roads each day, it is a miracle they don’t all crash in to each other. A local told me to think of the bikes as a school of fish – from the outside it looks like complete chaos but when you are immersed within, it just works.
If you ever get the chance to visit Ho Chi Minh I highly recommend booking a back of the bike food tour. The company I chose was ran by students who wanted to earn extra money by taking tourists to remote locations across the city. I tried so many different dishes, most of which weren’t available on everyday restaurant menus. I also learned a lot about the local people and the kind of things they like to eat.
Nha Trang was a very refreshing break from the humidity of the main city. I spent a few days here snorkelling and relaxing on the beach. Below are a few snaps from a snorkelling boat trip. The food was freshly prepared on the boat and was served in abundance!
Below are snaps from local restaurants in Nha Trang, why not try fresh baked oysters with pepper dressing or stick to the more traditional chicken Pho.
One of the best decisions I ever made was booking into Tiny Tigers hostel on my first night in Dalat. Their family run hostel was so accommodating and well looked after, not only was Heip (the owner) an amazing host, he also surprised me with birthday party that I will never ever forget.
Thankfully they secretly filmed the whole thing and put together the video below.
As if my Birthday surprise wasn’t enough, the following day the owners took us all out to a loft style restaurant where we cooked our own meat on hot coals, drank local beers and Vietnamese rice wine.
Whilst in Dalat we also went on a canyoning tour which is certainly not for the faint hearted (or anyone who is scared of heights or drowning). I highly recommend this trip as it was a day full of adrenaline and excitement.
Hoi An is often described as the prettiest town in Vietnam and I have to say it certainly lives up to expectations. It is a riverside town boasting of great history and architecture. Here you can spend your days feasting on local dishes, get hand made shoes and dresses put together in as little as 24 hours and visit the night markets and local bars and dance the night away.
I spent a lot of time in Hanoi, I completely fell head over heels in love with this amazing city. The food was so fresh and tasted different to other parts of the country. Here is also where the coffee was at its best, have you ever tried weasel poo coffee? If not Hanoi is the place to give it a go! Tourists will be able to find a lot of restaurants that allow you to cook your own meat and vegetables on portable stoves and also get a sugar fix at the local waffle house. Bahn mi is also in abundance all over the city for those that require a carb load in the overwhelming heat.
Surely it wasn’t just Thailands beaches that inspired avatar. I spent 3 days on a boat in Ha Long Bay surrounded by scenery I couldn’t even begin to describe. Photos will never do this place justice, you have to see it for yourself.
Before visiting – Sapa was the one place I was hesitant about going too. Purely because I hadn’t heard much about it from other backpackers. My 3 day trek turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. We were met by our tour guide who had a 8 month baby strapped to her back the entire trek, we all climbed mountains and walked for what seemed like forever.
At night we slept in the tribes homestays, we had sleeping bags in the roofs of the local peoples houses and we all ate freshly cooked (and freshly killed) chickens. We stayed up late playing cards and drinking locally made wine, getting to know each other and hear about everyone different walks of life. If you ever get the chance to do something as amazing as this, don’t even hesitate just go!
There is so much more I could write about Vietnam, it certainly is one of the most amazing countries I have ever been too. The food is stunning and is a true reflection of the people that come from this country. Everyone I met was so kind hearted and welcoming. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. This is not goodbye from me, one day I will return!