Continent: South East Asia
Currency: Vietnamese Dong
Capital City: Hanoi
Years I Visited: 2014, 2018
Probably my favourite country in South East Asia, Vietnam just has such a fantastic feel to it. Its enormous coastline means you get fantastic beaches while, inland, the mountain and jungle scenery is amazing. Also Vietnamese food is just the best – once you try banh mi, you can never go back.
My Vietnam Highlights
Here’s where I got to in Vietnam. Click the destination name for related blog posts.
Ho Chi Minh City
Don’t expect a gentle introduction to Vietnam if you land here – Saigon is pure chaos and is an exhilarating city to be in. The most popular activity here is playing human Frogger when crossing the road – after a few days, you’ll be a pro.
The Mekong Delta
The perfect escape from HCMC, a gentle boat ride along the Mekong is a brilliant tonic. There are some great eco-stays here as well as an abundance of interesting islands.
It’s not hard to see why Hoi An is so packed with tourists or why it’s so many people’s favourite spot in Vietnam. The Old Town is just brilliant and you can lose a few days sitting and people watching here. Plus, one of the country’s best beaches is just a couple of kilometres down the road.
The Imperial City draws visitors in mainly for its huge 1800s Imperial Palace. However, beyond that, Hue has some great nightlife and, of course, mouth-watering food.
Vietnam’s capital feels more mellow than HCMC which is definitely a good thing. You’re still putting your life in your hands when crossing the road here, but it’s laden with relaxing parks and more coffee shops than you could ever possibly visit.
Ha Long Bay
Like everything else that’s not one of the 7 Wonders, Ha Long Bay is described as the 8th Wonder. The appeal is obvious though – you can drift along on a boat for hours or even days through amazing limestone karsts which also featured in King Kong.
Probably the first awe-inspiring hike I ever did, the rice terraces of Sapa take some time to reach but are so worth it once you get there. The whole thing is a unique experience, not just because of the landscapes but because of the chance to peek into Vietnamese tribes’ way of life.