is unlike anywhere I’ve been before; a place of contradictions.
Hanoi is a chaotic whirlwind of motorbikes, travellers and hawkers,
while Hue and
Hoi An are laid-back towns with incredible street-food
Ho Chi Minh (also known as Saigon) didn’t feel as vibrant as
Hanoi, but both cities overflowed with markets selling local
snacks, ceramics, trinkets and everything in between. Try the egg
and coconut coffee – unlike anything you will have tasted before.
Visit Cat Ba instead of Halong
Bay as it’s less touristy and then head to Ninh Binh, described
as “Halong Bay on land” with gigantic limestone karsts that jut out
of rice paddies instead of the sea.
Don’t miss a scenic boat ride through Ninh Binh, with Vietnamese
women steering the way using their legs – much easier said than
done. Everywhere I looked, there was something interesting
happening: women on motorbikes driving around with their babies in
their laps, men wheeling around cartons of eggs in the busiest
traffic you’ll ever encounter, cars honking and food being
You’ll find all of the stereotypes in Vietnam: young couples
traveling together, English lads on the quest for cheap booze and
big nights out, solo travellers on a quest for enlightenment, gap
year millennials and soul-searching hippies.
One thing’s for sure: no matter who you meet, you’ll feel like a
different person when you leave.