Whenever we travel to a country we haven’t been before, we like to get a good overview. We like to see as much as possible but also don’t rush through it too much. Especially when traveling as a couple or with children you have to adapt to each other’s pace.
Before traveling to Vietnam make sure to inform yourself about the visa legislation, because there are different laws for different countries. Tom had to go to the embassy for his visa while I could do it online. We both got a 30 day visa.
Vietnam is a big country and there’s so much to see that you could part it in different sections. As we wanted to see as much as possible, we decided to fly to Hanoi and make our way to the south and fly home from Ho Cho Minh City, the capital of Vietnam.
The first two nights we stayed directly in Hanoi, to adapt and to discover this city. We enjoyed it a lot, the busy streets, the streetfood and sights, don’t skip Hanoi when traveling Vietnam. Read our article about Hanoi if you want to know more about it.
From Hanoi we took a bus to Halong Bay. From a cruising ship we got to see this world wonder. We chose to stay one night on the boat and one night we spent on Monkey Island. There’s also the option to stay on Cat Ba Island, the biggest island in this area or to stay an extra night on the boat. Daytrips are available too but this wasn’t an option for us. Two nights at Halong Bay were perfect and just right to enjoy the beauty of this area!
It’s possible to take a bus from Halong Bay directly to Ninh Binh. We didn’t inform ourselves about that and stayed another night in Hanoi and went from there to Ninh Binh. Ninh Binh amazed us at first sight. It’s said to be the Halong Bay on the inland and there’s definitely a truth in this saying. It’s calm, rural and the landscape with its stone formations is amazing to see. Read our article about Ninh Binh here to know what to do in this area. We stayed three nights in Ninh Binh. That was enough to see most of the sights in this area but if you want more really relaxed days, stay a little longer.
We went back to Hanoi to take a plane to Danang. Like that we left the north of Vietnam and were ready to discover the center. If we wouldn’t have traveled with our child we would have probably taken a bus from Ninh Binh and stop somewhere inbetween too. There’s so much to see on the way!
For us the 1,5h flight was a good option and Danang the perfect place to stay for two nights. We enjoyed the ocean and the beach a lot, the food, nightlife and the fire-breathing dragon at the dragonbridge. From Danang we also started for a day excursion to Sunworld Banahills.
It’s just a half hour drive from Danang to Hoian. We were looking forward to this beautiful town a long time and weren’t disappointed. We loved the charme, the lanterns, and nightmarkets. We spent three nights in Hoi An but could have easily stayed a little longer. Not only because there’s so much to see but simply because we felt relaxed and good there. It’s also the perfect place to do an excursion to My Son. Read more about Hoi An here.
Ho Chi Minh City
We continued our way to Ho Chi Minh city, taking a plane from Danang. Again you can take a bus down the coast if you have the time. We would have definitely chosen the bus and would have stopped several times along the road if we would have had more days. Also the buses go very slow and a 200 km drive takes about 6 hours and would have been hard for our baby.
We still wanted to visit another place along the coast so we stayed just one night in HCMC and took a bus to Mui Né.
Mui Né is a little village on the coast about 200km away from Ho Chi Minh City. The bus drive took almost 6 hours in a sleeping bus over the day since there were no night busses. We stayed two nights in a very quiet homestay outside the main town and enjoyed the ocean and the quietness. The next morning we took the sunrise tour to the white sand dunes, the red dunes, the fishing village and the fairy stream. On the next morning we took the bus back to HCMC.
Time went by so fast but we wanted to see a little bit of the Mekong Delta. That’s why we booked a tour and enjoyed a whole day of learning new things. We tasted coconut candy and honey, went down the Mekong river by boat and stayed the night in a homestay where we made our own vietnamese springrolls. On the next morning we enjoyed the famous floating market of Cai Rang before we went back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City
The last three nights and days we spent in the capital of Vietnam. It’s an amazing city with a lot of culture and interesting sights. Being in Ho Chi Minh City we couldn’t miss the famous Chu Chi tunnels. It was about 2 hours driving from the city but was really worth seeing and learning about what has happened in this country and area.
If you want to experience a busy city, the is the one for you. millions of people floathing the city in a constant stream of motorbikes and cars. The main thing we did was walking around the city visiting markets, museums, beautiful buildings and public places. It is a city where you could easily stay much longer, where you can enjoy the daily rush with a good vietnamese coffee, delicious food and a relaxing massage at the end of the day.
We booked most of our accomodations over booking.com very spontaniously just aday or two in advance.