I’d never really considered visiting Vietnam until a couple of friends suggested we meet them for part of their six month around-the-world honeymoon. There’s no particular reason for my lack on interest. I just didn’t know anything about this beautiful country until I started researching. And because it completely blew me away, I thought I’d share my favourite picks in case, like me, you’re still on the fence.
Relax in paradise in Phu Quoc
I have to say, I am really not a beach holiday kind of person. Surfing and water sports, yes please! But laying around sunbathing just isn’t my idea of fun. Seeing as there’s not a hint of surf in Phu Quoc, I was a little worried I’d be climbing up the palm trees after the first day. I don’t know how, but this little island paradise has completely converted me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working so hard lately but as soon as someone put a cocktail in my hand, I just didn’t want to move. I actually had to drag myself to the amazing beach-side yoga classes at Mango Bay Resort, which is so unlike me. We also stayed at Peppercorn Beach Resort and were unbelievably lucky to have the whole place to the four of us, including Auntie 7’s delicious cooking and the fantastic sunsets.
Vietnam in Focus, Hanoi
Crazy, loud, hot, humid and frenetic, arriving in Hanoi would shock even the most hardy traveller, not to mention two blissed out and relaxed arrivals from Phu Quoc. The honks of hundreds of motorbikes were enough to slam us back to reality in no time. Getting up for dawn was quite a struggle but I’m so glad I did so to take a photography tour with Vietnam in Focus. Colm, the fantastic tour guide, really gave me a lot to think about in terms of my technique and style. Leading us down tiny alleys and along railway tracks, he showed us a glimpse of this hectic city from an insider’s view point. Like any great city, sometimes you need to get off the beaten track to be rewarded with its true beauty.
What can you say about Halong Bay? It’s just so incredibly beautiful and I feel so lucky I was able to see these beautiful islands under such great conditions. The thunder storm on our first night was a little bit scary, I have to admit, but what could be more romantic than laying on the top deck of a traditional junk boat and seeing flashes of lightening streak across the wide, open sky. We took A Class cruises if you’re looking for a recommendation but I think they’re all quite similar.
Trecking in Sapa
Well as fitness lovers, me and the hubby had to do something to burn off all those cheap beers. Taking the night train to Sapa was so exciting and romantic and we were rewarded with these majestic mountain ranges and the beautiful smiles of the locals. We stayed in Topas Eco Lodge and would highly recommend shelling out the relatively high price to stay here. Compared to the rather touristy and busy town, the lodge is in the middle of nowhere and has completely unspoilt views. I can’t imagine a more peaceful, beautiful way to end what was really the trip of a lifetime.
Have you been to Vietnam, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.