Paul went to Vietnam last month….
I was very lucky recently to enjoy a visit to Vietnam to see how the country has changed since my last visit. My trip started at Gatwick on the direct service to Hanoi with Vietnam Airlines who offer a 3 class service – Economy, Premium & Business and I must say I was impressed with the efficiency in the Economy Cabin so can only presume that Premium and Business are even better.
The first port of Call was Hanoi, the Northern capital situated just 140 kilometres from the Chinese border and you can certainly see the Chinese influence in everyday life in the busy city which never seems to sleep. It is vibrant colourful and a totally safe city to start your adventure. Other than the history there is great shopping & fantastic food all at extremely cheap prices.
From Hanoi there are various extensions to be done – try the Hill tribe areas of Sapa. This is an overnight train adventure and offers good hiking and visits to the local hill tribes (less commercialised than in Thailand). Alternatively you could cruise around Halong Bay situated 3.5 hours by road from Hanoi this area can offer a variety of cruises from day excursions or I would recommend a 1or 2 night cruise if you have any interest in this area. The cruise takes you through a myriad of limestone islets to enjoy swimming- canoeing – local fishing communities in tranquil waters.
I then headed off down to the Beach resorts of Danang and Hoi Ann, both offer a total contrast in style but both have great beaches and a variety excursions available – perfect for a beach break with good restaurants and shopping.
You could also include Ho chi Minch City. Yet another city that never sleeps, giving you history and a place where it seems everyone owns a motorcycle! There’s lots to see here, especially the popular excursions to Chu Chi Tunnels to discover how they coped with the American invasion. Also, cruising on the Mekong Delta for day trips or up to 7 night cruises.
If you are visiting Vietnam then I would recommend you combine it with Cambodia and Laos. If any of this takes your fancy then give me call and let me put the trip together for you. You’ll be surprised at the fantastic value for money this area is!.