I hadn’t ventured in to Asia yet. Ever.
When you ask someone if they have been to Asia, the answer you usually get is, “I have been to Thailand”. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Thailand looks stunning, but Vietnam showed up as a more “untouched” option with a lot of interesting culture, history, beaches, mountains, architecture, food and famous also for its coffee, whats not to like!
First thing I did was buy the Lonely Planet guide to Vietnam to decide where and what to do in and around this country. I read a LOT of travel blogs, some of which I will list within this post, and spoke to as many people as possible about their experiences. 99% of the feedback were positive, the 1% I have to rule out were of people getting ripped off, or robbed, but to be honest, there were so few of these comments that this didn’t put me off (although I must confess I searched for forums to find out how safe my camera was going to be! Priorities!!).
I am planning on giving my side of the story and what we got up to. I want to do a blog post per city/town that we visited. It’s going to be a hard sort out, as when I plugged my camera in I downloaded over 1000 photos for our 2 week trip! Actually got back just over 2 weeks ago, but with jet lag, going back to routine work life, getting over a post-travel tummy bug and wanting to revamp the look of the blog and logo I really hadn’t been able to get sorting the photos and writing the posts. But here we are!
Month: May. I tend to take some time off in May from work. It’s a cheaper month for travelling as it’s low season, it tends to be good weather, or at least not extreme hot or cold, and also it’s my birthday month, so all in all one of my favourite times of year (I must add it’s also the eurovision song contest, fan!). But for Asia maybe this wasn’t the best month. It was VERY hot and humid. Mostly cloudy, overcast and just very very humid. We were lucky with the rain, there was only 1 day where we actually had to scatter back to the hotel in evening as we were soaked through. But mainly, the humidity, I understand its better to visit a little earlier, in April maybe??
Money: Vietnamese Dong or US Dollars! Vt Dong is quite hard to get hold of out of Vietnam, so we took all in Dollars and kept changing it there or even paying in USD. If you pay in Dollars and need change back they will pay you in Vietnamese Dong, so this is another way to get local currency. Obviously, the exchange rate changes depending on where you are but generally 22k Dong is around 1$. I know, crazy, it does take a while to get used to it.
Travel: We booked the flights to Vietnam back in November 16 (trip in May 17) so we were able to get a good deal with Emirates from Gatwick for just under £400 return flying into HCMC (south) and back from Hanoi (North) with a 2/3 stop in Dubai each way. On the wat back, Emirates do not fly Hanoi-Dubai direct, there is an extra 1 hour pick up stop in Mianmar, you don’t even leave the plane, it’s just to pick people up and then fly on to Dubai.
I had never flown with Emirates, everyone had highly recommended it, and I have got to say it seemed a great airline. Staff were great and very attentive. Nice clean planes, lots of good inflight entertainment. Would recommend and re-use myself.
Itinerary: 13 night trip starting from the south (Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon) and flying back from Hanoi (North) with 2 internal flights in between with Vietnam Airlines which were pre booked.
- Flight London Gatwick – Dubai – HCMC
- HCMC 4 nights
- Flight to Da Nang – 2 nights in Hoi An
- Trip to Hue – 2 nights in Hue
- Flight from Hue to Hanoi – 2 nights in Hanoi
- Trip to Halong bay – 1 night on junk cruise
- Last 2 nights in Hanoi
- Flight from Hanoi – Mianmar – Dubai – London Gatwick
Did quite a few day trips from each place but will detail this in each post!
That’s it for now, a short post, but hopefully will finish my trip ones soon. Took so many photos, it´s hard to get through them all!
Hope you are having a happy Sunday, the weather in Brighton today is terrible, but can’t complain as thinking of the poor victims of #hurracaneIRMA
Lucy – TMS x