So I have returned from my two week adventure in Vietnam and to say that the depression is real is an understatement! I didn’t really blog much while I was away as wanted to spend time with my sister along with fully emersing myself in the Vietnamese culture.
I’ve decided to write this summary blog of the best bits, the dodgy aspects (not that I can think of any!!) and to provide some useful advice for anyone wishing to make the journey to this beautiful country.
I have only visited two countries in South East Asia; Thailand and Vietnam but by a long mile, Vietnam comes out trumps! Vietnamese people are so friendly and even when they don’t speak English they try their best. I always feel ignorant when I travel to places where English isn’t their first language and try to learn a few simple phrases to show we try! Unfortunately, this time I only learned to say “Cam On”; Thank You” and when pronouncing sounds like Gammon”!
If anyone is looking for a chilled out, scenic place to visit with little western tourists, Danang is the top pick! The third largest city in Vietnam, I have to say it’s amazing. Yes I am biased as haven’t visited anywhere else in Vietnam but even my sister who is well travelled and been to Vietnam before agreed with this. You get the most beautiful beaches (way better than the ones in Hoi An), breath taking views from Lady Buddha or even roof top bars and a city with a bridge that breathes fire! But be quick to arrange a visit as there is some serious construction underway and I am sure over the next 5-10years, the face of Danang will change completely and tourism is going to explode!
Miles of beautiful sand and sea ❤️
It took me about 5-7 days to adjust to Vietnam and just when I was relaxing and enjoying it, it was time to go home!! I described my first few days as a complete assignation on all my senses!!! To be taken out of my comforts of the Western World and to be dropped into a developing country/ one that has different ways of living is tough! Sanitation and hygiene standards are one’s that always get me with rubbish regularly sprawled across footpaths! Along with seeing the occasional rat run around is the norm and luckily I only clapped eyes on 2! To be fair, I saw a lot more rats in the underground when I lived in London! The humidity was an utter killer and often stole my breath and energy. Daily I swallowed a rehydration drink and would recommend anyone heading to this side of the world to equip yourself with these bad boys!!!
Take a trip to a local market…..an experience not to be missed!
I love food more than anything so tried my best to try as many new and Vietnamese foods. Luckily my sisters partner is a chef so that took the dramas out of selecting places to eat! And with his help, I allowed myself to be a bit more foodie adventurous! My favourite’s include Cau Lao which is noodles (yum yum)! Also got to try Sabu (Japanese noodles……my ultimate fav!) and divulged into some Pad Thai (Thailand noodles). Fresh Vietnamese spring noodles are utterly devine and even ventured to trying bubble seaweed!!! And having a Banh Mi is a must although I ate so many I turned myself off them!!
Finger licking good!
Normally I stuff my face with fruit but found their fruits to be super sweet that I could eat them! Did try some mango from a market stall and definitely a lot tastier than the stuff we get at home!
Coffee, coffee, coffee……need I say anymore!! As I write this, my mouth waters thinking of all their scrumptious coffee…..iced black or milk, coconut, egg…..the list is endless! If you are a coffee addict, Vietnam is your supplier to feed your needs!!!
Coconut Iced Coffee…… absolute delish!
I now have a complete addiction to lanterns and never seen so many pretty and colourful ones as I saw in every nook and cranny in Vietnam! Every shape and size, they make me smile and allowed me for a change to enjoy the simple things in life!
I struggled to find my favourite picture of these tiny delights!
Mopeds are as common here as cars are at home and honestly never seen so many in my life, often a cohort of them zipping by like a swarm of bees! As for trying to cross the road……well that is a death sentence in itself!! My sister regularly had to take me by the hand to help me dodge them and get across in one piece!!! They also use their horns ALOT!! Normally I would use the car horn when I couldn’t swear at some eejit on the road but seemingly they do this in a polite way to let you know they are coming or behind you! I didn’t brave a moped while I was there; mostly because my sisters partner wouldn’t let us as thought we would be a complete shit show on one!!!
A rarity of only a couple of mopeds in sight!
Make sure to experience a train journey while there! We took the train to Hue with a 4:30am start for almost a 4 hour trip. We got a sleeper carriage there and a normal seat on the way back……wasn’t as bad as I potentially thought and it’s a great way to see the rural side of Vietnam! My sister informs me that I was lucky and had a good experience/relatively high standard compared to what she has experienced……I can’t even write here what she has seen on the trains!!!!
Our lovely cabin!
I honestly could write a book of Vietnam but I’ll quit while I am ahead as this blog in itself is like an essay!
Let me leave you with one thing………the advice of visiting Vietnam is a must and should be placed high in ranking on your travel bucket list! I know I will return to Vietnam in the future to explore the north and south of the country like I did with the middle bit!
Vietnam, it’s been awesome! Thank you Carmen and Byron for showing me what this beautiful country has to offer……I will be back! I have so many amazing photos but can’t fit them on here……. if you fancy a peek go to my instragam stories at jen.st.john to give your eyes and soul a bit of pleasure!
Sisters…… one of my favourite snaps!