Vietnam 15 days - Day 1
Arrive in Hanoi the capital of Vietnam, no words can describe this place and we are stopping in the chaotic old quarter for just two days, visiting Ho Chi Minh complex, Tran Quoc pagoda and more, to say being thrown into the deep end of Vietnam life is understatement, but it’s a positive experience I absolutely fell in love with Hanoi, the people, food and Hanoi chaos is something else and the egg coffee is a must try!
Day 3-4 Halong Bay
After Hanoi the peace and stunning scenery of an overnight stay on Tonkin Cruise boat was breathtaking this is what drone photography was made for the 1000 island dotted everywhere you look, we hired kayaks and went round island and discovered the local fisher communities, this place was truly experience watching the sun go down while have cocktails on the deck, following morning it was drone up at 5.30 and the ready for Tai chi on the boats sun deck, exploring the Thein Cann Son cave before sailing back to port and return for a night back in Hanoi
Day 5 Hanoi - Hoa Lu Ancient Capital - Van Long Reserve
After breakfast we took a private car, Nin Bing and visit ancient Hoa Lu temples, lunch in a local restraint and then took a bike ride to Van Long Nature Reserve and onto a bamboo rowing boat to explore towering limestone mountain peeks through rice paddies, just spectacular scenery, then onto our Hotel in Ninh Binh
Day 6 Ninh Binh - Temple - Nigh Train
Today we hired a moped for the rather extraordinary price £3.50 for the day to explore the great Ninh Bing area, what experience to ride through the city and into the stunning nature reserve we spent the day exploring we managed to find a ginormous temple Bai Dinh Temple in the Gia Ven District nearly killed us just walking round it was that big and the humidity was so draining but what a find!
9.45Pm we caught the nigh train to Hue, the aim was to sleep overnight and arrive in Hue City, well I closed my eyes but sleep wasn’t happening, we had a cabin but to say the train moved in every direction was understatement, we arrived at Hue 8.30
Day 7 Hue
Met by our guide of the train and straight to Hue ancient Citadel and Trang Tein Bridge the citadel was again on a large scale and very impressive, but the heat and lack of sleep we were both exhausted, and had afternoon of hotel rest and food and drink.
Day 8 Thein Mu Pagoda and Minh Maung Tomb
Nice breakfast then our guide picked us and we then took a boat along the Perfume River to visit the Then Mu Pagoda this was really interesting as this was where the famous monk who drove to Saigon in 1963 got out of his car sat crossed legged in the lotus position and set him self on fire, this ritual suicide was in protest against the anti-Buddest regime at the time and captured headlines around the world, and the monks blue car is on display here. I remember seeing this image and always carried the haunting image with me, and didn’t know what it was about until this day here at the temple.
Our guide then took us a short drive to where seven tombs were built for seven Nguyen Emperors and visited the tomb Minh Mang, fantastic architecture and beautiful gardens.
Day 9 Hue - Danang - Hoi An
Our driver picked us up after breakfast and we had scenic drive to Hoi An via Danang through some spectacular scenery stopped for the superb Vietnam coffee, and arrived in Hoi we are now in Hoi An for four days and for the first time we feel like we can relax from the the hectic non stop schedule that I had planned was full on like a whirlwind of places to see and do. We checked into our hotel that had a pool and served Long Island tea that was needed, then out for dinner in The beautiful latern filled streets of Hoi An.
Day 10 Hoi An
Guide picked us up for a walking tour of this ancient town and world heritage site, visiting Kwan Temple, Phuket Kiev Chinese Assembly Hall Tan ky old House and ended up in cultural show with local music and dance, then onto a boat to small village on the Thu Bon River, ended back at our hotel for a swim cocktail before out for dinner and to get a henna tattoo from a street artist.
Day 11 Hoi An - Rural Village
Picked up by our guide and a cycle through Hoi An and into the countryside and to a small village Cam Thanh, where we took a traditional bamboo boat and learnt traditional bamboo crafts I made a very useful bamboo ring, we then met local farmers and had a go at sewing and hoeing, then onto traditional cookery lesson where we made crispy Vietnam pancakes before sitting down to a traditional Vietnamese seven course lunch, then a cycle back to Hoi An, Pool Long Island tea and out for dinner. The restaurants in Hoi An are god very good, we didn’t have one bad meal in Vietnam everyday we ate out.
Day 12 Hoi An - beach day
Today was a relax day and took a free taxi to the the beach Bai Bin Cura and spent the day relaxing, I went paragliding thought i was going to die, and just a beautiful day with a bit Vietnam beach paradise a great lunch a few Long Island teas and sleep.
Day 13 Ho An - Danang
Our guide picked us up 8.30 off to see Han Market for Vietnam bargain, then a walk up to the impressive marble mountain with great views of the city, and seriously impressive the cave inside the mountain with sunlight streaming through onto a Cham Buddha, we then went to the Cham Museum housing the worlds largest collection of 7th to 15th century sculptures and artefacts.
The only somber part of the trip was 5th military museum covering the Vietnam war and finally finishing of the day at Linh Ung Pagoda with a very large towering lady Buddha overlooking the coastal city of Danang.
Day 14 Danang
Lazy morning and late breakfast and hire a motorbike for explore Denang have to say the past fourteen days it’s hard to think what we did each day, and to be honest Denang wasn’t great having spent four day days in the beautiful Town of Hoi An and now extremely tired very hot and new then end of the trip was here this was an odd day nothing really planned but explored the city on our bike.
Day 15 Danang - Saigon - Heathrow - Solihull
Breakfast out on the bike which we hired for two days at the cost £6.00 and spent a few hrs at the beach before returning to Denang international airport for an internal flight to Saigon, then transfer at Saigon to Heathrow to fly home pick up the car and drive to Solihull. Think we travelled for 24hrs then a cup of tea at home.
That was a trip, it was a shock being back to October English weather no humidity and not sweating and completely drenched within 5 minutes of being outside and shall I put the heating on, would I go again yes like a shot! I have only written a fraction of what we did this is the basics, the street food, restaurants, Hotels the coffee, people our guides we met, the places we visited all so very interesting and so very friendly it was such a culture difference but in such a good way.
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