A Vietnam adventure part 2
Here is the second part to our Vietnam adventure. If you read the first instalment to my mini Vietnam adventure series – thank you and sorry I took so long to post this one. If you haven’t read the first one yet you can do so by clicking here
How long- 1 day
Da Nang was the only place that we wasn’t 100% sure wether to visit. We were very limited with our time and the weather in Da Nang wasn’t looking promising. However, the golden hand bridge was just too good to miss. We arrived in Da Nang in the morning and headed straight for Ba Na Hills. This place was like a real life Jurassic Park (minus the live dinosaurs). It was surreal. From the cable car up to the golden hand bridge and then the tobaggans- it was a rushed but fun filled day.
Train to Hué
We hoped to catch an afternoon train to Hué but all the day time ones were sold out. Although we didn’t see much of the views I did meet a lovely local lady who I chatted with the entire train journey (3hours). I learnt a few things about Vietnam and also got gifted some grapes. It was a beautiful journey. If you’re reading this Shelley, it was a pleasure to meet you and thanks again for the grapes 🙂
Tip- Ensure you book your train tickets in advance. You can book them with your hotel or online. Tickets cost 110,000 pp.
How long- 2days (1 night)
All my brother talked about was that “Hué has the best food, vegan food this, traditional food that, we have to go here.” We’re all glad we listened though because the food was some of the best we had in Vietnam. If you’re a foodie then Hué is a must visit. We ate at Nook eatery and it was incredible. Lots of veggie and vegan food.
We didn’t only eat though, we also visited The Imperial City and risked a trip to the abandoned water park. We actually got in! It may or may not have included bribing a guard, which I wouldn’t normally do but this place was a must see. There are also a lot of stories regarding wether the guards are actually genuine, you may want to research this yourselves. The water park was an epic place and really grateful that we got to see it.
A cock up in Tam Coc
How long- 2 days
Of all the sleeper buses, the one to Tam Coc was the worst. The driver was very rude and aggressive which was actually hilarious but soo frustrating. He drove insanely fast, beeped all night (any plans to sleep went out the window) and then shook and shouted to wake us up and to get off the bus. As we got off to sort our bags I saw him storm up the bus shouting at Max to hurry up. The worst but most funny bus experience. When things go wrong you just got to laugh, right?
Not only that, the bus arrived in Tam Coc 4 hours before it was meant to arrive. We were stranded in the pitch black village, super tired and restless, until a lovely man took us into his hotel and arranged a lift to our hotel. THANK YOU lovely man!
If you thought that was all, just wait…
We got to our hotel and was locked out, cold and exhausted. We rang and rang until the owner came to our rescue. Our rooms weren’t ready which meant we slept on mattresses on the floor with the kind owners pet dog- Voy and his cat who we named Russel. It seems that cats don’t get named much in some of the Asian countries we’ve visited. If they do, 8 times out of 10 they’re called Kitty or Puss.
What we did in Tam Coc
Once we felt more human, we rented scooters for the first time in Vietnam. (Only place we felt safe to do so. Have you seen the traffic in most parts of Vientnam?) We randomly drove around Tam Coc and was wowed by the scenery. We watched the sun go down behind the mountain tops. It was magical. The next day we went on more scooter adventures, including a trip to Mua Caves and Bich Dong temple. These were our favourite moments in the whole of Vietnam.
Fun Fact- There are 12.5 million people living in Saigon, 7.5 million of them ride scooters.
How long- 2 days
From Tam Coc we got a taxi which took around 2 hours to get Hanoi. It usually takes roughly 1.5 hours but the traffic was particularly crazy that day. We definitely didn’t have long enough to explore Hanoi but we did get to explore the many streets, including train street which was bizarre, yet amazing. The one evening we had there was spent sat outside one of Hanoi’s cool bars with a few beers whilst chatting and people watching.
Ha Long Horror
The one place we were all excited for and imagined to be one of the highlights of our trip was Ha Long Bay. How far from the truth did it turn out to be. Our alarms were set for sunrise and the taxi to Ha Long Bay cost $50 per person for the return. We figured it’d be worth it. Once we got to Ha Long we were STARVING and for the life of us we could not find anywhere to eat that was vegan or even vegetarian. This resulted in the 4 of us being considerably hangry which as you can imagine is never good. We planned to hike Bai Tho Mountain which on arrival, we found out was closed and impossible for us to access unless we fancied getting impaled by some serious spikes fences. We gave up and all felt fed up, wishing we stayed and explored Hanoi instead.
A happy outcome in Ha Long?
As a last hope we went to the harbour hoping to go on a Ha Long Cruise in one of the locals little boats. RESULT! Someone wanted to take us out on their boat. We all felt relieved and the moment we managed to shakily get onto the boat we were all asked to get off. What the hell was happening?! From what we made out the local was trying to tell us there was police which left us super confused. Thankfully, someone else saw what happened and offered to take us all out. We set off to explore the beautiful islands of Ha Long Bay- finally!
However, all wasn’t as it seemed, the two lovely old ladies who we thought saved the day managed to pull the wool over our eyes. The lasted not even 10 minutes and they expected $$$ We were so annoyed that they scammed us we got off the boat and try to explain that it was not what we agreed for the price. They yelled and made hand gestures so we all thought it was best to go. We all felt bad for not paying but they try to scam us. As we walked up the beach we noticed they were chasing us so we had to run away. That day was just horrific but I can’t help but laugh at the scenario now. Sometimes, things going wrong make for the best stories to tell.
Sad to say goodbye
Our 2 week trip in Vietnam was an absolute adventure. We managed to see so much in a short space of time but we only just scratched the surface. If you are planning to explore Vietnam doing a similar route I’d recommend at least 3-4 weeks to really take it all in. Vietnam is a fabulous country and I hope to return one day.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my Vietnam adventure. I don’t usually write about my personal experiences in the places I’ve explored but this trip was particularly special because I got to travel with my brother and Alice for the first time. If you enjoyed this mini series please let me know and maybe I could share more of my journey with you 🙂
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Click here for a guide to travelling Vietnam