I fell in love with Vietnam from the beginning. The amazing level of service at my hotel, the friendly people, and the delicious food won me over. I’m already thinking of all the places I want to see on my 2nd trip to Vietnam!
Things that surprised me:
-There a ton of tourists from all over the world (my HaLong Bay Cruise had French, Dutch, Brazilian, Indian, Chinese, British, Spanish, German, and American passengers)
-It reminded me of 🇹🇬 Togo ( I nearly stepped on a charcoal cooking stove on the sidewalk, there was a woman scaling fresh fish on the street near my hotel, there were piles of trash outside the city, the brightly colored plastic chairs/stools, the cement & stucco building style of colonial era buildings, water storage tanks on buildings)
– The infrastructure is impressive for a country with a turbulent history- the roads in particular!
My Itinerary: (in case you are planning your own trip)
Day 1- Arrive in Hanoi, Explore the old city especially near the Hoan Kiem Lake if it is a Saturday or Sunday, take in a Water Pupper Show, and eat at Cau Go or Avalon (they are in the same building with a view of the lake)
Day 2- Cyclo Tour of the Old City, Walk out to Ho Tay & Tran Quoc, visit Ba Dinh Square, grab a Banh Mi sandwich for lunch and then treat yourself to a nap or a massage, try La Place near the cathedral for dinner, it is a fun area to explore
Day 3 & 4- Azalea Cruise of HaLong Bay ( definitely try the kayaking, but you could probably skip the evening squid fishing) You should get back to Hanoi in time for a little souvenir shopping and some Pho
Day 5- Write & mail your postcards and enjoy a final massage or facial or both!