First of all let me say, I know not everyone has the privilege of traveling for long periods of time but if your going to go for a two week trip I suggest you either be prepared to fit a lot in like we did or to stay in one or 2 areas and plan another Vietnam trip to tackle the rest. Our trip was beyond amazing but we barely had a chance to rest as we were consistently moving and normally I go places for a longer period of time to avoid this but this was the time frame we had. Still without a doubt it was beyond amazing!
Lets talk FLYING – We flew Vietnam Air which operated our flights under China Air. Flight was great and no problems whatsoever. The only thing is we accidentally put Niko’s middle initial instead of spelling out his entire middle name and they didn’t accept that so we had to pay $100 for an emergency day of Visa for him even though I had already had our visa paid online for $30 each way ahead of time. That was also pretty stressful to do right before our flight as well..thank goodness we got there early. We actually scored an entire row to ourselves woo!
Day 1 : We arrived in Ho Chi Minh and literally got dropped off in the middle of the street (it was pretty funny) and we finally found our air Bnb. One thing to NOTE is its most recommended to stay in district 1 of Ho Chi Minh as that’s the most popular touristy area. We didn’t realize how loud it was at night and our air Bnb didn’t have any reviews on this crazy enough. It was SO loud. The clubs and bars and what not stay open VERY late like 5/6am so when looking at stays I would check for reviews about how loud it is.
Anyways Night 1 we did a tour with Street Food 101 and it was AMAZING! They picked us up on motorbikes and it was a small group about 6 people total and they took us to all the best street food in Ho Chi Minh. We had about 6 different meals and we were so full at the end. It all tasted amazing, the guide was great and it really just felt like a fun and local experience. My boyfriend loved that I had planned that! This is us with our guide below.
Day 2: We woke up for a flight on Vietnam Airlines at 5am and flew to Da Lat (it was about an 1 hr flight) Da Lat is known as the Paris of Vietnam a very romantic town with a French influence. We stayed at the Farm’ily Homestay which was so cute with chickens and dogs and they grow their own strawberries there. We rented a motorbike from the owner and she gave us lots of recommendations.
We had coffee at UP Coffee where you can have a really nice view of most of Da Lat, stopped at Youth Tea House (a super cute tea shop) and ate lunch at Chalet DaLat which was one of my favorite places we ate. I loved the spicy lemongrass chicken with the balsamic salad and mint tea. I’m a sucker for mint tea. After lunch we went to Crazy House which is hard to explain but you can see some of the pictures below it’s definitely an interesting experience. We then went to a Instagram worthy place called “Stairway to Heaven” it’s essentially a staircase that looks like it’s going up into the clouds and you just need to buy something at the coffee shop. It’s a cute place to hangout as well. I posted a couple photos below. Then we went to Linh Phuoc Pagoda (temple) and it was sooo beautiful and worth it, we spent hours there! After we motorbiked to K’obe Pizza and BBQ, it’s not touristy and a little bit out of the city but it’s amazing Vietnamese pizza and we had mashes potatoes too. A wonderful family owns it and they were all so sweet and everything is from local farms nearby.
Day 3- We woke up at 6am and went to Quan Hen and this was m favorite Vietnamese breakfast, we ate rice noodles with chicken and Niko had meatball and bread. It was so yummy and warming as Da Lat is very cold. Then we walked to Bittersweet Coffee where we had a delicious cup of Vietnamese style coffee. We then got picked up by Viet Challenge Tours (booked through trip advisor) to go to 3 waterfalls in Da Lat. First stop was a coffee plantation with time for coffee and photo ops, they also had weasel coffee there too. Then we went to a cricket farm where everyone got to eat crickets….I didn’t but Niko did. After we went off to Elephant Falls (this was my favorite because our guide took us all the way up to the falls and behind the falls) and then we went to this beautiful Hindu Statue and had lunch which was a full chicken (I’m talking head, feet, everything, and a rice stick.)After lunch we went to the last two waterfalls – Pongour Falls and Prem Falls. When we came back we were starving so we walked to Mo the BBQ for dinner, it was Korean bbq style.
Day 4- We flew Vietnam Airlines to Da Nang. Da Nang was my favorite because it has the beach right there, and the cutest cafes and coffee shops. It reminds me of what Bali was before bombarded with tourism. We stayed at the Pointe Boutique Hotel which was absolutely beautiful and I loved it and it included breakfast which was always super yummy. We rented a motorbike through the hotel and this day we went to Mi Quang and had local style noodles with chicken and then we had coffee at Trinh Coffee (forever my favorite coffee place) the avocado coffee I will seriously remember forever! I also loved the atmosphere so so much! We spent the afternoon walking along the beach during sunset.
Day 5- We woke up super early and went out to Ba Na Hills on our motorbike. This drive was unforgettable it was so beautiful especially when we were out of the city and it was barely anyone else and just rice fields and gorgeous greenery surrounding us. We went to the golden bridge and walked around and then we came back because we had to check out as we were heading to Hot An.
Afternoon, we took a cab to Hoi An and checked into the Estuary Villa and they offer a free shuttle to the center so we went into the center and walked around. This is the land of Custom Tailored places so I suggest you come here and order all you want because its super cheap and I was very impressed. I got a custom tailored dress and romper and I wish I would have bought more. We also walked all along the river and lit a lantern and made a wish and did the whole sea bang. We didn’t do a boat tour, I initially wanted to do but they ask you a million times left and right and It just kind of pushed me away from doing it but we walked along and it’s beautiful.
To be honest before the trip I read SO much about Hoi An but I felt like the center is great for shopping and lanterns no doubt but it’s also people every second left and right asking you to buy things and eat at their restaurants. I much preferred Da Nang which still had the beach but was very calm to me.
Day 6- Our hotel was walking distance to the beach which was perfect and they offered free breakfast every morning. We walked down to Hidden Beach and it was so nice after being cold in Da Lat. We laid our for a couple hours and the funniest part is that we thought we barely got tan (I barely did get tan) but Niko later that night had th worst sunburn of his life. I am going t0 post a photo below only because you have to see how beyond drastic this sunburn is.
After the beach, we went to coconut beach where we did the touristy coconut boat ride. Honestly it was super cheesy to me but it is fun if you have the extra time but I wouldn’t make it my must do. After we took the shuttle back into the center where we ate at Greek Mix restaurant and walked all around again, taking in our last night.
Day 7- We arranged a tour with our hotel to go to My Son temple which was a nice experience but I was super hot and dehydrated and Niko was sunburnt so we didn’t have the highest of energy. We got dropped off back at the center where we ate a local Bahn Mi place which was amazing and then we packed up and headed to the airport where we flew to Hanoi and checked into the Serene Premier hotel. This hotel was suggested to me by a friend.Our cab had a hard time finding it and ended up dropping us off at the wrong hotel so we were exhausted by the time we checked in. They were super helpful though and let us store our luggage to go on our Ha Long Bay overnight cruise the next day so that we didn’t have to bring our entire luggage with us.
Day 8- Ha Long Bay Cruise. We booked through Rosy Cruises. They picked us up in the morning in a Limo Shuttle which I was so happy I booked because I didn’t realize the ride was wayyy longer then I expected. When we got to the cruise they let us check in our rooms, we booked the honeymoon suite for my birthday and it was insane! I mean a private deck that overlooked the water, waking up and going to sleep to the view of Ha Long Bay and waking up that view was just incredible. During the day we went kayaking and it was one of the most peaceful incredible moments of my life. We had a huge lunch and then they had a sunset party for us where we learned how to make spring rolls and they got to enjoy a huge Buffet dinner too. During dinner they brought me out a birthday cake (like an entire cake and then sang to me and it was so touching. After dinner we all did squid fishing before going to sleep.
Day 9- We woke up the most beautiful view and it was just magical! They served us breakfast and then we had the option to go to Kong Island on a row boat which was so magical as well. It was so serene and just relaxing. When we came back we had lunch and then had to pack up and check out. We hopped back on the shuttle back to Hanoi where we picked up our luggage that was stored at the hotel. Then we hopped on a sleeper bus to Sapa. We booked the VIP Cabin bus by Saio Viet and I would HIGHLY recommend it. We each had our own bed with a curtain that fully closed. A lot of blogs recommended the train but we opted out of the train because it said travel time was longer so we have no idea if the train is a better experience. We got to our homestay at 1 am which wasn’t the best time to get there but they were so welcoming and got us all set up. We stayed at the Sapa Eco Homestay.
Day 10- We were going to do some trekking but we woke up to pouring rain and I mean HARD rain and sooo much fog so we ended up cancelling the trekking and we had breakfast at the homestay and then got dropped off into Sapa Center. Just be aware its normal for the local people to try and sell you things and then literally follow you and tell you that they will follow you. It freaked the heck out of my boyfriend and it was the funniest thing because he thought we were in serious danger at first because he saw a kid with an actual machete and thought we were going to be robbed and then we figured out that’s just what they say. Side note: Our homestay had the cutest puppies ever ever ever and I think that made the stay 10 times better than it was .
When we went into town we ate Morning View restaurant and it was sooooo yummy! We got the Chicken curry that came inside of a coconut and we also got chicken and rice with coffee. We then walked around but it was so foggy that we honestly couldn’t see anything and then we picked up a pizza at Italian Corner (Sapa is known for their pizza) and went back to our homestay. In a way even though the purpose of going to Sapa was for the trekking that we couldn’t do, it was a nice night of rest and recovery for the rest of our trip.
Day 11- We woke up and the fog was cleared! This revealed such a beautiful view! We had our last breakfast at this homestay, packed up and to the taxi to the bus stop. Our bus wasn’t for a couple hours so we dropped off our luggage to the bus and then ate at cafe Gecko until our bus depart time. Now here is our biggest mistake of the trip. We booked a bus through Ha Son. The photos online and the description online made it look like it was a nice private cabin like the previous bus. This bus was NOT like that. It was tiny bed like seats that were completely open and the bus made about 100 stops and at each stop it would stop for 20 minutes or longer. Not only that but they only let you use the restroom at stops where you had to pay to go. On the website it was only supposed to be about 5-6 hours…well we were on the bus for TEN HOURS! I’m telling you don’t make this mistake. We arrived in Ninh Binh at 10:30 pm so our entire day and night was completely spent on this bus. We checked into Tam Coc Mountain Lake Homestay and passed out. We were just so happy to be off that bus, I truly thought Niko was going to kill me for booking that. It was a major lesson learned.
Day 12- We woke up and enjoyed breakfast at our homestay. They were so sweet. It’s a family owned homestay and from the moment you arrive they treat you as if you are part of their family. Tom Coc is referred to as the ha Long Bay on land so definitely a MUST!
Walking around and all the boats its just so magical. We rented a bike from the host and Nui Ngoa Long also known as The Lying Dragon Mountain and it was incredible! Then we enjoyed a massage at the Tam Con Lotus Spa (it honestly wasn’t the best massage so wouldn’t recommend)
Day 13- We had planned to wake up early to explore the underwater caves but the tour got cancelled as there was a huge rainstorm so we ended up waiting it out and walking around and exploring instead until our checkout time. It was hard to say goodbye to our host the family was truly amazing!
We took a transfer I booked online and barely made it to our flight. Transport in Vietnam is just a fun adventure ha! We flew VietJet Air back to Ho Chi Minh
Day 14 – Back in Ho Chi Minh, our place was incredible the bathroom was just a dream and there was a full on plant room. We were right across the street from a Pho place called Pho Hung where we ate at in the morning and it was SO good! We walked around Pho Di Bo But Vien also known as But Vien Walking Street and it is like the party street of Ho Chi Minh. We don’t party but highly recommend walking through just to witness it.
Day 15- We barely slept as we had a bat in our place which was a whole other adventure. We went on a tour to see the tunnels and history of the Vietnam War and then we did a tour on the Mekong Delta which was pretty cheesy but still I’m glad we did it! We ended up spending our last night walking around and enjoying an amazing dinner and then sitting outside at a street coffee cafe and just watching all the cars and people and just took it all in.
Hope you enjoyed this Vietnam Vlog! We now are currently in Portugal after traveling to so many countries! Comment this vlog and check out my YouTube Travel Vlogs for more info and content Youtube: Tiffany Leah
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