Vividly Vietnam

20 December 2012

Flight Centre’s very own Corporate Brands Marketing Manager recently enjoyed ten days travelling through Vietnam.  Here she talks about her experience and the highlights of her trip.

 

I travelled to Vietnam with On the Go Tours and found it the best way to experience this fascinating destination.  Not only was it easier to overcome the language barrier but our guide took us to hidden places I might not have experienced on my own.  Our guide, Cuong, had fought in the War as one of the Viet Cong.  His experiences provided a great insight into how much the country had endured and the amazingly positive attitude of its people.

 

Vietnam Vietnam

We started our journey with two days in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.  I got a really great vibe here.  It’s a beautiful city with tree lined boulevards and a lovely French quarter but the streets are what make it unique.   Packed with motorcycles and scooters and lined with vendors selling everything from colourful toys to metal kitchen supplies the streets are a very crazy organized chaos.

 

From Hanoi it was a short 3 hour bus ride to Halong Bay where we stayed on-board a boat for a night.  The limestone cliffs that characterise the bay and the emerald waters are striking.  Also seeing the traditional floating villages was incredible. However, the highlight of my entire trip was watching the sun rise over the bay followed by a Tai Chi class on the deck of our boat.  You could listen to the birds chirp and see the water sparkle in the morning sun.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Back in Hanoi, we hopped a short flight to the Imperial City of Hue.  Although much of the city was destroyed as a result of the war, restoration projects are slowly reviving the city.  Here we enjoyed a lot of amazing food.  The ingredients were so fresh and I found the dishes to be better than in any of the Far East destinations I have previously explored.

War Museum War Museum

 

From Hue, our journey continued to the South with a scenic drive to Hoi An where we spent another three nights.  With colourful lanterns lining the streets, the city is transformed into a fairy-tale kingdom at night.  If I can offer any advice it would be to save your shopping budget for Hoi An.  The city boasts amazing tailor shops that can make you something from dozens of samples and fabrics or even right out of a magazine.  The staff is friendly, the quality is excellent and the prices were insanely cheap! I would highly recommend having something made here.

 

We finished our tour in Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon.  In this city we visited the War Remnants Museum which offered a disturbing look into the horrors of war.  We also spent some time visiting the underground Cu Chi tunnels where Vietnamese soldiers hid, sometimes for years, to surprise attacking troops.

From the city we also travelled to the Mekong Delta where we got a better taste of rural Vietnamese lifestyles.

 

Vietnam was an incredible experience that will always stay with me.  If you enjoy discovering exotic new places and seeing the world from a different perspective then Vietnam should definitely move to the top of your travel list.

 

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