TRAVEL DIARIES: VIETNAM

5 April 2018

I won't lie- in Vietnam there are a few places we went which I could have done without going to. In some ways I think doing Vietnam in a group tour was good as it's so big and understanding their transportation systems (aka their trains) can be confusing. We got the night train a lot and honestly, if it weren't for our tour guide we would have been fucked. They don't even announce the station you're arriving at, you just have to know somehow when it is the right stop. However, seeing the freedom of people who were travelling alone did make me slightly jealous. I met a few people out there who had rented motorbikes and were going round Vietnam on their bikes (which could also be taken on to coaches and stuff) which seemed amazing. They could travel through little villages and stop off at any place they fancied and take detours to see some amazing scenery. Although, despite this seeming preferable over long ass coach journeys, the roads of Vietnam were terrifying. I don't think I could ever understand their road system or if there even is a system. My friend saw two people on a motorbike with a giant ladder in between them, or sometimes we'd see people carrying a baby as they road their bikes and there just seemed to be no order. It was absolutely manic.

Vietnam was the country I felt most comfortable in, I'm not sure why as the people weren't overly friendly, but something about it just felt right.

ps- in Vietnam I went to: Can Tho (but I didn't see much as we stayed in a local village who have connections with G-Adventures) Ho Chi Minh City, Nah Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay and Hanoi. 


HO CHI MINH CITY

Let me tell you, Ho Chi Minh City roads are insane, in fact scrap the word roads because people drive on the pavement. Nowhere is safe. Other than that, Ho Chi Minh was fun- it reminded me of London in a way which was nice, it was comforting to have something that felt fairly familiar after the homestay. We just wandered around on the first day that we were there, I really wanted to go to the War Museum but by the time we arrived it was too late for us to go. I met some people who went though and they said it's a really good museum to go to, apparently it really helps you to understand the effects of Agent Orange and how devastating it was, with a more personal aspect as well. In Ho Chi Minh there's a big street food market place (where I got some banging cocktails) which reminded me of Camden and they also have a massive pub street- I didn't go out but the people who did had a wild time, to say the least.

We were only in Ho Chi Minh for two days, and on the morning of the second day we went to the Cu Chi Tunnels which was super interesting, 10/10 recommend going. It's definitely worth getting a tour guide there, otherwise I'm pretty sure it could easily feel as if you were just walking through a forest. It was strange, as our tour guide had been on the Americans side, and he would tell us the most violent, saddest stories and then would smile or laugh after- I guess laughter is better than tears in a way. At the Cu Chi Tunnels there's the chance to go through a tunnel that starts off small and gradually gets smaller and smaller until it's the size of the original tunnel. I went to go through the tunnel, but the size of the beginning was too small for my claustrophobic heart to handle so I just turned around and waited for them to finish climbing through. Apparently small was an understatement as to just how minuscule these tunnels were.


NAH TRANG

This place had a really pretty beach but other than that I don't have much to say. Some people went to a temple there that had a giant white Buddha, but I didn't go as I was pretty templed out at this point.



HOI AN


Now let me tell you, Hoi An was my favourite place of the entire trip and I think will forever be my favourite town in the entire world. It is small, it is quaint, it is beyond beautiful and endearing and I don't think anywhere could quite compete with the amount of charm the place has.  The buildings are painted with the most calming yellow colour and it just induced such strong feelings of happiness being surrounded by all the yellow, as well as having lanterns hung up across the little lanes that sparkled at night. I don't think it's possible to go to Hoi An and not feel in awe at the immense beauty and colour of the place. It's an effortless beauty though, some of the buildings are old but contain so much character. It's just an amazing place really, I wish I could describe it better.

There is a lot of shopping you can do there, cute little souvenirs, earrings- you name it. It is like a calm Brick Lane. I wish I could explain the vibe of the place, it is as if they have their own clock there and the days just stroll along. We went on a bike ride around the surrounding village and went in a coconut boat which was fun. We also went to a cooking class there. It was really busy for us as we were there for Chinese New Year, but it didn't interfere with the charm of the place. On one night we put lanterns in the river and it was just so beautiful, I couldn't get a photo but it was so pretty. Hoi An just felt like an entirely different world. They also have good night life, it's strange though as places aren't allowed to be open till a certain time but some clubs bribe the police to stay open longer so we just moved to one of the clubs that were open beyond 12am. There were a lot of tourists there which was nice and although they weren't mental nights out the alcohol haze definitely added something. I also watched the place wake up one morning as me and a friend stayed up and out all night just strolling around which was strange but also lovely. Although I did regret it when I returned home only to have three hours to sleep, pack and sort my life out before a super long coach journey. All in all it was a great place (a bit hard to find ice cream there though, that is my only complaint).

HUE


I won't lie, I found Hue a bit dead- you can go to the Imperial City which is cool. I'm only including Hue to tell a story about a lovely stranger that I met who made me feel excited to fall in love again, because let me tell you after going through a breakup I feared love due to the inevitable pain that would follow, but this guy reminded me of all the great parts of falling, and being, in love.

I was sitting outside on a balcony and this guy came outside (a very beautiful guy may I add) then went back inside and came back out with a chair. We sort of spent a few moments in silence then somehow a conversation sparked up. We spoke about TV shows, films and music and our lives back at home- the differences between growing up in Finland (where he was from) and the UK. There was nothing flirtatious, just friendly conversation with someone new. He then begun to tell me about his fiancé, who he had originally come outside to phone. When I said I'd go back in so he could phone her he said to stay, his fiancé would be there his entire life whereas conversations like this don't always happen. It was sweet, his confidence that his love would always be in his life (he was 21 as well, imagine knowing at 21 you had found the person to complete your life forever, even if there isn't a forever between them two, having that conviction and trust for however long must be a wonderful feeling) and also the fact that he was enjoying the conversation with me. It was strange but enjoyable just talking about everything with a complete stranger, I don't even know his name but I feel like that night we spoke about so many things and it is a moment I don't think I'll ever recreate. Meeting him didn't make me excited to fall in love, it was his pure, devoted love for his fiancé that sparked something in me, that made me realise the feeling of heartbreak is worth it for the intense happiness love can bring. I feel rude, sharing his engagement story so I will say it briefly. Near the beginning of their dating life, she told him she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, which unsurprisingly freaked him out. Then years went by and their relationship continued and he went travelling with a friend, and on FaceTime to her a few weeks he said he realised he needed to spend the rest of his life with this girl and so he proposed. My friends said it wasn't romantic or admirable at all that he proposed over FaceTime, but just something about the impulsivity of the initial proposal, not being able to contain the realisation that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her counteracts the lack of surface romanticism.  I have strange feelings towards marriage, but it's not really the proposal that got to me, just the fact his stars aligned and allowed him to realise how precious the love he has is and the fact that he can protect that love and spend time with the woman he loves. Also lads, don't even get me started on the way his face changed as he spoke about his fiancé, I never really knew what books meant by recognising love in someones eyes but ah. Ah! Love hey, who knew it could impact your life and your brain and your entire demeanour and perception and understanding of things in so many ways. I feel like seeing someone completely in love as well, makes you realise how much love can change a person- I would say I've been in love, but seeing someone else in love adds another type of appreciation for the feeling. Anyway, sap is over. Hue was boring other than that in my opinion, although we did sing karaoke which was fun.

HALONG BAY
I'm a fashion icon
Halong Bay was sort of the same as Hue in my opinion. It has potential though, and I reckon in a few years time it will be a great place to visit. We went on a boat trip and around caves which was interesting. Then me and two of my friends went to this theme park which was across the road from our hotel for a few hours for dinner and it was so surreal as the theme park was next to empty. We were the only ones on most of the rides, and would just sit there and ask to go again. It felt strange, but also very exciting. I never really thought I was a fan of theme parks, but going to one that felt empty created a separation between us and reality, sort of. We were surrounded by plastic dragons in a place created purely with the intention of generating happiness, so all in all it was a pretty great experience. Plus, we made it back in time for dinner.

HANOI
Oh Hanoi, Hanoi- I didn't explore this place as much as I should have. Mainly due to issues with timing. I don't have much to say about Hanoi as I missed the opening times of most of the places I wanted to go, so me and my friends aimlessly walked around one day and the next we all had a lie in (which was a rarity on this trip) then continued to wander around aimlessly. It was rainy the last day in Hanoi, it felt like a slightly unfamiliar London although I was grateful for the rain in a way as it meant I could put my rain jacket to use.

I wish I went to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature and the Ho Chi Minh Museum. It's so frustrating looking back on it and having regrets- but due to the nature of the tour, time in places couldn't be extended so I'm just hoping I get to go back one day.

Woah, and there is the majority of my Vietnam adventures! Vietnam is amazing and if you go, you just got to go to Hoi An. I don't even understand why I love it so much, but I just do. Anyway, peace out!

9 comments

  1. These photos are simply gorgeous xxx

    http://izzyk1998.blogspot.co.uk
    http://izzykreviews.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looking at these pics i just KNOW i need to go to Hoi An, it looks like a fantasy town with all those beautiful colours. The tour of the war tunnels sounds so fascinating and I love your story about meeting the Finnish guy and his portrayal of love. All the pictures vary so much between each place which is really interesting,that first photo in Ho Chi Minh city could almost be in Western Europe. I love hearing about your trip, giving me wanderlust!x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the first photo low key reminds me of Barcelona! And Nah Trang looks like LA, it's so weird. Ah honestly, writing these posts up just makes me want to go travelling again, bloody money and obligations

      Delete
  3. I've never really been a 'travel girl' but after reading this post and seeing so many people go travelling this year its making me wanna at least go and explore new places!!! xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love, love reading your travel posts!! Hoi An looks incredible and the story about the Finnish guy is so beautiful, I cant wait to go travelling and meet new, exciting people. Lovely writing as always gal. xox
    www.lexiealexandra.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. so interesting hearing all about your travels (and it makes me jel lol)!! I don't know if ill ever go travelling in the 'gap year' style as such, but I defo want to go visit Vietnam at some point now!

    Tasha x
    lovefromtasha.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  6. Vietnam seems beautiful! Loved reading this travel post :)

    venus | http://venusaby.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am lowkey stalking your blog right now and I am obsessed with this post! I am traveling to Singapore, Vietnam, and Hong Kong in May and I am so excited! I still have to do some research about all the places I am going, but your post made me even more interested in Vietnam. Can't wait to see more!
    xx
    Christina Madeleine/ http://www.thisfashiongirl.com/

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting! I read them all and try my best to always reply x

Latest Instagrams

© Libby-Jade. Design by FCD.