When you travel independently in Vietnam, you'll find a brilliant blend of frenetic cities, untouched countryside and island hideaways. A sense of faded colonial grandeur still lingers in the cities, with wide boulevards and narrow alleyways packed with cyclos. During your Vietnam trip, you'll discover mountain villages, bright green terraced rice paddies, huge limestone columns rising up from misty waters and idyllic tropical beaches. The Vietnamese people have big personalities, and will welcome you into their country with great warmth.
- 1. Emmas Trip To Vietnam North to SouthwithVietnam Travel Plan
2. Vietnam AirlinesVietnam Airlines introduced a direct route from LondonGatwick to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city in December2011, making it a quick and easy flight to nip over to Vietnam.The flight to Hanoi takes around 10.5hrs and to Ho Chi Minh:13.5. The flights were pretty good- on time and good service. The food options include both Asian and Western meals. There is adequate leg room and both flights were only half full so we had three seats between two of us which was splendid. We got picked up at Hanoi airport and driven to our first hotel (about 30min away). 3. Hanoi- Hotel 4. Hanoi HotelNice Hotel, we stayed in a superiorroom which was great, very big, darkwood furniture and a massive bed andTV and fridge with mini bar.Had a hair dryer and US powerpointsLarge wardrobe and robes andslippersWater took a while to heat up but thisis typical of showers in SE. Asia.Staff were very friendly and happyto help- even when I broke the key inthe door and they had to wrench thelock offWhen we arrived back from HalongBay they upgraded us to a VIP roomwhich was even bigger (maybe cos Ibroke the other one?) 5. Hanoi- what to do?The hotel is based in the old quarter- a reallynice area full of small shops, street marketsand street food.The weather wasnt great, overcast anddrizzly (end Jan), and around 10 degrees- bringlayers!We organised a tour locally for our first fullday, it was $30 and included transport (with10 others) to two pagodas, Ho Chi MinhMausoleum, a trip to the museum of VietnameseEthnic minorities, and lunch. All entrance feeswere included and the tour guide was excellent.To go when they were celebrating TET (newyear) was amazing as there was a real feel ofexcitement in the air, and lots ofincense/flowers/activities going on. 6. Hanoi-Halong BayThis trip was definitely a highlight.You get picked up a your hotel around 8amand get driven in air-con minibus with otherpeople to Halong Bay (around 4 hours).You have a stop at a place that sells artetc. made by disabled Viet people.You can get snacks (v ) and go to the loo (orHappy house!).Once you arrive at Halong Bay you go to awaiting area and then they take you on alittle ferry to your Junk Boat.Once on the boat you have a set lunch- 3course and all incl. Drinks are pricedseparately.Caves- really nice surprise and atmospheric.Viewpoint- good to take pics, steep climbthough. 7. Hanoi to Hoi An Took an internal flight to Hoi An, just over a hour. Took a taxi to Hoi An- took about 40 minutes and cost 350,000 Dong (around $17.50/ 12)Hotel about 8 minute walk to the town centre. Lovely Hotel, room overlooked tropical gardens/rice paddies and swimming pool. Big room, great bathroom, mossie net, tv, wifi (in lobby) and small balcony. Lots to do in Hoi An, cooking classes (can book when there, cycling, boat trips, shopping, tailors and cobblers, great food etc etc. Very holiday feel to the place, friendly people. 8. Hoi An to Buon MaThout (via NhaTrang)Our flight was cancelled to Buon ma Thout, sore-routed us to fly to Nha Trang, and thenorganised a driver to take us the 5/6 hoursup to the central highlands & Lak Lake.Usually you would take an afternoon flight toBuon ma Thout and drive an hour to the lake.Scenery on the drive was great.Lake is very picturesque, resort is quietrustic, but as you are in the middle of nowherethere are not a lot of options!Room includes mossie net, aircon, and wifi.You WILL need strong insect repellent as youare right by the lake. 9. Day 1: Elephants & dug out boat trip 10. Buon MaThuot- WaterfallsThe waterfalls are about two hours from Lak Lake (1 hour to Buon Ma Thuot, 1 hour out of the city). 11. Buon MaThuot to NhaTrangDrive back from Buon Ma Thuot waterfallstook about 6 hours. Had lunch about 4.30 inNha Trang. Then got taken hotel which wasvery central and 5 mins from the beach.Hotel was really nice, big and clean with abalcony overlooking the city. Had aspa, restaurant and a rooftop pool andjacuzzi (both small). Nice bathroom!I recommend the sailing club, its right on thebeach straight down from the hotel and doesace food and cocktails, has a really laidback funky vibe, and a pool table!Breakfast was a big buffet with Asian andWestern choices.Coastal town with lots to do, quiet butmassive beach and lots of excursions tomonkey island, local waterfalls etc. wouldhave liked to spend a whole day thereexploring. 12. NhaTrang to Palm IslandPalm island is THE BEST.About a 80 min drive from NhaTrang,about 20 minute ferry crossing to theisland.About 22 bungalows, (ours was a familybeachfront) which meant we had a dbland two single beds and a big wet room.Small sandy area outside where you cansunbathe, but the sea is about threeskips from your door.Bungalow is basic, but was my favouriteaccommodation- we shared it with lots oflittle lizards!Friendly French guy runs it, he gave us amap and told us of all the things to do e.g.snorkelling/walking/eating. Most ofstaff are local Viet people. Very friendly& helpful. 13. Food is good, a fusion of French andVietnamese- you get 3 meals a day and themenu is set (although you can make smallchanges if you wish).The water is very clear and nice for swimmingYou can organise dives at the dive school onthe island, or rent snorkels, windsurfy stuffand suchlike.They do boat trips out around the bay atsunset.I wish I had stayed 3 or 4 nights.One thing to mention- the walk around theisland is a bit crazy- you have to burrowthrough a lot of thickets and there are somesteep hills so not advisable for the elderly orinfirm. However there are some prettybutterflies. 14. Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh& Home Left about 10am and took ferryand drive back to Nha TrangAirport (all included)Flew to Ho Chi Minh, and had quitea long wait at the airport (about 7hours. You can only check your bagsin at 7pm but they do have luggagestorage so you could pop into thecity.)Took night flight back to Gatwickabout 11.30pm.A brilliant taste of Vietnam!