5 awesome things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam

1. Β Take a free bike tour

The free tour is arranged by Vietnamese students that need to practice their English, and this is a great way to do exactly that! They will bring you through rice fields, visit the outer parts of the town and learn how they make some types of local food. Its is a great experience!

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2. Stroll around the Old Town

The Hoi AnΒ΄s Unesco Old Town is nothing else but magical, especially at night. When the sun sets, all the lanterns light up the streets and the old town turns into something completely spectacular, with a romantic and peaceful atmosphere. There are loads of restaurants everywhere you see, all from traditional Vietnamese to fusion food.

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Vietnamese handicraft

You also cannot miss the Vietnamese handicraft shops or the famous lantern shops. Everyone is so kind, and its just really fun to explore all the small, cozy shops πŸ™‚

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The Japanese Bridge

The bridge was built by the Japanese community who where situated in Hoi An, as they wanted to create better links with the Chinese quarters of town. They decided the best way to do this was to build a bridge that would cross the river, bringing the two sides together. The bridge is only crossable by foot, and its a great place for photographs.

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Shop at the Hoi An Market

The bustling Hoi An market is packed with people at all times and offers an excellent choice of food at very low prices. This is the place to pick up souvenirs, taste the local cuisine, pick up spices and explore the fish market.

3. Get a tailor-made suit or dress

One of the most popular things to do in Hoi An is to get a tailor-made suit or dress. Why? It is ridiculously cheap!

There are so many tailors in hoi An, and it can get quite confusing when choosing which you would like to go for. Tuong Tailor was recommended to us by our hotel, and I could not have been happier that we chose them! I decided to go for a suit, and it cost me about USD 150.

And yes – you don’t have to carry it with you through your travels. Send it home via Vietnamese post by boat or by plane – it only depends on that you would like to pay and how fast you want it πŸ™‚

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Source: Incredible Asia Journeys

4. Take a day trip to The Golden Hands Bridge and Bana Hills

Located about 45-minutes from Hoi An, Da Nang is a bigger city. The city is famous for its Marble Mountains, great beaches, and a surfing scene. The city is popular among foreigners living here. We didn’t spend any time exploring the centre of Da Nang, but instead we spent a day at the Ba Na Hills Resort!

Ba Na Hills is a mountaintop resort complex that looks like a medieval castle, and is actually one of the newest projects in Vietnam. It has become a major tourist destination the last couple of years with unique projects such as Ba Na Cable Car, the French Village, the Love Garden ++. And let me tell you – the cable car ride alone is worth the trip!

More about:Β The Golden Bridge and Ba Na Hills

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5. A Lantern tour on the Hoai River

When in Hoi An you should absolutely enjoy 20 minutes onboard a wooden boat in the evening, releasing lanterns in the Hoai River. Touristy yes, but still a lovely memory!

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The Golden Bridge

Okey, so if you find yourself in Hoi An, you simply must include a visit to Ba Na Hills and The Golden Bridge. It kept on coming up in conversations with locals when we asked where they’d recommend visiting. From our tour guide in Ho Chi Minh to a travelling priest on top of a rock, everyone told us that Ba Na Hills couldn’t be missed.

And, for the first time in a long time, the reality met the recommendation.

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We got picked up at our hotel by our private driver around 8am, and began the 2-hour drive to Ba Na Hills (which is located approx. 20km outside of Da Nang).

You have three options of getting to the park:

1. Local taxi

2. Private driver (we opted for this alternative)

3. Renting a scooter for the day

Ba Na Hills is a mountaintop resort complex that looks like a medieval castle, and is actually one of the newest projects in Vietnam. It has become a major tourist destination the last couple of years with unique projects such as Ba Na Cable Car, the French Village, the Love Garden ++. And let me tell you – the cable car ride alone is worth the trip.

Pro Tip: bring a jacket! Its always windy at the top πŸ™‚

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I was super excited to see what everyone was roaming about: The Golden Bridge. And oh my, what an amazing sight that met us at the end of our cable car ride! Total loss of words.

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Turned the camera around for selfie time, and BOOM – the sun was gone and misty fog had taken its place on the mountain top.

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After walking back and forth across the bridge, taking what felt like a million photos, we decided to follow the crowd further into the park. And yes, I am not going to lie: you need to prepare for hordes of people.. And the food. Really not the best we have had.

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Once you have had enough of the park, you may catch one of the other cable cars, taking you further up the mountain. This is where it starts to get chilly by the way, so grab that jacket of yours. And if youΒ΄re like me, who didn’t bring a jacket, you can always purchase a scarf at one of the overpriced(!) souvenir shops πŸ™‚

The top of the Mountain is referred to as “Sun World”, and is a mix between restaurants, food stalls, beer tasting places, different games etc. I wasn’t a huge fan of this specific area, and we didn’t spend too much time here either (which I was very happy about, seeing that I was freezing to death at this point).

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On our way down the hills, we met up with our driver who took us back to Hoi An and our Hotel.

All in all, it was a spectacular day and I am so happy we got to see the Golden Bridge πŸ™‚


 

Hoi An, our favorite place in Vietnam

I fell in love with Hoi An the second we arrived with the sleeper bus. It was something about the quietness and peacefulness that just got to me.

We arrived at 5am, an hour before our original arrival time. Once we had gotten our bags we jumped on the back of two scooters who took us to our accommodation for the next two nights, Zen Villa Hoi An.

This was actually where we learned to agree on the price before using a service such as tuk tuk, taxi or scooters. They tried to rip us of big time, charging us 5 times more than usual!

As mentioned above, we stayed at Zen Villa Hoi An. This ended up being my favorite hotel in Vietnam! The service was absolutely fantastic, and Mr. Thuong went out of his way to ensure we had a wonderful stay during our time. Big thanks to him! πŸ’•

Source: Booking.com
Source: Hotels.com
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Source: Booking.com
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Source: Booking.com

If you find yourself in Hoi An I can highly recommend this property ☺️ It is truly a wonderful place to stay!

Our day started with borrowing two super charming bicycles and venturing down to the old quarter looking for lunch. Once we had charged our batteries with yummy food, the shopping maraton started. I think we bought all of the Christmas gifts needed in Hoi An (and yes, there is a post office so that you may ship everything home).

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How to get from Nha Trang to Hoi An

When traveling from Nha Trang to Hoi An, you basically have two options; flying or taking one of the sleeper buses.

If you are on a budget I would recommend taking the bus as it is the cheapest option. It takes approx. 11hours and the price is VND 250.000 pp (USD 10).

It is also worth mentioning that you could get super cheap flight tickets as well, price varying from VND 550.000 – 950.000 pp (USD 20 – 50).

I had read a couple of hundreds bad reviews about the sleeper buses, so I don’t know exactly why I ended up choosing that option, but still.. it is quite genius to travel during the night😊 and it went fine!

Tip: We booked everything through 12go.asia beforehand, but I know that you can get better prices if you book directly at The SinhTourist office in Nha Trang.

Our bus had recliner seats, A/C, and we were provided with water and blankets on departure. The bus itself had two storeys with three individual rows of seats. The driver did not speak English, but the girls working in the office was happy to help us with any inquires we had ☺️

I would recommend requesting for a seat on the ground level when checking in at the office 30 minutes before departure. The bus does not offer much space for your daybag or other belongings and we therefore used the floor to store our things. I do not know how the people above us managed to store their belongings..

The recliner seat is also rather small. I am 164cm tall, and I barely had room for my feet 😬

Kindly note that your luggage is stored under the bus, and I recommend bringing the bare minimum with you inside the bus.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Big hugs! πŸ’›


A day in the Mekong Delta River

For our second and last day in Ho Chi Minh we decided to do a day tour to the Mekong River, arranged by Deluxe Group Tours.

I have always been a bit sceptical towards organized group tours, as I am not a superfan of activities and attractions with a very “touristy” vibe. However, we were only 8 people in our group and we had a great time together! 😊

We got picked up at our hotel around 8am in an A/C minivan, and drove for approximately 2 hours until we reached My Tho. Here we visited the Vinh Trang Pagoda, which is one of the most well-known and unique pagodas in the Delta.

The Vinh Trang Pagoda features three enormous Buddha statues and all of them symbolizes different things.

The reclining Buddha represents Guatama Buddha before entering parinirvana. This is the death of someone who has attained nirvana during their lifetime, and has therefore been released from rebirth.

The happy Buddha symbolizes good luck and happiness, and is well-known around the world for its good fortune ☺️

At last, you have the standing Buddha who symbolizes ultimate bliss and compassion.

From here we travelled to a an orchad by boat, and we were able to enjoy some tropical fruit and listen to traditional vietnamese music. We also visited a Honey Bee farm where we got to taste the honey. YUM!

The highlight was however the longtail boat trip through the small canals in the Delta! It was great to experience the diversity of the Mekong waterways, exploring fish and fruit farms along the way. The scenery was also breathtakenly beautiful, and I just loved everything about it! ✨

Big hugs! πŸ’›


A nightlife and foodtour Adventure in Saigon

Hello,

Our journey in Asia has finally started, and we are having a blast! 😁

We arrived quite late in the afternoon on November 5, so we just had time to check in at our hotel and grab a quick bite before our guides were picking us up for the evening.

We stayed at a property called Ben Thanh Boutique Hotel, which is located in District 1. This is a wonderful hotel and I would highly recommend it to everyone that is going to HCMC. The staff is great, very attentive and serviceminded, and the breakfast is awesome! We completely fell in love with the sandwiches. YUM!

I just L O V E D the lobby area with the pictures on the wall! 😍

Our guides, Michael and Justin from Saigon Adventure picked us up at the hotel approximately 1 hour after check in. This gave us enough time to change and prepare for the tour, as well as refuiling our batteries with delicious vietnamese food.

Say hello to Michael and Justin btw! 😁

They took us on a 4-hour scooter tour where the main focus was food and nightlife! We have never been afraid to try new things, but I will admit that my stresslevel was not exactly at zero after 1 hour in the city with 9 million scooters driving EVERYWHERE!

Either way, it turned out to be super fun and we could not have asked for a better introduction to HCMC! Our guides were absolutely brilliant, and they did everything they could to ensure that we had a good time!

They took us to some really cool and off the beathen path places, but the best part was definitely the way they showed us how the local people lived. Did you know that many of them push their scooter up several flight of stairs to their apartment because they can’t afford the parking costs?

Trying our very first dish of Pho, the famous vietnamese soup! So good! If you are ever visiting, make sure you head over to Pho Dung! They have served Pho for the last 40 years, and the place is really popular amongst the locals πŸ˜‹

Thomas is trying to prepare this coconut snack over an open fire, and the emphasis is really on “trying” here.. I was terrible at it, which made me end up laughing so hard. Even the lady in the shop was laughing πŸ˜‚ Thomas was not better.

The view from Chilli Skybar!

All in all, we had a fantastic tour with Saigon Adventure, and they are probably some of the best guides we have ever had 😊 I would highly recommend to go for this company whilst in HCMC!