Travel is something I never did a lot of until a few years back. It all started in 2008 and when now husband and I, along with his family, travelled to Europe for a mega white Christmas. He is actually of Polish background, so travel was always important to him but not something my own family have done a lot of. But once that first trip was done, I was hooked. I now try and make it a habit to go overseas most years!
Vietnam was somewhere I had heard good things about and contemplated but it never stood out as a must see destination. We started talking about going somewhere different, after having done the Europe thing a couple of times and a few nearby countries like Fiji and New Zealand, it was time for something more exciting.
It was actually through a holiday deals website that formed the plan for Vietnam. A mega awesome deal with beach resort luxury, all inclusive meals and spa treatments and a few days elsewhere in the country. We decided why not, let’s give it a go and from there created a pretty amazing itinerary from South to North. It was actually a little scary though as Asia was so new for us and travelling with a toddler meant we had nervous parents as well.
Right from the second we stepped out of the airport we felt the buzz of this new place. The constant sound of tooting horns, loud people and zooming scooters was pretty surreal. And the amusement we got on the way to our first hotel in Ho Chi Minh City seeing 2, 3… even 4 people on one motorbike and how there did not really seem to be any traffic rules. Yet it worked.
The city was so crammed with so many people and tiny buildings and unique architecture. Everywhere you turn someone is trying to sell you something, yet everyone is also smiling and friendly. Not once on our 2 week holiday did we hear any negativity, or see people arguing or road-raging. Such a pleasant contrast to home where it is not uncommon for conflict and impatience.
We were always welcomed with the greatest hospitality. Our daughter was adored, of course… strawberry blonde toddler. They love babies. And be warned, they will try to touch them too… but with no ill intent. It’s a little strange but ok.
The food is amazing. So much flavour. So simple. And so much of it. Fresh too. Just take a walk around a market to see exactly how fresh with fish, frogs and other critters still alive and ready for purchase.
And so cheap. Like seriously, crazy cheap. You can get yourself a whole meal for about $1-2 US/Aus dollars. That’s street food though. Some restaurants, especially in hotels, tend to charge closer to Western prices. But still reasonable.
You can shop til you drop. Quite literally… probably from heat exhaustion. Yep, its pretty humid. But the markets are an abundance of clothes, accessories, food and other knick knacks. Be sure to stop in Hoi An for a couple of days to get some custom tailored clothing too. Makes you feel pretty special getting measured up for anything your heart desires. All they need is a picture and they can make it.
And of course the scenery. Some of the most beautiful landscape, especially around Halong Bay. But even the green rice fields are pretty impressive to see. Beaches, jungles, lakes. They have a bit of everything in Vietnam.
Vietnam is a place that I know I want to go back to. Still so much to see and I just love the craziness of the place. Almost makes me want to quit the daily grind and go live there for a year, just appreciating the simple things in life, rather than the materialistic Western world. So if you are thinking about visiting Vietnam, do it!! You won’t regret it!