1. Ho Chi Minh City – 2 nights. I arrived in Vietnam on the 21st of January in Ho Chi Minh City or shortly Saigon. It’s a typical big-city very crowded and colorful, honestly not my type?. Still, it has some advantages: cheap hostels, many places where you could hang out, many travelers to interact with. Personally, I didn’t like it and I wouldn’t go again there, but it’s an important city in Vietnam providing many jobs for people from all the areas of the country.
2. Ben Tre – 3 nights. We spent the Luna New Year in this city of Mekong Delta in a HomeStay. It was an amazing experience leaving with a Vietnamese family, we had the chance to learn more about their customs and to have a good rest in a magic place. Riding the bike along the canal, seeing the Flower Market and attending the New Year’s Concert and Firework’s show were some of the things that I did there. I totally recommend visiting the cities from Mekong Delta, you’ll have an immediate experience.
3. Da Lat – 3 nights. After a few days in the exotic scenery of Mekong Delta, I arrived in a place of mountains, valleys, lakes, and waterfalls. You’ll be charmed by Da Lat, the city is really crowded especially in the evening but the nature around the city is amazing and you have the chance to find some silence there. I had my first experience in Couchsurfing here too, a little bit weird but still grateful for it. I’m confused by the people that are accepting Couchsurfers and AirBNB guests at the same time…but overall it was nice.
I recommend you to go to the Elephant Waterfall and nearby it’s a huge Happy Buddha statue at Linh An Pagoda. You could travel there by motorbike or by a local bus only for 25.000VND. The waterfall is spectacular but I think I enjoyed more to walk around the Linh An Pagoda, it’s really nice and quiet, a peaceful place.
Another beautiful place is worthed to visit is Tuyen Lam Lake. To go there I took the cable car from Robin Hill and I visited the Truc Lam Zen Monastery too. The cable car ride is truly beautiful, you’ll have the chance to see the panorama of the city and of the mountains around. From the Truc Lam Pagoda, you’ll have a short walk through the Forrest and you’ll reach the lake. You could walk around or better take a boat ride and enjoy better the scenery.
4. Hoi An – 3 nights. My favorite city from Vietnam, Hoi An a small town on the central coast of Vietnam, an old trading port that succeded to preserve its Ancient Town. It’s known as the tailor’s town and you could find many clothes and tailors shops in the center. The old center will show you another side of Vietnam full of history, cultural diversity, old architecture, colors, and smiles.
Hoi An has another kind of magic, you feel the history, the culture and the diversity here. It’s still a main destination for the tourists and it’s awful crowded but somehow I succeeded to find more magic here. The Ancient Town of Hoi An will open for you a gate to the past… I’ve always felt that I belong to another time maybe that’s why I like it so much…
5. Da Nang – 8 nights. The first two nights I stayed in a hostel in the center of Da Nang and then I went to volunteer in DoDo’s English School. Da Nang is the biggest city on the central coast of Vietnam and the fifth-largest city as the population from the country. I already started to be tired of touristic places so in Da Nang, I gave me more time to connect with people rather than seeing places. Da Nang has beautiful beaches and mountains around so it’s a perfect spot to chill down and just enjoy nature and relax. My initial plan was to reach north of Vietnam but I discover that I could leave Vietnam without seeing all the famous places but I would regret to leave it without trying to connect with people in a meaningful way. About my experience in Dodo’s house I dedicated another article, please check it out.
6. Hue – one day trip. During my stay in Da Nang, I went for one day to Hue by bus, one ticket ride was 75.000 VND. Huế is a city in central Vietnam that was the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. A major attraction is its vast, 19th-century Đại Nội Citadel, it’s truly impressive the old imperial city.
Three weeks in Vietnam, two about traveling one about connecting, were enough for a first experience. Next time I’ll reserve it for the beautiful North of Vietnam.