Travelling SE Asia is a rite of passage for any backpacker and rightly so! It’s an incredible place, with so many amazing things to do and see! But … you wouldn’t go to London and say you’ve seen England would you? Well, you can’t say you’ve truly seen SE Asia until you been to Vietnam!
Although growing in popularity, backpacking in Vietnam is still not very high on a lot of young travellers’ agenda. Which is a shame, because it is an amazing country! It may not be rich in wealth, but it is rich with culture, has lots of history and is home to potentially some of the nicest people you will meet on your Ultimate quest to tick off as many countries as possible!
This is exactly why we made Vietnam our next Ultimate adventure! If you don’t know by now, our Ultimate Vietnam tour kicks off in January 2015 and we are SO excited for it to start!!
When it comes to launching new tours, we’re very thorough with our research … a lot of hard work goes in to finding the best spots to take you, the best things to see and do etc. After all, it has to be the ULTIMATE tour of Vietnam right?!
So earlier this year, two of our lovely Travel crew were shipped off to SE Asia to check it all out and put something together that will be an awesome experience for everyone that joins us.
The stories they came back with were amazing! Here’s a little snippet of what they thought about their time in Vietnam …
What was your favourite part of Vietnam and why?
Dirk: The island stay in Lan Ha Bay, which is part of Halong Bay, was stunning! We cruised through a maze of little islands, stayed on a stunning beach, ate amazing food and saw some incredible sunsets!
Karin: I loved the authenticity of Hanoi … it feels like a step back in time. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is so different to any place that I’ve ever been before! Life is out on the streets all day and all night. People cook on the streets, people eat on the streets. We sat at little plastic tables, on tiny plastic chairs and drank beer from kegs with the locals.
Was there anything about Vietnam that surprised you?
Dirk: The coffee was crazy good! Also, despite tourism being such a big part of their economy, Vietnamese people live their own lives and culture. Ho Chi Minh is becoming more westernised but the north of Vietnam is still authentically Vietnamese.
Karin: I had no idea that the Vietnamese beaches and underwater world were so stunning! Pristine white beaches and Nha Trang is awesome for snorkelling!
What’s your favourite part of the tour and why?
Da Lat – Where else can you abseil down a waterfall in the middle of a rainforest?!
Dirk: Lan Ha Bay is a definite highlight! But I think the awesome buzz of Hanoi and the chilled out vibes you find in Hoi An will be popular with a lot of people who join us!
Karin: I think everything we do on the tour is amazing but Halong Bay and Da Lat are definite highlights for me! Halong Bay is incredibly beautiful and serene (and has the best food!!) I loved Da Lat because it was the first time I have ever abseiled down waterfalls in the middle of a rain forest – there’s not many places you can do that and I’ll never forget it!
Is there anything that isn’t on the tour that you would recommend people do?
Dirk: Trekking in Sapa will blow your mind! It’s not just about picturesque mountain scenery and rice fields, but also seeing how local Vietnamese people make a living, which makes you appreciate just how privileged your own life actually is.
Karin: Sapa for sure! It has the most amazing scenery and you get an awesome cultural experience! Comfortable shoes are a must as the trip involves a lot of hiking and climbing – it’s so worth it for the views!!
What’s your top tip for travelling Vietnam?
Dirk: Learn a few Vietnamese phrases, be curious and don’t be shy to mingle with the locals.
Karin: Do it with Ultimate Vietnam, we’ll show you the best places and make sure you have the most fun! :0)