Vietnam is really a diverse country. After the second visit, I have experience so many unique things that happens only in this beautiful country. From isolated Phu Quoc island to the vibrant city of Hanoi, these special experiences can make your trip really different :
Ride the Motorbike through Northwest
It seems northwest is a really untouched region that not so many local tour operators promote. However, this is really a hidden gems to soak up both varied landscapes and local friendliness. Taking bus or car may not be the best way to appreciate Northwest, the motorbike or scooter will make it instead.
For about 6 days, riding from Hanoi to the picturesque valley of Mai Chau then exploring the historic site of Son La before venturing into the wilderness of Dien Bien Phu and Lai Chau … all these are extraordinary.
Take the trek with Topas Ecolodge
Sapa is quite a touristic town but some places nearby are not. Topas Ecolodge is such an example. It could be partly because it is expensive. If you consider the stunning mountain view right out of your bungalow`s window then it is worth.
The trek organized by Topas features fulfilling 2 days with visits to villages of Tay, crossing the river. The highlights come not only the breathtaking scenery but also the interaction our guide made.
Market Hopping in Bac Ha
Who read about Bac ha may think about Bac Ha market on Sunday, however, this is not what I did. There are various communities around Bac Ha district and hence there are different weekly market.
I suggest you to do Sin Cheng market which takes place on Wednesday each week. This is a colorful fair to see Flower Hmong, Tay and some other ethnic minorities. If you do not mind much about the hygiene, try local foods, they are tasty !
Please note that you need to register your visit to the police as the market locates by the border zone. You may find some support from travel agencies in Bac Ha town – the only place they speak English.
Hanoi Food Tour
Certainly, if you visit Vietnam, you can not miss Hanoi. Beside the famous attractions or art works, Hanoi is a perfect spot to start a culinary adventure. I suggest to book a Street Food Tour which cost about $20/ person. Do not compare to the actual fee you may pay because the expert knowledge is more important in this case.
You will be lead through food shops, surely your stomach will be full but more important, you will experience not the authentic but distinctive dishes of Hanoi.
Boat trip in Lan Ha Bay
While majority of the tourist choose Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay which boasts mostly the same charm is less visible on tourism radar. For 2 days trip, we toured the main attraction of Cat Ba island, swimming in the calm waters and relaxed under the sun when the cruise traveled out to the bay.
Options for Lan Ha Bay tour varies from $ 100 to $500 or even upper depends on your expectation of comfort and service.
Hoi An Basket Tour
When it comes to the idea of what to see in Hoi An, undoubted the post travelers will say they love the town which is recognized as the Unesco World Heritage site. To get more fun, book a basket tour to tackle the waterways of Hoi An. You will be transferred to a village to try the round-basket boat to sail along the palm line.
You can book the tour when you are in Hoi An.
Need more inspiration for Hoi An ? check out the post from Karen for Hoi An with Baby
See Phong Nha National Park
Phong Nha National park is very hot destination since they discovered Son Doong Cave, the largest cave in the world. To register for a caving tour, we may have to wait for 2 years but there is another way to appreciate the park : seeing its sub-caves.
I did not have chance to do Hang En but seeing the Thien Duong cave on a wooden boat was pretty satisfactory. I would love to recommend you to try the cycle trip out to the countryside, you will love it !
Phu Yen Beach
For those who want to soak up sea, sun in a less touristic coastal town then Phu Yen is the premier choice. There are many sandy beaches to opt.
You will not feel bored since the locals are very friendly. Things to make your days occupied are plenty as well: Cham tower, fishing villages, Dien Cap lighthouse.
Cooking Class in Ho Chi Minh City
If you already do Hanoi food tour then Ho Chi Minh cooking class is a something you should not miss. The whole tour packs market visit, food demonstration and cook-it-your-self.
The food course reflect the flavors from the south so it will not be the same with what you taste in Hanoi.
For those who are really keen on food exploration, you can book the XO motorbike food tour which is led by women.
Tour the Mekong Delta
Again, there are hundred ways to know Mekong Delta. I would not choose floating market since it is popular in all travel guides. We took a guided trip to Ben Tre for 2 days including boat trip on the canal, seeing traditional workshops on the river bank then doing homestay in a local family.
This is simply one of the most notable highlights during our trip in Vietnam.