Travelling to South East Asia from Barbados is a long haul! I had Vietnam on my bucketlist and Jason had Bali on his. Jason only had two weeks of vacation and our air travel there and back would take 2 days! We decided to go for it after finding a really great price on tickets from London. The plan was to spend one week in Vietnam and one week in Bali. We flew from Barbados to London on Virgin Atlantic in their Upper Class Cabin, a birthday upgrade for both of us from my parents.
One Week in Vietnam Itinerary
After three legs of 7 hour flights, which we agreed was the worst way to do it, we finally reached our first destination, Hanoi Vietnam. The jet lag was intense. I am used to just fighting sleep until the sun goes down but poor Jason was exhausted. We headed out to grab some food that evening and found this little spot called Linh’s Kitchen, where we had our first Vietnamese barbeque, and it was amazing! It was such a great way to start our one week in Vietnam.
Hanoi: Day 1 – 3
Hanoi was our first city we visited for on our one week in Vietnam itinerary and it did not disappoint! The hustle and bustle, the crazy streets and the friendly people made us fall absolutely in love with Vietnam. Our main goal was to visit Ha Long Bay the following morning after we arrived. Unfortunately there was a storm and we could no longer visit. So instead we spent our days wandering the streets of Hanoi, exploring, eating, and drinking. We tried Pho at Pho 10 and then Bun Cha at another little restaurant.
We spoiled ourselves with massages, and continued drinking all the Bia Hoi. Then we would wander the streets some more. Every hour we spent in Vietnam we got more confident crossing the streets with our motto, “Walk with confidence” which is the advice our lady at reception gave us.
Hanoi to Hue
On our last day in Hanoi, the hotel allowed us to stay a few hours before we caught our Train to Hue. We got to the station early and jumped on board and met our room mates for the night. The train ride was an experience and luckily we only had one incident where a conductor came in and looked around. Luckily one of our new friends was awake and the conductor left the cabin. Make sure you lock your bags up or keep them close by you on the bed!
Calypso Suites – If you stay here then you will probably meet Lucy, she was the real MVP of Calypso Suites! We had amazing 5 Star service on a $30US per night budget. This hotel was definitely the best we stayed at and we concluded it was the staff that made our experience great.
Hue: Day 4 -5
We arrived bright and early, around 9am in the city of Hue. Hue was so quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. Our goal in Hue was to explore the Imperial City and then hope on a motorbike and ride the Hai Van Pass, top gear style, except with perfect, fully functioning bikes.
The Imperial City was absolutely incredible! There was so much history to take in. You could easily spend the entire day in the Imperial City, we spent about 4 hours. We walked there and back, but the heat in Vietnam is unbearable! Grab a bike and ride there, it will be much easier!
We got back to our hotel and then grabbed some dinner, we spent our evening walking through the riverside market. The next morning we were picked up by Easy Riders. They took our luggage and left us with our day bags to ride with. I hopped on the back of Jason’s bike and we were off!
Hue to Hoi An
This was my first time on the back of a motorcycle and I was so scared! I clutched onto Jason with my sweaty palms as we weaved through the morning traffic of Hue. Then once we got onto the highway I managed to relax a bit. We got a coffee from a roadside shop and we were off again. Each minute I got more and more relaxed… until Jason managed to hit the biggest bump in the road which made me catch some air. We continued down the highway and took a rest at a roadside restaurant where Pho was the food of choice for me, Jason had some beef and vegetables.
We finally got to the Hai Van Pass, the moment we were waiting for! The traffic cleared and it was just us and our guide as we ascended up the mountainside. We passed a few other tourists here and there and as we reached the top there were bus loads of people taking in the view. Riding the Hai Van Pass was one of the highlights of our one week in Vietnam.
We rode through Da Nang and visited the Marble Mountains and then we arrived in Hoi An.
Sites to See:
Hoi An: Day 5 – 7
Hoi An is just the most perfect little tourist town we’ve ever visited. We left the restaurant in the evening to get some food and we were in love instantly. Lanterns dotted the streets in just about every corner, hanging across the roads, on the buildings, in the trees, it was beautiful. From the moment we reached the Old Town we were in love.
We went back into town and spent the whole day walking around and souvenir shopping. Vietnamese coffee was on our list and lanterns were on mine! We ate lunch overlooking the river with a bucket of mojitos to cool us down, while chatting to a street vendor selling all kinds of snacks. It was definitely the highlight of our one week in Vietnam.
Our last day was spent by the pool of the hotel, the weather was a little dodgy looking so we avoided going into town. So we treated ourselves to a massage and a pool day before hoping on our flight from Da Nang to Singapore in the afternoon. It was the perfect ending to our amazing one week in Vietnam.
Hoi An Hotel:
We both loved our one week in Vietnam so much, we are dying to go back and spend more than one week in Vietnam. We need to explore the south of the country and even further up North. I have never seen more hard working and friendly people than we did in Vietnam.
Have you been to Vietnam? What was your favorite part?