I love Vietnamese food.. In fact no, I am pretty obsessed with it. So obviously a trip to Vietnam was on the cards during our travels. It didn’t disappoint. We loved it. From the hustle and bustle of the city to the relaxed countryside we found everything we wanted. Including some pretty delicious meals!
3 Days in Hanoi, Including a trip to Halong Bay
We arrived in Hanoi very very HUNGRY! Luckily our hostel had arranged a car to come and get us from the airport so we avoided the chaos in arrivals. Our Hostel, Chien Hostel, was perfect. It was in a great location, right next to St Josephs Cathedral in the Old Quarter so it was really close to everything.
In Hanoi, Pho (Noodle Soup) is THE dish. So naturally I ate a lot of it. A lot of street venders make amazing Phi – easiest way to find the best is just look for the biggest queue. The locals know which the best ones are so just find the busiest one and you know you’re in for a winner – pull up a plastic stool and enjoy slurping you soup whilst the traffic goes by. (Spring Rolls are epic for dipping. So if they do them at the stall, order the crab spring rolls – AMAZING!) We didn’t find any street venders that did Vegetarian / Vegan Pho – so you would have to head into a restaurant for that. The best one i had over our 3 days in Hanoi was at a restaurant called Noodle & Roll. I had the Vegetarian Pho and fresh veggie spring rolls. They served the Pho with loads of fresh herbs and you can add your own chilli sauce and lime to taste. All for about £5 pp (including a beer, YAS)
Whilst we were in Hanoi we mainly just wandered around and got lost down the alleyways – one thing I will say is that when you cross the roads you just have to GO because they do not stop for you.. they just go round you. The first day I was petrified I was going to get hit by a scooter but by the time we left we were crossing the roads like a local. We visit the Hoa Lo Prison which has a pretty gritty history – you can find out more about the prison here : http://hoalo.vn
Through our hostel we booked a trip to Halong Bay – everyone who i know who has been to Hanoi said it was amazing but not to bother with an overnight trip. You do all the same things on the one day tour that you do with the overnight trip. So we opted for the 1 day tour.
The bay was beautiful and we had a lot of fun exploring the caves and kayaking. You go to a few islands and on one you climb A LOT of narrow steps to reach an amazing viewing point.
The only downside of the trip was that the bay itself has been slightly ruined by tourists. There are a lot of boats and we saw a lot of rubbish in the water which was a shame.
On our last day we stumbled across Hanoi Social Club – It was a really cute little coffee house and cafe. The coffee was great and the food was really tasty. This place was heaven for me! A Little more expensive than your average vietnamese eatery but if you wanted a break from fried spring rolls here is the place to go. I highly recommend one of the salads, homemade kombucha and the flourless chocolate cake.
We fell in love with Hoi An – originally we had only booked for 2 nights but after our first day we asked our hostel if we could have the room for a further 2 nights.
We arrived in the evening, checked into our Hostel – Leo Leo – and headed straight for the night market. Here you can get Vietnamese delicacies like Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich) Banana pancakes and even a frog on a stick if thats your jam. We got ourselves a Sandwich for 30K Dong (about £6 for 2) wandered around and then settled in a bar overlooking the river to enjoy a cheap beer and people watch.
The next day we explored the old town on foot. There are some lovely boutique shops – I had to show serious restraint in one of the ceramic shops! We grabbed some spring rolls from a stall for our lunch and just pottered around the old streets for the rest of day and checked out the food market – which very busy but good fun!
We also checked out The Golden Bridge whilst we were in Hoi An – we were going to book a tour here but we thought it was pretty spenny! Luckily a couple we had met had just booked a taxi and invited us to come along with them.
The Golden Bridge itself is pretty epic. However one thing we didn’t realise it is actually in a kind of Theme Park which we all thought was a bit weird as they don’t advertise about that. Thank god we got there at about 7:30 AM so we were some of the first people up there. You arrive to the entrance of the park called Sun World and you then get on a cable car to take you up the ‘mountain’. This was actually pretty incredible – It is the highest and the longest cable cart in the world. The views you get are unbelievable. Below the bridge there are beautiful gardens you can get lost in. I was SO happy we got there when we did because when we walked up from the gardens back to the bridge it was packed. Apart from the bridge and the gardens there is nothing really else to see, it is just a ‘theme park’. We left after the bridge and got back into Hoi An about 1PM – We then grabbed lunch and headed to the beach.
The following day we were supposed to be doing a cooking class but we ended up cancelling it – we were exhausted so decided to have a lie in, go out for brunch and spend the afternoon at the beach instead. For brunch we went to Avos and Mangos . They have a cute courtyard at the back that we sad in and enjoyed our food. We inhaled our smoothie bowls & Avocado Toasts! I also ended up buying a set of coconut bowls, bamboo straws & coconut chopsticks.
On our last night we went to the Famous Morning Glory Restaurant – We didn’t realise you actually have to book but that didn’t matter as they have a couple of locations, even if you can’t get into the Original, Morning Glory two is just across the road – So that is where we headed (the menu is exactly the same also) The Spring Rolls there are unbelievable the fried aubergine too is a must!
Hoi Chi Minh City – Tet Holiday
We had booked 4 days here – after a day or so we decided that 1 or 2 days would be more than enough. We weren’t keen on the city, it wasn’t what we expected it to be. It was expensive and because we came over the Tet Holiday (New Year) everything was closed bar the expensive tourist places. In hind site we probably should have done our research a little more and not spent 4 days here.
Whilst in the city we visited the War Remnants Museum – I am really interested in history and we were urged to go here by a lot of people. I will say it was an emotional day and if you do visit be prepared. Here they house a collection of photographs, documents and artefacts that depict the horrors of the Vietnamese war and the devastating effects that it has caused to this day. It was an eye opening experience for both of use but i would highly recommend visiting this museum.
The rest of our time here we relaxed in our hostel roof top area researching the places we will be visiting over the next month and reading.
We loved our trip to Vietnam – we just wished we hadn’t wasted a few days in Hoi Chi Minh and stayed in Hoi An longer or explored another town! I urge you to explore this beautiful country – We will 100% be returning.