Kootje Dijkstra | Vietnam
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24 Feb December in Vietnam

At the 16th of December, our semester at Konkuk University ended after 20 weeks and it was time for us to start with the month of traveling. During our time in Korea, we were already planning it a bit ahead, about where to go after the finals. I booked the ticket for Korea back in May, always keeping in mind the fact that I would definitely go traveling afterwards. At first, Indonesia would be the place. Meanwhile in Korea, I figured tickets were super expensive and therefore I decided to go for Vietnam and Cambodia. And it was for sure the best decision so far.

See below my experiences, my trip to Vietnam. The itinerary at first:

  • Hanoi
  • Càt Bá Island
  • Ninh Binh
  • Hoi An
  • Mui Né
  • Ho Chi Minh

This was the outline, and from there on we would just see, whatever floats the boat. We mostly moved with night buses, which were in my opinion really nice and comfortable. Especially since we were able to download Netflix offline and watch movies during the rides 🙂

This was Càt Bá Island. As most of the travel blogs say, Càt Bá is the nicer and more peaceful equivalent of Ha Long Bay. Ha Long Bay seems to be really amazing, no doubt, but super touristic and I was not really into that. Yet, Càt Bá is relaxing, really quiet and pretty much offers the same kind of spots and views as Ha Long Bay. Through our hostel we rented motorbikes and explored the island in two days.

The Tran Quoc Pagode in Hanoi, one of the oldest in Vietnam // The motorcycles in Hanoi!!!

Hanoi, the heart of Vietnam and full of color. I really liked this city, especially the Old Quarter. Our Airbnb apartment was located right in front of the Hoan Kiem Lake. // Hoi An, the City of Lanterns. A cosy city, filled with mustard yellow houses all over. It is touristy, yes, but not in a disturbing way. It is not a big hassle that there are tourists all over and it actually makes the city feel thriving.

Càt Bá Island. Probably the best picture I ever made of a beer can  🙂

Monkey Island. We got there by a private boat. The lady was in the harbour every day, waiting for people to pass by and pick her boat out of hundreds. During the trip she showed us her house at the floating village which was probably her unique selling point, but still. // Fresh fruits and veggies all day! In Korea, this was a luxury product and not accessible for a reasonable price. In Vietnam, we loaded ourselves with it, especially dragon fruit and papaya are favorites.

Cruising through Ninh Binh. This village is located in the north, just a couple of kms below Hanoi. We slept in a homestay in Tam Coc for two days, which has been one of the most pleasant and welcoming stays in Vietnam. Or just in general. The hosts were so kind and made us the best Vietnamese spring rolls I have ever had 🙂

The floating village along the way to Monkey Island.

We cycled to a place where we were able to rent a canoe and go with a guide. The trip took us quite a while, but it was so nice and beautiful. Along the way we stood upon various religious buildings and old relics, caves and mangroves. // A girl returning from school in the street of our home stay in Tam Coc.

Sunsets in Càt Bá Island.

Incredible spot in Mui Né, the White Sand Dunes. Imagine, this place is right behind the coastal area in the south of Vietnam. I think no one should miss out on Mui Né (and Phan Thiet as well) in their travel itinerary. Especially during sunset and sunrise, this is really really really cool.

Also, we spent New Years Eve in Mui Né, in a super chill and cool hostel called LongSon. We camped in front of the beach, there were fireworks, a 7 course dinner and our Australian friends Sheridan & Cole. After that, we went to Ho Chi Minh/Saigon, and around the 3rd of January, we went to Cambodia…