I always give two answers when I’m asked which of the countries I visited on my year of solo travel were my favourites; one is India (you can read all my India posts here) and the other is Vietnam.
There are a lot of similarities between the countries that make up South-East Asia, so a lot of the things I love about Vietnam can also be found in other places, but there is just something about it that I absolutely love.
There is so much going on here and something for everyone to enjoy, from great shopping – Vietnam is famous for tailors who can copy designer outfits for a much cheaper price – buzzing nightlife, culture, history and all kinds of outdoor activities.
I’m a total history nerd so one of the things I really liked about being in Vietnam was learning more about the Vietnam War, which I really didn’t know much about. If you’re interested in this topic there is so much to see from museums and bunkers to the vast network of tunnels used by the Viet Cong.
One thing that stands out to people who have visited Vietnam is the traffic, made up of mostly motorbikes. It can be quite overwhelming to step into the road when a wave of motorbikes are coming towards you. Luckily, I had visited India first so I had been broken in to the world of crazy traffic, but it was still unlike anything else I experienced in South-East Asia.
I love how much variety there is from place to place. There are big, hectic cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, picturesque ones like Hoi An, beautiful beaches and incredible landscapes like Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I did a lot of travel by overnight train in Vietnam, as opposed to by bus throughout the rest of South-East Asia, and there was something really magical about waking up in a new place that was completely different to the last one.
And then there’s the food. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to good food in South-East Asia and there wasn’t a single country where I didn’t enjoy the food, but Vietnamese food is SO good. I also fell in love with Vietnamese coffee. I didn’t know coffee was a big thing in Vietnam until I arrived there, but I got hooked on that stuff pretty quickly (more on that later)!
I ticked off most of the main tourist destinations in Vietnam, but there are a few more places I would like to go and I will definitely be heading back there one day. Have you been to Vietnam? What did you love about it? Let me know in the comments.