Vietnam is a country that has a lot to offer, it is a place where you can lose yourself in rice fields, chaotic cities, karst mountains, impressive sandy beaches, temples full of charm … And that you can meet in many ways. We traveled for 10 full days this incredible country and for free, with our backpacks on our backs and taking all kinds of transport. There is no better way to get to know a place like Vietnam than doing it on your own, stopping where you want, sleeping in the places you prefer, knowing those cities that most attract your attention!
A little over a week ago we returned from our great trip this summer. Many of you know in which countries we have been, you have even been our adventure companions, following our day to day on Instagram. For those who do not know, we invite you to read our post in which we explain the great trip of summer 2017. An article we call: Next destination 2.0.
Now, we began to tell you about our last great adventure, for which it was the last country we visited, but to which we dedicated more time and the great protagonist of this trip: Vietnam.
When we were clear that we wanted to know and discover Vietnam, but that we only had 10 days to do it, the difficult task of choosing which points of his map we were going to visit, and which ones would be left, began. The eternal disjunctive of the traveler! I have to confess that it has been one of the trips that cost us the most to organize the route, in fact, until a couple of weeks before we left we made last minute changes.
This is how our definitive route through Vietnam was in 10 days, in which we visited:
Hanoi – The chaotic but charming Vietnamese capital – 1 day, 3 nights
Sapa – Mountains of rice fields and Hmong culture – 2 days, 1 night
Halong Bay – One of the Wonders of the Natural World – 2 days, 1 night
Ninh Binh – Hundreds of karst formations surrounded by rice fields and rivers – 3 days, 3 nights
Hoi An – The most charming city, magic and light of the whole trip – 1 day and a half, 2 nights
Outside this route there were many places that we could not discover, Ho Chi Minh, the Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc Island, Ba Be National Park and Phong Nha National Park, Mai Chau, the motorcycle route from Hue to Hoi An … But that will have to be for another adventure.
DAY 1: HANOI
We arrived at night, almost at dawn, with a direct flight from Siem Reap (Cambodia). The next day, we woke up in the big city and spent the whole day traveling around it. People everywhere, motorcycles, vehicles, sounds estriónicos, colors, smells … A charming chaos! And in Hanoi we also had our first contact with the delicious Vietnamese food.
DAY 2: HANOI – SAPA – HOMESTAY
The next morning, we took a sleeping bus to go to the Sapa region, in the north of the country, almost touching the border with China. Upon arrival, we started a trekking of more than 18 kilometers through the mountains and the great valley of this region. We walk among rice fields, waterfalls, incredible landscapes and the best thing is that we share it with a Hmong woman. Late in the afternoon we arrived at the house of our guide’s sister, in Ta Van, to share all night and the next day with her family. Upon arrival he told us: “my house is your house”. As you can imagine, this is the most emotional and wonderful experience of this entire trip.
DAY 3: SAPA – HANOI
On this third day of travel through Vietnam, we spent the first half of the day around Sapa, doing a new trekking and sharing the whole morning with our family and their children, it was awesome! And the second half of the day we went back to Hanoi to do again night surrounded by noise and Asian madness.
DAY 4: HALONG BAY
On this day we embark on a cruise to discover and navigate between the waters of one of the natural Wonders of the World. Halong bay cruises are magnificent and it gives you an absolute feeling of freedom in the mother nature! A place full of energy and legends, which leaves no one indifferent.
DAY 5: HALONG BAY – NINH BINH
We sail through Halong Bay and let ourselves be dazzled by this wonder until lunchtime. Then we would go a long way to the Ninh Binh region. To arrive about 6 hours later to what would be our house for 3 nights.
DAY 6: NINH BINH
With our own leased motorcycle and on our own, we set out to discover Tam Coc and what they call the terrestrial Halong Bay. A day full of charm and riverboat rides surrounded by huge karst rocks.
DAY 7: NINH BINH
On this second day through this territory, we set out to climb 500 steps to reach one of the best known viewpoints of the region and lose ourselves among rice fields and their hidden temples.
DAY 8: NINH BINH – HOI AN
This was a day trip, since to get to our last point on the map of Vietnam, we should return to the capital, Hanoi, to take an internal flight to Da Nang and from there a car to Hoi An. A delay in our flight He made us arrive later than expected to this city full of light.
DAY 9: HOI AN
We only had one full day to visit one of the cities that has become a must for anyone traveling to Vietnam. We discovered its spectacular white sand beaches, its markets, its historic streets full of charm, its thousands of beautiful spots and its light and special charm at night.
DAY 10: HOI AN
We enjoyed a last day trip through the center of Hoi An and at lunchtime we were already at the airport of Da Nang waiting for what would be our first flight of a total of 4 that we would have to touch back to Majorcan lands.
This was our route of our tour to Vietnam 10 days for free! Little by little we will tell you our day to day with great detail and so relive this great journey.
After this brief summary, we will talk about a couple of practical facts about the country that we find interesting and that we believe that any traveler who wants to travel to Vietnam will be interested to know.
HOW TO OBTAIN FOR A VIETNAMESE VISA?
If your adventure in Vietnam, as was our case, is less than 15 days: you are lucky because you do not have to take your visa! For several years, the Government of Vietnam has become more flexible with the issue of the visa in order to encourage tourism in the country. As reflected in a news on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this law will be valid until June 2018 . But since the laws are changing, before traveling to any country, it is best to consult the official organisms and be 100% sure of what the current situation is.
So, what should we present at our entrance to the country? When you arrive at the airport in Vietnam in which you make your entrance to the country, you have to go directly to the normal immigration queue, to teach there:
Passport with a validity of at least 6 months.
Return ticket, to show that you will be less than 15 days in the country.
And presenting this, you will not have any problem in entering the country with the exemption, as long as your entry is by land or air and you have not been in the country in the previous 30 days.
For those who travel to Vietnam and your stay requires a visa, we share a website where you can process it without problems. Apply for visa on arrival to Vietnam
The official currency of the country is the Dong (VND). You will not have problems to find ATMs, in all the places that we were there. So do not worry, though, that you know that the fees that your dear Spanish bank will probably charge you will be high. We in Vietnam do not take money from any ATM. On this occasion, we get to exchange money in exchange houses. Do not be surprised because in Vietnam it is very easy to change money, in almost any establishment they will change it! Travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, shops … Although previously you must make sure you know how much is the official change that day, so as not to fall for any scam.
We changed several times and we always had a very good result. To know at all times the official currency exchange and even to know what you spend in each restaurant, entrance of a temple or bus ticket, it is best to download the XE APP currency. We never travel without her, highly recommended!
It is also true that some bus routes, as well as the Halong Bay cruise, we could pay with dollars. As we had left over dollars from our passage through Cambodia, we used them to pay for some things during the trip through Vietnam.
How to move around Vietnam? Being such a big country and as always happens in Asia, the displacements between cities are long and you lose a lot of time to go from one place to another. We on this trip have moved with all kinds of transport, from the traditional Vietnamese sleeping bus, to a motorcycle taxi in Hanoi, buses, taxis, bicycles, boats and planes … We only missed the train in Vietnam!
Do not worry about how to move around Vietnam, because there is no problem, it’s very easy. It is one of the things that has surprised us most of the country, how easy it is to move between cities, there are many alternatives, so all you have to do is trace the route and assess the possibilities that you have, always taking into account two details : the time or duration of the trip and the price.
GASTRONOMY: VIETNAMESE CUISINE
We had read a lot about Vietnamese cuisine and everyone agreed on one thing: Vietnam is one of the countries in Asia that best eats. It has a great variety, heritage of many cultures (French, Chinese, Japanese, Indian …), which is perhaps what makes it so rich and diverse, tasty and delicious.
After our passage through the country, we have to confess that we have eaten really well and we can affirm that it has been the country in Asia where we have best eaten of all. It was all delicious!
We have tried everything, the well-known Pho Bo, typical of the northern part, made by our Hmong family, more traditional and authentic impossible. We have not stopped eating Vietnamese rolls, of all the flavors and forms, fried, natural, with vegetables, with fish, with meat … What most surprised me the first time we tried them is that they carry noodles inside. An authentic delight! Oh and on our Halong Bay cruise we even learned to cook. We also tasted the star dish of his French heritage, the Banh Mi, a crispy baguette full of meat, pâté, vegetables, sausages, omelette and all kinds of sauces. An exquisite sandwich that you can try at any street stall or restaurant in the country!
In addition to local delicatessen specialties, such as Banh Vac, white rose dumpling or known in Spanish as white rose, because in its appearance it looks like a plate of rose petals made with rice, which carry prawns and are garnished with crunchy onion. Really tasty!
So if you go to Vietnam, do not forget to try these exotic Vietnamese fruits
In Vietnam you will find all types of accommodation: luxury resorts, hostels, hotels and homestays. We on this trip have combined all types of accommodations, to make our adventure super complete. We believe that it has been the trip in which we have better chosen our accommodations value for money. We have all liked and we have all had a very good experience. As we have been doing in recent trips, we will tell you all about our accommodations in Vietnam in a special post. Very soon we will have it ready!
And here our route through Vietnam for 10 days and for free. We hope you enjoyed this brief introduction and these basic brushstrokes about our Vietnamese adventure and that you want to know more about our days in this country. Stay tuned and we recommend you to plan a free trip by browsing these amazingly organized Vietnam tours deals