I arrived in Vietnam without an itinerary but the bus pass I purchased in Ho Chi Minh decided it for me. For $50 CANADIAN, I bought a ticket for a bus that could take me all the way from Ho Chi Minh (in the south), up to Hanoi (in the north). The bus route had approximately 7 different stops and after doing some research I quickly decided that all stops seemed to be extremely worthwhile.
1st Stop: Ho Chi Minh
This city is full of history and Vietnamese culture. Two of the main attractions in Ho Chi Minh are war-related, the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels. It was very interesting learning about their history and damages that have sadly affected their country for many years. The Cu Chi Tunnels also continued to shed light on Vietnam’s War and the different tunnels they used to hide. Although it was extremely interesting to learn about their history, it was definitely the saddest stop in Vietnam.
2nd Stop: Mui Ne
This city is fascinating – kite surfing, beaches, sand dunes, and fishing villages all in one place! I decided to do a tour that stopped at all the main attractions in Mui Ne including the famous fishing village and the sand dunes. Once I arrived at the fishing village, I was able to take in the amazing view of all the boats and get some seafood for lunch before continuing on to the sand dunes. The sand dunes were very cool because they were just on the opposite side of a regular road – it definitely did not seem to fit in. Once there, I was able to go sand boarding and watch the sunset. It was a really cool experience!
3rd Stop: Da Lat
Da Lat is the city of adventure! One of the biggest highlights here is canyoning, which I almost didn’t do out of pure fear but was eventually convinced. I had the opportunity to rappel down waterfalls and float through the rapids. Although I was extremely nervous, the tour guide and fellow travellers helped me feel very safe and I ended up having a great day! Another thing to do in Da Lat is visit Crazy House. This is an “unconventional building” designed by a Vietnamese architect who was heavily inspired by Gaudi. It had very strange walls, images, and stairs all throughout the house. Lastly, another great thing to check out is the 100 Roofs Bar. This is a bar that is an actual maze. In order to reach the patio upstairs you need to navigate your way through a dark maze, that has a cave-like feeling. Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience!
4th Stop: Hoi An
Hoi An was most definitely my favourite city in all of Vietnam! It is full of culture and delicious food. My favourite part was taking the Eco-Coconut Tour. During this tour I had the opportunity to do a cooking lesson, go fishing, play traditional Vietnamese games, and row a traditional Vietnamese boat with locals. During the cooking lesson I had the opportunity to make Vietnamese pancakes, summer rolls, and Cao Lao.
The Vietnamese culture is also very evident throughout Hoi An, the city itself is even considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are Chinese lanterns throughout the city and at night, you are able to place a lantern into the river which symbolizes an offering to worship ancestors. It is a beautiful sight to see, Hoi An is a city that you should not miss!
Check out my video below!