I recently travelled to Vietnam for a two-week holiday, and I must say it was absolutely amazing. As it was my first time travelling outside Europe I was slightly nervous. The people were so friendly and the food was delicious the holiday could not have been better.
Below is a breakdown of the places we visited during my two weeks in Vietnam. I felt this was enough to see everything I wanted while also getting some time to relax.
Night one – Hanoi
Night two – Halong Bay
Night Three – Hanoi
Night four – Overnight train to Hoi An
Night Five to eleven – Hoi An
Night twelve to fourteen – Ho Chi Ming City (Saigon)
Where to book flights
We booked our flights with Trailfinders. When I fly in Europe I always use Skyscanner. It’s a great website which will give you information on the cheapest flights. When I checked the flight prices on Skyscanner they were the same price as Trailfinders. Having better security with Trailfinders in case something went wrong I booked with them.
Trailfinders booked our seats in the upper deck in Economy class with Malaysia airlines free of charge. This was a lot more comfortable as there was more leg room and lots of storage. If you are booking with Trailfinders ask can you be seated in the upper deck. If there is just two of you flying I recommend also ask for a window seat. There are only two seats in the window isle so you will not be sitting with anyone else.
Our flight route was Cork-London-Kuala Lumpar-Hanoi going to Vietnam, and Ho Chi Ming City – Kuala Lumpar- Amsterdam-Cork. The whole time travelling was roughly 23 hours each way so be prepared for that. Flights in total cost 700 euros return but you may get the flights slightly cheaper depending on the time of year you go.
Where to book everything else
Our two weeks we booked with Halong Tour Bookings as we got a deal online. We got a 10-day voucher through Grabone. This option included all our accommodation, internal flights, all day tours and an overnight cruise of Halong bay. There is often different two to three-week deals for Vietnam on Groupon and Grabone.
A friend of mine went last year to Vietnam with Go Asia travel which he also enjoyed. There were a few people during our day tours who had booked with Go Asia travel so I imagine the tours are quite similar. This option is great if you want to get a taste of the country and don’t want to risk organising it yourself. We were not with a group only on the day trips and it was different people we were meeting on every trip. We also asked to add a number of days in Hoi An which the tour company organised for us.
Should I bring US dollars?
Many websites refer to dollars or paying in Dollars/Dong. I suggest unless you are coming from the USA or a hotel/tour has specifically asked to pay in dollars I would not bring any. Bring some cash in euro and go to the currency exchange when you get there. If you don’t want to bring cash many places have ATM’s so I wouldn’t worry about having to bring money with you. Even if a tour operator has given you the price in dollars ask can you pay in Dong or euro. Many Vietnamese quote prices in US dollars to make it easier for westerners to figure out the price. I made the mistake of not asking could I pay for my holiday in euros. I got cash in dollars only to find out they would have preferred if I had paid by card.
Would I recommend someone travelling there?
Vietnam was such an amazing trip I would highly recommend it. Although I felt I saw a lot in two weeks I think maybe three weeks may have been better.
We didn’t go to see Sapa which is another place in Northern Vietnam. (if you are planning on doing an overnight train and going to Sapa I would do this one. It is supposed to be much nicer than the train to DeNang). From what I read there seemed to be a lot of walking so felt it was not my thing for holidays. (I prefer to eat lots of nice food and go sightseeing). We also did not visit Na Trang which is supposed to have nice beaches and has a reputation to be more of a party town. I felt as it was an 11-hour bus trip from Hoi An, would have been too much travel in two weeks.
Overall I loved Vietnam and I hope that I am able to travel there again in the future.