Ho chi Minh – Experiencing the Vietnamese family culture
We spent our first days in Vietnam with a local family, who invited us to stay in their home through couchsurfing. If you don’t know what couchsurfing is, you should definitely look it up. It’s a website where people all over the world invites travelers to stay at their place for free.
So this amazing family were spoiling us with lots of foods, good company, and even a private room. Staying with them for five days taught me a lot about the Vietnamese culture.
It was our second day in Ho Chi Minh, when we spontaneously decided to buy a motorbike and travel across the country. With the help of our hosts, we went to a random motorbike rental shop in Pham Ngu Lao – which is known as the backpacker street of the city – and bought the first, best second-hand motorbike which was most suitable for us.
Phan Thiet & Mui Ne
It was on our fifth day that we left Ho Chi Minh and traveled with our new bike for the first time. At first it was shaky and scary, since D was a beginner, the roads bumpy, and the trafficants were driving as if there was no tomorrow. But after a couple of hours, it started to feel like D was getting it.
We decided to take the route along the east coast, so we would get scenic views of the sea. Our first trip took us nine hours, before we arrived in Mui Ne. My butt was hurting really bad and the pollution literally made my face black.
But my mood completely changed after realizing that this place is absolutely stunning. The beach, the colorful boats and the nature. And because of the low season, we were really lucky to get a room in a luxury hotel for $10/ night only!
On the next day, we decided to get up extra early to see what’s around. We were curious about the famous nature of wonder – the fairy stream – leading to the waterfalls and surrounded by colorful rock formations. It was more amazing than we expected.
Afterwards, we continued our journey towards the north. I can’t describe how surprised I was by seeing the beautiful sand dunes on the road. I felt the need to jump off the bike, run as fast as I could and roll around in the sand like a child.
We had been driving for the entire day, before arriving in Nha Thrang. It was beautiful, and I absolutely love the combination of city and beach. Unfortunately it was too touristic and crowded for my taste, so we took off the next morning after having Vietnamese coffee and Banh Mi at the beach.
Doc Let Beach
We didn’t want to drive far this time, so we randomly stopped at this place – which later turned out to be my favourite spot in Vietnam. Doc Let is a peaceful beach with white sand and crystal clear water. We spent two fantastic days at this place, doing nothing else than just enjoying the beach.
There was not much to do on our stop over in Quy Nhon, so we just strolled around and ate lots of food. The thing that made this city to one of my favourites, was the fact that we could find all of our favorite Vietnamese dishes in one day!
The ancient town of Hoi An
I’ve been hearing stories about Vietnamese people being rude and scamming foreigners, and I had no idea about what these people were talking about, until I arrived in Hoi An. Although, not even a thousand words can describe the beauty of this place – The oldest town in Southeast Asia. The cozy streets, the old charming buildings, the colourful lanterns which light up at night. It’s just amazing.
We stayed at Hoi An Merrily Homestay, which I highly recommend anyone to stay. The place itself is clean, located near the ancient town and has a nice atmosphere. But the best thing about this place is the family; They’re all really friendly, accommodating and made us feel like home. Breakfast was included and sometimes they made us lunch and dinner as well. I felt like we got more than we payed for, so don’t hesitate!
It felt good to spend a couple of days in Da Nang, since it’s a big city and everything is convenient. We were quite tired so we didn’t do much sightseeing. We were mostly interested in exploring the food – since they have everything!
We met this old man, who advised us to continue on the Ho Chi Minh route, which is a mountain road. He warned us that it’s the most isolated road in Vietnam and it could be dangerous – but the beautiful landscapes makes it worth it.
Ho Chi Minh Mountain Roads
The old man was right. The sceneries were really amazing. Although, on our third day, we were considering riding on the highway instead, since we would be driving more than 100 miles without electricity, shops, food or water. But then, we insisted on doing it anyway. Although, we were not expecting the roads to be that rocky, narrow and curvy – so we weren’t really counting on driving 20 km/h to avoid accidents – which made the trip longer than we expected. But I can tell you this – it was definitely worth it.
I was expecting another city with not much not to do, but man I was wrong. This place was the most beautiful one I’ve visited in Vietnam. There are many places to visit, but unfortunately we only had one day to go around. I will let the picture speak for themselves.
Hanoi – The end of the trip
We needed to stay two weeks in Hanoi, in order to recover from our trip. All in all it took us approximately one month to travel from Ho Chi Minh, all the way to Hanoi. It got pretty tiring in the end. But despite the pollution, the blue marks on my butt and the heat from the sun – It was one of my most memorable trips – and honestly, it was after this trip that I became less fancy, less picky and more adventurous.