Vietnam: where to start.A country with a rocky past, one could call it history but after all this happened not that long ago. Whether it were the French, the Americans or other, they sure didn’t go down easy… Arriving in Hanoi, we were stunned with the beauty of it, the french architecture still lingers but they seem to have made it into their own Northern Capital. The City is bursting with life, streetfood and motorcycles. A very odd thing about Vietnam is… they eat on tiny chairs?! Not just one, every single chair in Hanoi is midget size.
Travelling to Hoi An a couple of days later, things kept on getting better. Danang isn’t pretty, unless you like a coastline with freshly built luxury hotels? Hoi An on the other hand was gorgeous, the old fisherman’s town has been kept more or less authentic. Markets full of fresh fish and delicious fruit & vegetables.
Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City… Hanoi is “supposed” to be the capital of Vietnam. This is where you see (my humble opinion) the traces History left, communism was very much alive in Hanoi- the North, a little truck filled with 6 police officers came to close Bars at 24H, communist songs on speakers at 6. Ho Chi Minh, the former democratic South. on the other hand again a beautiful city but without comparison to Hanoi. Skyscrapers,Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels and other Western influences.
What to do in Vietnam:
- Visit Halong Bay, absolutely stunning.
- Follow a Cooking Class at Orchid Restaurant in Hanoi (recipes follow when I’m back in the kitchen)
- The old Bridge
- Visit the markets, more authentic than their southern fellows.
Danang & Hoi An
- Ride the Hai Van Mountain Pass by Scooter (ok, Mathias was right… )
- On the road to Hai Van there is the statue of The Godess of Mercy, very impressive.
- Take a walk in the old centre of Hoi An
- Visit the Marble Coves, just outside Danang.
- Try to escape the resorts and eat local food at a deserted Beach.
- Best Pho is in Danang, don’t go looking for it on main roads.
Ho Chi Minh City
- Visit the Independence Palace, better than the war rememnants museum
- Have a drink in Apocalypse Now, watch and see how East & West meet 😉
- Visit the old Journalist spot at the Rex Hotel
If I can give you 1 good advice,visit Vietnam NOW. Don’t waste any time, the authenticity still lingers but is slowly taken over by Western influences, again…
Next Post: Singapore!
Marie & Mathias