I had always overlooked Vietnam and Southeast Asia as a travel destination, never really having much of a desire to travel there. That is until I joined the 8-day Hanoi to Hoi An tour. Any expectations I had were far exceeded! WOW! Why didn’t I go sooner?! From lively urban cities to the incredible UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, and overnighting on a sleeper train, let me share my main highlights of travelling through Vietnam with On The Go Tours.
Cruising through Halong Bay
Let me start off with probably everybody’s highlight on this tour – experiencing the wonders of iconic Halong Bay. And what better way to explore the emerald waters of the bay than aboard a 4 Star Junk Boat in a comfortable cabin, with ensuite bathroom and private balcony? Sightseeing? Easy, just head on up to the deck and enjoy the beautiful views, or jump into a kayak and paddle around this mesmerising place.
TIP: Be sure to enjoy the sunrise Tai Chi class.
Overnighting on a 1st Class Sleeper Train
As soon as you hear overnight sleeper train in Vietnam, you aren’t really sure what to expect. However, once again my expectations were completely exceeded upon walking into our 1st Class 4 Berth Sleeper Cabin. What were we all worried about? It was spacious, clean, comfortable and our cabins came with A/C, and charging/USB points. The train featured western toilets which were clean too. You would expect it to be a nightmare being onboard, but once you get comfortable, let the train rock you into one of the most comfortable sleeps you might have.
TIP: Pack playing cards for both entertainment and an opportunity to bond with your fellow travellers.
Cycling through Hoi An and Farming
Wait, I have to ride a bicycle again? I haven’t done that in about 10 years, but the saying really is true, and after a shaky start, we were all off cycling through the streets of Hoi An, with the breeze to cool us down. You don’t have to be the fittest to enjoy this activity and the pace is so leisurely that everyone can keep up (although you can opt to ride on a Vespa motorcycle or take a taxi if you prefer). What a perfect way to see the charming town and have fun at the same time. You make your way to the Tra Que Farming village where everyone can don traditional clothing (great for that Instagram snap) and get to grips with traditional Vietnamese farming practices. Definitely a bucket list item and great to learn about one of Vietnam’s main industries. Top this all off with a cooking demonstration for you to live out your Masterchef fantasy!
TIP: Pack lots of bottled water and insect repellent.
Hoi An Street Eats Deal
Do not suffer from FOMO by missing out on this, which was one of the highlights of my entire tour! Vespas are one of the main forms of transportation in Vietnam, so it’s not even a question as to whether you should ride one yourself (don’t panic, a driver is included!) on the optional Hoi An Street Eats activity. Don a helmet and ride through the streets of Hoi An, enjoying the sights and stopping at different restaurants and bars to enjoy local Vietnamese cuisine, because you didn’t travel all this way to eat Western food! The price is totally worth it, and this was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life!
Vietnam is one of the best adventures I have ever been on, and it was with a very heavy heart that I had to leave. Make sure to put this epic destination on your bucket list because you definitely need to visit!