For two weeks of our summer holidays, we decided to travel North to South in Vietnam taking in the views and some of the history. We were not disappointed with our choice! Having already been to China, Japan and Thailand in recent years, I was a bit Asia’d out, but Vietnam is absolutely my favourite country in Asia now.
We spent a night in Bangkok (visited Kho San Road as I’d never been, never again). Then flew to Hanoi, when we got there we were taken aback by the traffic (madness), buildings (lots of them very close together) and the pollution took a bit of getting use to. But from the moment we got there, we liked the laid back vibe, hospitality of the people and the food! By goodness the food was amazing!
We visited so many places I’ve forgotten! Hanoi, Hoi An, Saigon being the ones we spent the most time in (we didn’t mean to spend so long in Hoi An, we just loved it so spent a week there!).
Recommendations would be:
If you need somewhere to stay couldn’t recommend Oriental Central Hotel enough! They were wonderful! It was my birthday the day we arrived and they were so lovely! They got me a cake, made my room up and sang happy birthday to me on arrival! So lovely of them to go the extra mile. Reception were fantastic and the internal desk to help book trips helped us make the right decision to book our trip to Ha’long Bay – we picked the slightly more expensive option, going for 3 days/2 nights on a slightly more upmarket boat (can’t remember the name, sorry!) which was fantastic. I forgot to wear sunscreen for the kayaking in the South China Sea….. mistake… LOOK!
Food – The Gourmet Corner Restaurant is the best meal I have ever had! It was top of tripadvisor restaurants in Hanoi and as it was my birthday we decided to book in advance of our trip and we were not disappointed. Booking was easy, just emailed the restaurant and they reserved the table, noooo problem. I got a dish which was accompanied by a broth which was out of this world. I got a pork dish, which I was told was like comfort food there and it was outstanding. I’ve since recommended this restaurant to a friend who was on his honeymoon and they loved it too!
It is located on the top floor of Hanoi La Siesta Diamond Hotel & Spa – which is a bit tricky to find but the Gourmet Corner boasts the finest view of Hanoi, it overlooks Hoan Kiem Lake, the Red River and the ever-growing skyline of Hanoi.There is a balcony, if it isn’t too windy you are able to go out! You have to go past the kitchen to go to the toilet. As I have the bladder of a toddler, I was there a lot and I’m sure the chef thought I was checking on him!
We lucked out once again with our hotel choice here with The Hoi An Orchid Garden , more like a homestay than the hustle of Hanoi, we fell in love with the food which was cooked in front of us and the beautiful gardens and rooms here. They kindly picked us up from Da Nang Airport for a small fee, which made things easier, upgraded us for free to a Bungalow and it was beautiful. Nice big comfy bed, tv and lovely big shower and bath. We decided to stay longer than we had originally planned. Hoi An had such a lovely feel to it and a lot of Japanese influence. We ate at a lovely restaurant called Morning Glory which was also awesome, we had been recommended to do the cookery classes, but it was fully booked for our entire time there. Across the bridge was slightly more lively – but cheap cocktails, food stalls and an ice cream parlour! Lot’s of people want your money on a night, be careful! Lots of little children selling stuff, that and the little man people kept hitting with burning incense were the only thing I did not like!