Vietnam is a place where one can get completely soaked in the aesthetics of nature. Everyone needs a break from their mundane chores and experience something refreshing that can soothe their frayed nerves – a visit to Vietnam, in the lap of the nature is the best option. I cherish my stay at Vietnam and I want you all to witness a glimpse of my experience at Danang , Hoi-An and Hanoi. The best time to visit Vietnam is around September to December as the weather is really nice with a temperature of 26 degree Celsius.
Day 1 – Arrive at Danang
Danang is the 4th largest city in Vietnam. The city of Danang is ringed by the Marble mountains on one side and the South China Sea on the other. I stayed at the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort, a five star hotel situated on the tranquil beachfront of the Non Nuoc Beach and it takes only 20 minutes to reach the resort from Danang International Airport. After checking into the hotel I headed towards Hoi An which has been awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most surreal places I’ve been to in this part of Asia. I took a car to Hoi An and reached there within 20 minutes from Sheraton Grand Da Nang. I spent the rest of the evening there exploring the night market. There is so much to do and so many cafes and restaurants to just sit and take in the vibe of the place. I will be sharing more about this on a separate blog post.
Travel Tip – stay in Hoi An and make a day trip to Da Nang since there’s not much to do in Da Nang. If you’re staying for long you can do a day trip to Da Nang from Hoi An or if you’re going for 3 days, stay 2 days at Hoi An and one day at Da Nang.
Day 2 – Hoi An
Spent the entire day in Hoi An, exploring the vintage old town. There are 4 museums at Hoi An highlighting the history of the region but due to shortage of time I could only visit 2 of them. I went to the Museum of History and Culture, which was originally a pagoda, built in the 17th century by the Minh Huong villagers. It contains artefacts and relics from Su Huyh, Champa, dai Viet periods. Next I visited the Hoi An Folklore Museum, which is located in a 150 year old Chinese trade house. It is the largest 2 storey wooden building in the ancient city. This museum has plastic folk art, performing folk arts and artefacts related to the daily life of the Hoi-An residents. Walked around the Japanese covered bridge which is one of the most iconic attractions of Vietnam. If you are not into museums you can cycle to the nearby beach and spend sometime there or also take a boat to Cham island. Hoi An hosts a number of cooking classes where you can learn to make Cao Lao, a signature dish of the city. So you have plenty of options. Visited the night market again because why not!
Day 3 – Da Nang and Bana Hills
Start your journey early in the morning to Ba Na hills so that you can get back to Da Nang by 3pm and explore Da Nang. Ba Na Hills is a mountain top resort that looks like a medieval castle, but inside the stone walls are modern accommodations and luxurious facilities. Take a cab to Ba Na Hills, the journey is quite time consuming but a visit to Ba Na hills is worth it. Ba Na Hills is known as the French Alps of Vietnam. Take a cable car ride and the view beneath is spectacular. The magnificent Da Nang and the distance coast
look amazing from such a height. The cobble stone paths and the European styled buildings are the eye catchers of Ba Na Hills. There’s a wax museum too and a Fantasy Amusement Park. And then there’s the Golden Bridge which is one of the most instagrammed places from Vietnam.
Once you are back to Da Nang visit the spectacular Marble Mountains which are rocky limestone outcrops jutting out of the beach. The path is not very comfortable and full of stones but the magnificent views of the Non Nuoc Beach and the South China Sea will make you forget your tiredness. The rest of the evening can be spent exploring the night life of Da Nang.
Day 4 – Hanoi
On the 4th day I traveled to the national capital Hanoi and went there by air (Vietjet Air). It took me 1hour and 20 minutes to reach Hanoi and I stayed at a cute Airbnb in the old quarter. Tourist destinations at Hanoi are divided into- old quarter and French quarters. The political centre Ba Dinh has a high concentration of Vietnamese government headquarters, including the Presidential palace and the National Assembly, most of which display aesthetics of French architecture. I was amazed to see the One Pillar Pagoda which was built for the devotees of Avalokishvar Bodhiswatta. My first destination was the Train station. There are cafes around a fully functional train track, tourists walk around clicking pictures and checking out the cafes. Everything changes drastically with the shop owners trying to grab tables and chairs out of the tracks and tourists finding a safe spot just before the train passes by. Quite an experience but I have heard the train street is shut forever because of safety concerns.
Then I took a walk around the Hoan Kiem Lake after dinner. The lush green trees and the chirping of unknown birds made the place a tranquil one. There’s a temple in the middle of the calm lake known as the Turtle Tower. Near the northern shore of the lake lies the Jade island on which the beautiful Temple of Jade Mountain stands. Jade Island is connected to the shore by a vermillion coloured flagged bridge- the Huc Bridge. The Temple of the Jade Mountain looks mesmerising during the night as it gets decorated with beautiful yellow and golden lights.
Day 5 – Ha Long Bay
I wanted to visit Ha Long Bay when in Hanoi so I took a trip for one day to the coast. The King Kong film was shot here so many people call it – the King Kong Island. The
region was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The surrealistic scenery creates a soothing impact on your eyes and mind. I had reservations for Halong Bay Cruises and I opted for the Signature Halong Cruise. It also offers stops for swimming, fishing, snorkeling and kayaking. My cruise stopped at Ti Top Island. The beach of the island is its main draw where tourists can enjoy swimming and lounge on the sand back. The view from the cruise is memorable. The cool and calm water, the moist breeze and the euphoric islands makes an unique combination at the Ha Long Bay and you will want to visit this place again and again. It is very EASY TO GET SCAMMED in Vietnam so I’m leaving a screenshot from where I did my bookings for the same. You can get in touch with me personally and I’ll give you the WhatsApp number of the guide.
Since I did a day trip to Ha Long Bay once I got back to Hanoi I hopped over to the night market. I love street shopping and it was an ideal place for me so I ended up buying beautiful souvenirs and unique handmade decor. The price is very reasonable (you need to bargain) and you can get a whole range of products from traditional Vietnamese carpets, small furniture, clothes, Vietnamese hats, show pieces, delicate wood and bamboo handcrafts, make-up and ornaments.
Day 6 – Hanoi
Next day I went forward to visit a church- St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi. I felt peaceful and calm after stepping inside the sanctuary. The architecture was breathtaking as it is built in a Gothic revival. After spending some peaceful time inside the church I headed to the Cong Cafe, I have been to this cafe on all the days I spent in Hanoi. After which I visited the Hao Lo Prison Memorial and The Temple of Literature. Will write a detailed post about my stay in Hanoi on a separate blog post. Left for Delhi on the 6th day!
Hope this itinerary helps you plan your trip to Vietnam. You can also include Ho Chi Minh and Sapa to your itinerary accordingly which I have saved for the next time.
I will be sharing detailed blog posts about each city separately very soon. If you have any questions please ask. My experience at Vietnam has been very unique as this place knows how to take care of the serene nature as well as provide luxury at the same time.