Following on from Vietnam from North to South: Part 1…
It was hard for us to leave beautiful Hoi An (in particular the stunning Nam Hai) but there was always something new to look forward to: a new place to discover and explore.
Nha Trang is THE place to head in Vietnam is you are a beach fan. This quirky beach town is popular with both backpackers and high end clients. Its main attraction of course being the beautiful coastline with powder soft sand and warm seas.
We headed with huge anticipation and excitement to the Six Senses property in Ninh Van Bay, a short drive and speed boat ride away from Nha Trang.
The resort is set amongst the rocks and nature of the private island, and blends in perfectly with the surroundings. It was the epitome of barefoot luxury, with rooms built out of wood and natural materials; a vegetable and herb garden where the chefs collect fresh ingredients; bicycles given to each guests to explore the bay; and platters of fresh fruit on arrival for guests. The attention to detail and service here was first class!
I could have stayed in paradise for another week, but our next stop was beckoning…
A one hour flight from Nha Trang and we arrived in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City as it is also named after the famed former leader. A few days out of a Vietnamese city on the beach had been enough time to forget what the cities were like – and I was soon reminded!
The energy, vibrancy and buzz of Saigon is instantly addictive – you want to go where people are heading; see what people are looking at; eat what locals are eating; and become part of the chaos. It’s a city that only gets better at night, so we headed straight out to one of the famous Vietnamese ‘fast food joints’: Pho 24 (Pho is Vietnamese noodle soup). If you have been to Saigon and stayed near the famous Ben Thanh Market it’s likely you may have eaten at this famous low cost noodle restaurant, (complete with pictures of Bill Clinton on the walls!) – and I promise it is nothing like McDonalds!
Evidence of the Vietnam war is never far away. Especially in Saigon which was heavily affected during the conflict. I knew while I was there that I had to find out more and had to visit some memorials. I recommend a visit to the War Remnants Museum which documents the conflict and gives accounts from Vietnamese people. Despite such heavy losses and damage to the country, the Vietnamese people remain remarkably upbeat without the bitterness you may expect after such a bloody period in time. It is inspiring.
A particular highlight of the whole trip finally arrived – a Mekong Delta tour. For me, when I think of Vietnam, I think of the mighty and almost mythical Mekong River, and it doesn’t disappoint. There is something magical about being alongside the Mekong; the history, the size, the length, the way life is built on and created around it.
Our tour started with a private boat journey down the river while our guide told us about the history of the River and its importance and significance.
We then got off at Turtle Island and took a walk through the fruit orchards and tried some delicious fruits – most of which I had never even heard of. We then boarded some smaller row boats, and were paddled up the Mekong – which was amazing!
Lunch was then served – a scrumptious feast of fish from the Mekong.
No sooner had we arrived, then it was time to leave Saigon, and indeed this incredible country. Vietnam is so diverse I felt in those 10 days I had one hundred holidays. I had seen some amazing sights! It really is as good as everyone says it is – the only down side was leaving… But I had a flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia to catch, which kept me from feeling too blue!
Stay tuned for my Cambodia post!
Written by Holly Brightwell | Asia specialist