Like promised last week, there is a part two to my In 8 beds around Vietnam post.
So, to sum up the first four beds: Hanoi, Lemon Cruise – Halong Bay, Night Bus to Sapa and my lovely homestay in a Hmong tribe.
After that and another night bus I ventured on to new adventures in Hue.
#1 Hue – FA Backpackers Hostel
At this hostel I had one of those very interesting nights that are sometimes inevitable when staying in dorms. After two guys came in very drunk around midnight (which wasn’t too bad because I just got to bed and they actually fell asleep right away) one of them decided at 3am that he didn’t feel too good and instead of going to the bathroom like normal people do, he just ran outside on the balcony and threw up there. Not over the balcony, but on it, obviously. And I guess I don’t have to mention that he himself didn’t clean it up the next day, the cleaning lady had to. Backpackers…
But anyways. That’s not really the reason why I started writing this post. Let’s talk about Hue.
I planned on staying here for two nights but ended up only staying for one. Beside the Citadel and some Tombs, there is not much to see. Even the night market was a little bit disappointing. This sounds really negative, I know, but it really didn’t blow me away. Still nice to have a stop between Hanoi and Hoi An, because otherwise it’s a pretty damn long bus ride.
#2 Hoi An – Tribee Kinh
Ah Hoi An, I miss you. This place was probably my favourite place in all of Vietnam (next to the little village in Sapa) even though it doesn’t have that many different things to do. I guess it was just the atmosphere, especially at night, with all the lanterns and the candles and the river and the music and NO CARS OR MOTORBIKES (at least in the old town). I was supposed to stay for 2 nights and ended up staying for 4.
I guess all places are made by the people you meet there, because I also met a lot of people who didn’t enjoy Hoi An as much as I did. Like I said, there’s not much to do, so all I did was go to the beach, go for a coffee, go for food, go out. And obviously, all this is more exciting with great people.
And trust me, you’ll find them at Tribee Kinh. The hostel has a great common area and offers a lot of activities that make it easy for anyone to meet new people. And on top of that, it’s clean! Definitely try stay there if you are going, but book ahead as they are fully booked most of the time.
So what can you actually do in Hoi An?
- Get something tailor made. I wasn’t planning on doing it but on my walk to find a new bag, I found this place called Bibo and actually ended up getting a jumpsuit for my upcoming graduation made. And I was definitely pretty alone with only getting one piece done, since most people renewed their whole wardrobe during their stay in Hoi An 🙂
- Go to An Bang Beach and enjoy a day full of relaxation and yummy fruits. You either eat at one of the restaurants along the beach, so you can get a free sunbed or you pay around 50,000 Dong (ca. 2€) for the whole day.
- Go to Rosie’s Café, which is really hidden in a tiny alley but offers great western breakfast (French Toast, Avocado Toast etc) and delicious smoothies.
- Walk around the Old Quarter and have a drink somewhere along the river. If you are staying at Tribee Kinh, make sure to join their pubcrawl since you make your way down to all the backpacker bars along the river at one point. It’s fun! Where else can you dance to Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift or Backstreet Boys so carelessly?
#3 Dalat – Wolfpack Hostel
In between Hoi An and Ho-Chi-Minh-City there are two options to break up the 24 hour bus ride: Dalat or Mui Ne. Dalat is up in the mountains and offers trekking, waterfalls and a lot of nature, whereas Mui Ne is down at the coast and offers not much more than sand dunes and the beach. I decided to go to Dalat, because I am a sucker for waterfalls and I really wanted to go trekking.
Most of the people I met in Hoi An that have been traveling south to north were recommending the Wolfpack Hostel to me so I booked a bed there. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The hostel rooms are very spacious so that you have no troubles finding a spot to unpack/repack/store your backpack without being in anyone’s way. The beds are super comfy as well and breakfast was included too. One of my personal highlights was the family dinner they offer every night. For 90,000 Dong (ca. 4€) you can enjoy different Vietnamese dishes in the company of all the other people staying at the hostel. It’s a great way to meet new people and try some different dishes.
And what is there to do in Dalat?
- There’s a monastry close to the Xuan Huong Lake, that you can reach by Cable Car. The ride is pretty cool and the monastry itself is interesting to see as well.
- The Crazy House is named one of the strangest houses around the world and trust me, it definitely is strange. The idea is to bring people closer to nature so the whole house is build with trees here, little caves there and a lot of weird bridges and stairs. It’s hard to explain, maybe a photo will help a little.
- Beside the Crazy House, there is also a crazy bar called 100 Roofs Café. The bar has lots of different corners and rooms and crazy stairs and if there was no music you could follow to get to the main bar area, it would take you a long time to find your way out of that labyrinth. I had fun walking around the different corners of the bar but once we got to the second floor and the actual bar I was a bit disappointed: It was just a normal looking room with a bar and a balcony. But it was worth the one drink we bought at the entrance.
- Visit a waterfall. You can do it while doing canyoning, something I was super afraid of so I didn’t, you can hire a motorbike and drive to one of the waterfalls yourself or you take a trekking or countryside tour which will bring you to a waterfall as well. I visited the Elephant Falls and was deeply impressed by how big and majestic it looked.
#4 Saigon/Ho-Chi-Minh-City – Hangout Hostel
My very last stop on my trip was Saigon, or as it is called now (and like I learned mainly by tourists): Ho-Chi-Minh-City. Here I stayed at the Hangout Hostel, which is the Hideout Hostel’s little sister, which is called the best hostel in Saigon.
Well, my opinion might be influenced by my pretty bad experience with bed bugs/ants/fleas or any type of weird insects that bit me all over my body and made parts of it swell like crazy the first night I stayed there, but I just wasn’t convinced by the hostel.
They have one free beer for everyone every night from 7 to 8 and around 9ish (except for Sundays) they leave to go to the Hideout Bar to start a pub crawl. I went one night and it was fun but definitely not the best pub crawl I’ve ever joined.
But if you are looking for a social party hostel, one of those two is definitely a good choice. And I was the only one of the around 60 people staying there that had bed bugs. So the chances are slim that it’d happen to you too 🙂
About Ho-Chi-Minh-City: It’s crazy. Even more crazy than Hanoi. Motorbikes everywhere, beeping all around town and SO MANY PEOPLE. I stayed for three nights though and I did have a good time. Here are some things I did and enjoyed 🙂
- The War Museum: Make sure you check that out if you’re there, but be prepared that it is very depressing and shocking. Obviously I’ve heard about the Vietnam War and I’ve seen photos and read things about it before. But being there and seeing it all in one museum… It makes you very sad. And mad.
- Cu Chi Tunnels: The tunnels are something almost everyone does when they go to Saigon. When the Vietnamese were fighting the Americans in the 60s/70s they started building an underground system with three levels to hide from the Americans in case of an attack. The tunnels connected different villages, had “hospitals” and made it possible for the people to live there for a bit if necessary. They were even able to flee into the Saigon River through them if they wanted to! Pretty clever, those Vietnamese people…
One thing I didn’t like about the place was that there was a shooting range at the end. Is it really necessary to fire machine guns on the ground where a war was fought and people died?
- The Mekong Delta: For me, the Mekong was one of the main things on my Vietnam bucket list, I just wanted to see and “float” on it once. I chose to do a one day tour and I gotta say, I wasn’t particularly happy with it. We spent around 30 minutes on boats, the rest of the time with did the typical tour things: Went to a honey farm, went to a candy farm, went for lunch – and were pushed to buy something at all of those places. If I had more time, I would have probably done a 2 day 1 night tour with a homestay somewhere along the river. That’s a thing you should keep in mind: Always try to book the longer tours, so you get as much of the place as possible.
Still, I’ve been on the Mekong now and I can check that off my list – yay!
And now we’re at the end of my Vietnam trip already and the very last night before coming back to my comfy bed at home I spent on an Emirates plane.
I loved Vietnam for a lot of reasons. The people were mainly nice, the nature is so diverse and the food is just delicious (minus the coriander here and there haha). I would definitely recommend going but there are a few things you should definitely know before going. I’ll tell you about them in my next blogpost 🙂