One of my favourite countries I’ve ever visited is Vietnam. Ironically, it was the country I was least interested in visiting in Southeast Asia. I had no expectations, and I think that’s why it ended up being so enjoyable and memorable.

Kayaking around the islands in Ha Long Bay

As I hope to return to this beautiful country within the next year or so, I’m not going into detail about my time there 4 years ago, and will instead endeavour to write detailed blog posts and guides for each town or city I visit in future. For now, enjoy a general overview of the places we visited along the coast!

I met some of the friendliest people there, ate some delicious food, relaxed on gorgeous white sand beaches, and perhaps most importantly, learned so much about their fairly recent turbulent history.

Learning about the Vietnam War at the Cu Chi Tunnels

After beginning our gap year adventure in Cambodia, Ella and I came up with a rough idea that we would cross the border into Vietnam by bus, and make our way up the coast to Hanoi before looping back around through Laos and Thailand, coming pretty much full circle within around 10 weeks.

It wasn’t a conscious decision to only travel through Vietnam by bus, it just sort of happened; and it was such a fun and exciting way to travel.

Our first stop from HCMC was Nha Trang, a fun beach town with delicious food and water sports

We caught sleeper buses overnight from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang, then from there to Hoi An, followed by a short trip to Hué, a mega long bus up to Ha Long Bay, and then across to Hanoi.

Beautiful lantern-lit streets of Hoi An
My Son temples, near Hué

Each bus varied in price, as the journeys varied in length, but they were super cheap and I think all of them except one had seats which fully reclined into beds, complete with pillows, blankets, a privacy curtain, bottles of water and sometimes a snack! They were air conditioned and comfortable and not only allowed us to travel great distances overnight, but saved us the cost of hostels for those nights.

Not the best photo, but shows the bunk beds on the night buses!

Overall this portion of our trip was around 3 weeks and gave us a fantastic overview of Vietnam and its diverse landscapes. I would love to go back soon and take more time with more stops along the way, with some inland stops too as we essentially travelled up the coast from beach to beach. You can get a 15 day visa for Vietnam upon arrival (by air) or easily apply online or at a registered tourist office in a neighbouring country for a 30 day visa (eligible for entry by air, land or cruise) for around $20 – please correct me if I’m wrong!

Ha Long Bay, our final stop before Hanoi

Published by Liv

Travel blogger and digital nomad 🌏

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