Making our way down Vietnam
Hoi An was our much awaited break whilst in Vietnam, we had a whopping 3 nights to spend here which we were really looking forward to. Once an old trading port, it's a beautiful little town where people come to enjoy the beaches, a calm escape from running around trying to absorb everything around you. It's also known as the tailoring capital of Vietnam with tons of stores that are eager to make you a suit from scratch or whatever else you are looking for. Time definitely stood still for us here. We rented a motorbike one day to check out the beaches, a fun 4 kilometer ride from the city center. The waterfront was beautiful in the evenings, with colorful lanterns lighting up the bridge. Since we were by the water, we enjoyed some tasty fish during our stay (steamed in banana leaves, garlic and lemongrass, yum!) which was a nice change from all the summer rolls and pho we had been consuming. There was also an abundance of cute little cafes along the streets that I wished we could have spent more time in. No trip to Vietnam would be complete without a short relaxing jaunt to Hoi An, and it helped us rear up for the next set of travel we had ahead of us.
Unfortunately monsoon season paid a visit to us on the day we were scheduled to depart for Ho Chi Min city in southern Vietnam, so our travel plans got pushed back by a day. We spent an unmemorable night in Danang in order to be closer to the airport for the next morning. We arrived in Ho Chi Min city curious to see how the south would compare to what we saw and learned in the bustling city of Hanoi, in the north of Vietnam. As a city Ho Chi Min felt much more orderly compared to Hanoi, a walkable city with some beautiful traces of French architecture, reminding one of the stamp that France left on Vietnam. Our first tourist attraction here was to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels that were essentially underground tunnels built by the northern Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam war. It was a fascinating tour where we learned a different perspective on the war, as the south was much more in favor of capitalism and supported by the US. Our guide was actually working with the US army during the war and was very informative about the history during that time. Two interesting options whilst visiting these tunnels- you can actually crawl through a tunnel to experience what it was like to hide inside of these ( not recommended if claustrophobic!) and you can visit the shooting range inside the forest, a bit scary to hear gun shots in the backdrop whilst walking around the place! You can probably guess if I partook in any of these . This was a worthwhile experience that I would highly recommend visiting if in southern Vietnam.
Our last stop in the area was to take a boat ride along the Mekong delta- a central waterway that touches through parts of indochina. We saw the floating villages on the water ( they had everything from floating markets with poles hanging our with the types of fruits they were selling, a floating bank, schools, hospital, etc!). The water itself was best described as filthy and not what I expected, remembering how we take basic things as clean water for granted. Whilst a good experience, I had hoped for something more than what I saw.
This marked the end of our stay in Vietnam, a beautiful country that we managed to cover the key highlights of in a little over a week. Our next adventure- Cambodia.