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Vietnam (2022)



Adventuring to Vietnam? Wow - you’re in for a trip of a lifetime! Whether you’re seeking culture, cuisine, high mountains, famous Halong Bay, beach days or crazy streets of the main cities Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh, you’re able to experience it all in just a matter of weeks or on a month visit!


Below is insight into my 1 month journey in Vietnam including my route, travel tips, favorite places to eat (for all the plant-based foodies) and survival hacks to make your landing & experience in a new culture seem smooth & easy!


My Quest For Zest...

Getting There

Book your flight

Sort your visa

Pre-Trip Essentials

Arriving to the Airport

My Route

Hanoi

SaPa

Ha Giang Loop

Hanoi

Halong Bay

Danang

Hoi An

Dalat

Ho Chi Minh

Can Tho Floating Markets


Make sure to check out my VIETNAMESE COOKBOOK, 'Quest For Zest: Vietnam', inspired by my epic adventure and the traditional cuisine (coming December 2022)!


Find trip highlights and day to day explorations on my instagram page: @root_to_rise_


 

GETTING THERE

Book your flight - haha quite a self explanatory step 1! I like to use Skyscanner for affordable options and easily comparable rates. Flying in and out of the big cities - Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh - will help reduce international flight costs.


I flew into Hanoi. From the airport it’s about an $18-20 shared van ride, 45 minutes, into the city. Your can find transport at the airport. Most hotels or hostels also have the option for paid airport pick up when booking and arranging your stay.


Sort your visa - A week before departure you need to apply online for an e-visa! Fill out the form here, pay a fee of $25, and wait patiently 3-4 days for your approval. Once you get the email, print the attached document to carry with you through the airport.


 

PRE-TRIP ESSENTIALS

  1. Download an offline map for the areas you’ll be visiting. I like maps.me.

  2. Download a currency conversion app - I like Currency Converter Calculator, but check out a list of recommended apps here.

  3. Get the app Grab or Gojek. These cheap taxi alternatives are reliable, quick, available so many places, and you can choose motor bike or car options for getting you around the cities.


 

ARRIVING TO THE AIRPORT

Make your life easy & when you land, before leaving the airport...

  1. Find an ATM and get some quick cash. Use your pre-downloaded cash converter app to find out how much to withdraw.

  2. Get a SIM card! You can also find them in the city but it’ll save you some stress to go ahead and get it there. You’ll also have access to internet when making the journey to your hotel which is always reassuring when arriving into a new place.


 

MY ROUTE...


HANOI

The capital of Vietnam and the big city of the north. It’s packed full of culture, chaotic city streets, unique food finds, tours of many kinds, museums, varying architecture & plenty of things to keep you busy and your days filled.


WHERE TO STAY

There are many hotels and hostels throughout the city - you can easily find one to meet your unique needs and budget on booking.com! I enjoyed staying in the old quarter for its prime location to main attractions and the local feel of the area.



I stayed at Hanoi Pho Hotel. It’s not a social atmosphere for meeting other backpackers, but with intentions for the trip being the creation of my upcoming cookbook, a cheap private room was what I was looking for and I was satisfied with my stay. A room with windows over looking the city was preferable!


If you are looking for a more backpacker or hostel vibe - there are plenty of options in the old quarter!


WHAT TO DO

Street food walking tour

Cooking class (Rosie’s Kitchen)

Train Street

Explore the old quarters

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Vietnam Military Museum (1 - 2 hours)


WHERE TO EAT - VEGAN OPTIONS (Search on google maps)

Nem Núóng Nha Trang Quê Hoa - local place, good fresh spring rolls (ask vegan & no fish sauce)

Bánh cuôn gia truyên - traditional rice dumplings (vegan option)

Veggie Castle - vegan buffet

Thien Tra Dao Artisan Tea & Vegan food - nice vegan options & tea

Chay food - nice menu of vegan food

Vegan Banh Mi - small local place, nice family, good vegan sandwiches

Chay An Lac - vegan buffet

Smoothies & Juices - smoothies... and juices... nice avocado, mango & coconut shake

Lá Studio - smoothies, toasts

Vegan noodles - pho Chay, small local place with just spring rolls and pho Cai Mam 1 or Cai Mam 2 - vegan options

V-Cuisine - vegan options


On the street look out for: sugar cane juice, Vietnamese donuts, dessert shops for local fruit & jelly in coconut milk, durian...


 

SAPA



One of the most beautiful and alive small cities I’ve visited, this mountaintop paradise is filled with epic view points, things to do, great food finds, waterfalls, rice terraces & more.

GETTING THERE

Arrange a bus through your accomodation or book it yourself on bookaway.com. It’s a 7 hour scenic ride. Be prepared for minimal bathroom stops. When you arrive at the drop off point there will be taxis waiting to take you to where you’re staying.

WHERE TO STAY

There are plenty of options to stay in the city or you can arrange a homestay a bit outside the city in more local communities. Check online at booking.com to find accommodation for your budget and preferences.


I stayed two nights at a home stay - Khen Mong Nature Home- situated about 30 - 40 minutes on the motor bike outside the city. If you’re comfortable driving a bike I highly recommend renting one in SaPa to enjoy the epic views and freedom of exploring at your own pace! I was the only guest at the homestay, which offered a relaxed change of pace. Although the woman and her children didn’t speak English, google translate worked wonders for communication. The room was clean, she helped arrange a motor bike for me, and she would prepare breakfast and dinner for me upon request. Staying outside the city and in the rice fields was beautiful for a few nights.


I then moved into the city for two nights - staying at May Nui homestay. The private room was affordable, clean and cozy. The location was central, perfect for daily explorations. The staff was super friendly and helpful, speaking very good English. I was able to have my laundry done, arrange a motor bike & get details of things to do in the area.

WHAT TO DO

Love waterfall

Silver waterfall

Photo opportunities: Swing SaPa (30 min - 1 hour max.)

Rent a motor bike and cruise to some view points

Fansipan (I didn’t do due to weather)

Trekking in the ride fields (Ethos Tours)



WHERE TO EAT - VEGAN OPTIONS (Search on google maps)

Visit the local market near the bus station, also vending food stalls in the evenings

Good Morning Vietnam - amazing vegan Vietnamese pancake, banh xeo

Good Morning View Restaurant - coconut coffee, tofu dishes, curries, can do vegan options

Ladybird Restaurant & Hotel Cafe - vegan pho and options

Moment Romantic Restaurant - vegan options


 

HA GIANG LOOP



An adventure of a lifetime - on this 3-5 day motor bike loop you’ll be driving through mountain villages rich in traditional culture and stunning views of epic landscapes. I did the loop solo - without a tour or guide - for a trip of full freedom and instilling trust in myself. Most people go with a tour group which can be arranged in Hanoi, SaPa, or Ha Giang through any agency or your accommodation. With a tour you’ll have guides leading the excursions, arranging your food and stops along the way, basically making your trip stress free. You have the option in group trips to drive yourself or ride on the back of a bike with a local driver. Regardless of how you set out on the loop, you’re bound for a magical experience.