Last week I wrote an article about myOriginal Plans for Vietnam 2016. There were some changes to the original plans but I’m glad it went the way it went. I mentioned in that article that having a flexible plan is the way to go. I now realized that unexpected events will happen while you’re out traveling and if you strictly stick to your plans, you’ll most likely miss out on some spontaneous moments!
Da Nang to Hoi An
Having already pre-booked my room at Sea Lion Hotel in Da Nang, going to Da Nang first wasn’t going to change much.
I truly wanted to experience traveling alone for a couple days. The original plan was to meet up my friend Duy, who had been living in Hoi An for a couple of months after being alone for 3 to 5 days.
However, the first night, Duy gave me a call and ask me if I wanted to go out with his cousins. At that moment, I just ordered room service and was ready for bed but I thought to myself “I’m 12000 miles away from home! I shouldn’t be locked up in my hotel room and be in bed. I should be out and about!”
45 minutes later, they were outside my hotel and I’m glad they came. It was a memorable night that wouldn’t had happen if I said no because the plan was to be alone for a couple of days. Something came up and I decided to go with it!
Hoi An to Da Nang
Going to Hoi An, the night market was the only thing I wanted to see. Duy wanted to start traveling around Vietnam as soon as possible as he had been working there for quite a bit of time now.
We both agree to stay only one night if he took me around and show me the best spots in Hoi An. That night, we went to a seafood restaurant right on the beach with his co-workers and then headed straight to the night market.
In the morning, he also took me to a sky café (I can’t remember correctly but it was about 4 to 6 floors up?). This was definitely one of the taller buildings; therefore it was a great view of the whole town.
Da Nang to Hue
This was Duy’s first night of his actual vacation. He had been working for 4 months and it was time to start our trip! We spent the night at Gopatel Hotel & Spa drinking and exploring the nightlife of Da Nang.
After spending 3 days doing tourist activities with my cousins, we hop on the train and headed straight to Hue, where I met up with Duy again.
Hue (Thuan An) to Ho Chi Minh
The reason why I wanted to go Hue was to meet my sister and uncle for the first time in my 27 years of living on this planet. After meeting them and staying about 2 to 3 days, I would continue my adventures. That was the plan.
In the end, I stayed for 5 days. My uncle mentioned to me that whenever someone visits from another country, they would only stay for about 2 to 3 days. 5 days was pretty long he said but was grateful that I did.
There were two reasons for this change of mind.
First, after a day or two staying with my uncle, I realized that he took 5 days off of work to show me around Hue. He would’ve wasted 2 days of doing nothing if I left early!
Second, in Da Nang and Hoi An, Duy and I were spending over our budget limit. We realized this early and had a talk about it. We knew that staying in Hue would tremendously help us save our money. We decided to do this because we knew Ho Chi Minh wasn’t going to be inexpensive.
Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang
Coming from Hue (Thuan An), where streets wasn’t busy at all to Ho Chi Minh, where the streets were filled with hundreds of people on motorbikes, I felt overwhelm! I couldn’t believe how hectic it was. I felt a bit frightened but also thrilled.
In Ho Chi Minh, I felt as we didn’t do much of the tourist activities. We basically lived like the locals. We met locals that would bring us to the best coffee shops around that area, watch some up-to-date movies at the theatre (Avengers!), ate at some pretty expensive restaurant, and just explore around district 1.
This was also the time where my other good friend Paul would join us! He planned to visit Asia for only 2 weeks. His arrival to Vietnam was in Ho Chi Minh international airport therefore Duy and I wanted to be in Ho Chi Minh when he landed.
After that, the plan was to leave to Nha Trang, head to Ha Long Bay, and then back to Ho Chi Minh to end our trip.
Nha Trang back to Ho Chi Minh
Here we spent a full day at Vinpearl and other days just exploring the beach and town. The beach here was spectacular! One of the best beaches I’ve been in my entire life. It wasn’t the crystal white sands and clear water you would see in Cancun, Mexico. It was in a bay so it water wasn’t wavy and it had a beautiful nice teal color to it.
One night, we spontaneously decided to walk around the beach and happen to land at a beach party! We danced, took shots, met locals and other foreigners, and listened to up-to-date music. After that, we decided to swim in the ocean late into the night. The beach was lit up with big lights pole going throughout the whole beach.
The last day however, we made a tough decision to not go to Ha Long Bay. With little to no time left and how it was in the other direction of Ho Chi Minh, we decided to put Ha Long Bay for another day…
When Will I Go Back?
In 2017! I recently wrote an article about my plans going back to Asia 2017. I hope to visit more countries than Vietnam this time around but we shall see because flying around can cost a bit of money and I do hope to go for about 4 to 5 weeks. This is a possibility if I don’t move around a lot. But you can read it here! It’s still a long way ahead and things may change depending on the situation of next year but that’s just a quick glimpse of what I am thinking for my next big trip!