January 2020 Trip Report

I'm pretty rubbish at writing trip reports but in short we absolutely loved Vietnam. Thanks to this forum and the help and info from posters who have been many times, it was a huge help and resource for our research and kept us on the right track.

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Apart from my husband being out of commission for 24 hours as he couldn’t leave the toilet we had no dramas.

Ho Chi Minh City

It was pouring down in HCMC that day anyway so I was quite happy to keep him stocked with loo roll and read my Kindle (an entire book).


Day one landed in Hanoi at 05:15, straight through immigration and car to our hotel which was on the cusp of the Old Quarter/French Quarter. Checked in (we’d booked for the previous night so we had a room waiting) had breakfast and got a map from reception with some directions to places we wanted to see. Set off on foot to the HCM. Mausoleum. Unfortunately in our jet lagged state we wandered off course and ended up at the entrance which wasn’t really an entrance so had to detour for another half hour walk. All good and we got there in the end. There was a small queue but it moved really fast. Paid our respects then wandered around the grounds for a bit. Then the heavens opened and thanks to a street seller I ended up with a rather nice tartan umbrella, quite fitting as we’re Scottish.

We then walked to Hoa Lo Prison where we escaped the rain for a bit. It was interesting to read about the history of the museum and its dreadful past. After a couple of hours the rain was still very heavy so we jumped in a Grab and to be a bit honest it’s hazy from here. At one point we went to a mall and I purchased a new pair of trainers as not only were mine sopping wet, white wasn’t a good idea in the first place. I can’t remember we where we ate but do remember having a couple of Hanoi beers that went down well.

We’d done a fair bit of walking round the city so went back to the hotel, had a drink and went to bed. Next morning we went for a wander then headed to the airport as we were de-camping to Cambodia.

Back from Cambodia landed in HCMC around lunchtime and it was absolutely manic, seemed like it took forever getting to our hotel due to traffic. Our hotel near Dong Khoi Street overlooked the river and had a great view thanks to the high floor we were on. Checked in, dropped our bags and ventured into the fray. We had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant on Dong Khoi and wandered about for a while before going to the Bitexco Financial Tower where we did the Heineken experience which was good fun. Spend the rest of the evening wandering around and soaking in the (frantic) atmosphere.

Cu Chi Tunnels

Next day we took a speedboat to the Cu Chi Tunnels which was an enlightening experience. Got back at lunchtime and walked to the War Remnants Museum which was an even more sobering experience. Caught a Grab back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out for dinner. Then it went downhill with my husband spending the night in the lav and me wandering the streets at 5am looking for an all night pharmacy, which I found. We had to cancel our trip to the Mekong next day but the company graciously refunded our money. As I said above it didn’t look like the best of days for a trip up the river on a boat. Meds from the pharmacy worked and we managed to go out to eat in the evening. Hotel was very good supplying loo roll and ginger tea.

Phu Quoc Island

Next day we headed to Phu Quoc for 10 nights at Fusion Resort which was exactly what we needed, we were both knackered. There’s not a great deal to see on the island but we covered it all by doing a couple of trips, one on a jeep which was brilliant. We also went to the night market which was an experience but nothing great.


Lastly we flew back to Hanoi, staying near Hoan Kiem Lake. We visited Train Street, had a few beers and enjoyed the experience and the company of the family that we sat with. And the rain started coming down in buckets so we dived into a shop and bought a couple of ponchos went on our merry way undeterred. Had some food, some more beers then back to the hotel.

Next day was Tet Eve and we went to Lan Han Bay. Drive up was good and fast. Boarded our boat and set sail. It was dry but very slightly misty but the scenery was still amazing. There was the option to go kayaking but we declined, mainly because when we were waiting at the lounge pre-boarding we bought two G&T’s not realising it was happy hour and we ended up with four, so kayaking was the last thing I wanted to do given how strong the drinks were. There was an electrical storm that night and we sat on our balcony and watched it for a while.

Next day the heavens open and it was belting down but off we went to Cat Ba Island wearing some fetching ankle length, hooded raincoats which were a godsend. Then the thunderstorm started which was fantastic, just added to the atmosphere. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Back to Hanoi and we had a few hours out and about before it was sadly time to head to the airport for our 01:35 flight.

TL:DR – we had a bloody great time and fully intend to return to explore more of the country. Thanks manatdollar, Scott (I read your blog before we left) and all the other knowledgeable posters who helped make our trip a great one! PS neither of us liked Vietnamese coffee and the hard beds in Asia made me realise my back problem is down to a soft comfy cloud like mattress we sleep on at home, didn’t twinge once when we were away. All that time I’ve spend in physio too.
Reports from Scotland

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