Plans for My Month in Vietnam

OMGeeee, I leave for a month in Vietnam on Sunday. WELL excited. Like, kinda nervous excited.

I think because I’ve had a lot of time at home I feel like I’ve had a bit of time to prepare for this, and to think about it and I’m giddy about the whole thing. Vietnam is one of my favourite countries in Asia, maybe number two, after Japan, so I’m going back for a refill.

a-month-vietnam

– From Kyle Taylor, off Flickr

My month in Vietnam

So, plans for the month go a little bit like this:

Hanoi

I’ll arrive in Hanoi after an epic 25-hour journey from Heathrow.

I’m going to spend 4 days in Hanoi, with the main focus being FOOD. I’m going to do a cooking class, and a food tour or three too. I don’t have any fixed plans or list of attractions, because it’s there that I’ll be picking up this 500-mile Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City bike ride I’ve been talking about.

The first two days of the bike ride are in Hanoi, when I’ll meet the group (nervous) and work out how I’m going to cope perched on a bike seat for two weeks. The next day we’re going on a whistle stop tour of Hanoi – to see all the sights including the Mausoleum, the Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter.

Sapa

Vietnam for a month

– From Jorge Cancela, off Flickr

But before that, I’m going to go trekking in Sapa. I’ve had a look round and the companies look really expensive from here, even more so when it’s just me going solo, so I’m going to wait until I get there and then try and join a local tour for cheapo. I want to see the rice terraces, stay in a homestay, and experience the train journey to get there too. I was gutted to miss out on this last time I was in Vietnam, but I just didn’t have time, what with Halong Bay and all.

The 500-mile bike ride

On the 15th January I’ll join the cycling tour from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City for two weeks.

Hanoi > Mai Chau > Ninh Binh > Hue > Hoi An >
Quy Nhon > Nha Trang > Dalat > Ke Ga > Ho Chi Minh City

One month in vietnam

I’ll be cycling through small ethnic villages, going through the paddy fields, meeting local people, admiring the limestone peaks Vietnam is so known for, checking out the valleys and seeing the Forbidden Purple City in Hue. We’ll be staying in homestays, which I’m super excited about, and hotels along the route.

Apparently I’m going to see pineapple farms, water buffalo farmers, river boats, palaces, fairytale houses, archways and temples, and of course, markets. Can’t wait to see Hoi An again – it really is one of the most beautiful laidback towns I’ve ever seen, and is named a World Heritage Site. I want to hire a Vespa and go down to the beach.

And in Nha Trang we’re taking a boat trip and going snorkelling and swimming – it’s all just too exciting.

The most I’m going to cycle in a day will be 80 miles up the Hai Van Pass, and the least, around 20 miles. Yes, 80 miles terrifies me.

Overnight trains in Vietnam

One night we’ll be travelling Vietnam by overnight train, as I’ve done before. I’m actually excited to get back on them – so cool to wake up in the morning chugging along, and you never know the characters you might meet too.

Ho Chi Minh City

vietnam for a month

– From Richard Vignola, off Flickr

Then I’ll be back in Ho Chi Minh City. I loved it here last time, and this time the most famous festival in Vietnam, Tet, will be taking place. I’m a bit worried it’s going to be like that time I got excited about being in Taiwan for Chinese New Year, only to realise that everyone spends it with their family and nothing is happening.

Nothing is booked in Ho Chi Minh City for that reason.

You can read the full cycle trip itinerary here, but in short, it looks absolutely incredible. The more I read it the more excited I get.

Phu Quoc and Con Dao

con-dao-island

– From Graham Bland, off Flickr 

And then to finish my month in Vietnam I’m going to go to Phu Quoc and Con Dao for four days in each. They’re the island beaches you see when you see those kind of photos from. I’m planning on lying on a beach for a week, and only moving to get in a hammock. I’ll have earned it after all that cycling right?

If not, I can go snorkelling, scuba diving, squid fishing, or go and check out the bioluminescence.

My attempt at training

Month in Vietnam

– From Graham Bland, off Flickr

I’ll admit I haven’t done the most training, but I’ve been trying to make up for it over Christmas. I’ve been out on 4 x 20 mile rides and 1 x 35 miles. I felt like after that I got the idea. I feel ok about the cycling, I mean, I’ve got all day to do it and I managed those ones pretty easily. It’s just that heat that might get me, and the seat (I’ve bought extra padding, and padded shorts).

Just not quite sure about Hai Van Pass day, but I’ll work it out. There’s always the support vehicle, although I’d be pretty disappointed in myself if I had to use it.

Feelings about the trip

Vietnam for a month

– Photo from Graham Bland, off Flickr

I think this trip is just going to be amazing. All the sights I’m going to see, and having someone to show me around, I’m well excited. I’m reading books and films on Vietnam to brush up on my knowledge of the history and issues, but to be honest, I’m looking forward to experiencing Vietnam from the comfort of a tour, even a tough one, and then going to chill on the islands afterwards.

This, is going to be awesome!

[edit: Probably won’t have time to update the blog so follow along on
Facebook, Instagram and / or Twitter!]

Last time I went to Vietnam…

Beautiful Halong BayEating in Vietnam

What Vietnam Was Like, For Me

The Best Things to Do in Vietnam According to Travel Bloggers

9 Reasons Why I Didn't Want to Go On a Cruise
5 Best Countries to Travel to Lose Weight

23 Comments

  1. by Hannah on January 5, 2017  9:19 am Reply

    Oh my god I bet that bike ride will be incredible! best of luck!

    • by Vicky on January 5, 2017  11:16 am Reply

      I know, the route just looks amazing. Well excited :) Thank you, I'll need it.

  2. by Dave - Man vs Globe on January 5, 2017  1:05 pm Reply

    Looks incredible! I'm heading to Vietnam next month so look forward to reading about your adventure to get some tips!

    I'm very jealous that you're going to Phu Quoc, I just couldn't fit it in to my short itinerary

    • by Vicky on January 7, 2017  3:49 pm Reply

      It looks awesome doesn't it? Just another reason for you to go back in the future :) I couldn't fit it in last time either. Maybe see you there! Hope you have fun.

  3. by Lucy on January 6, 2017  1:13 pm Reply

    Brave move taking on such an adventurous trip but I bet it will be so rewarding! I'm looking forward to reading more about it!

    • by Vicky on January 7, 2017  3:50 pm Reply

      Thanks Lucy. Think it's going to be quite the adventure. Bit nervous but just mainly excited :)

  4. by Rachel on January 6, 2017  3:49 pm Reply

    what a fab trip! Although I don't envy all that cycling, I bet you'll feel an amazing sense of achievement afterwards. I will be following your blog closely as I'm also heading to Vietnam soon, although in the reverse order to you as I'll be coming from Thailand - Cambodia.

    Happy travels

    • by Vicky on January 7, 2017  4:02 pm Reply

      I know, bit far isn't it? Little excessive. It's meant I've enjoyed a guilt free Christmas though, so that's been good. Oh that's cool! Really want to go to Cambodia. Next time :)

  5. by Jenni on January 6, 2017  6:32 pm Reply

    OMG a 500 mile bike ride I do not think I could do this infact I'm going to Vietnam in Feb and panicking over a 2hr bike ride I got to do

    • by Vicky on January 7, 2017  6:25 pm Reply

      Ha, you can do it! C'mon, think of me peddling all that way, you can defo do it. That will be a fun ride too, sure they'll give you a break too. Enjoy the scenery! :)

  6. by AlicevstheWorld on January 7, 2017  10:22 am Reply

    I'm jealous that your heading up to Vietnam, I'd love to travel there some day! And a food tour sounds as good as any reason to travel to a country. The best way to explore a new culture is through your stomach!

    • by Vicky on January 7, 2017  6:26 pm Reply

      Totally agree. And I figured that if I do it at the start then I'll know what I'm ordering for the rest of the trip. I'll get my money's worth. Vietnam is awesome. Very excited to be going back.

  7. by SUSAN L HALL on January 9, 2017  10:11 am Reply

    My Son lives in Vietnam now he went travelling 3 years ago and stayed and met his Fiance who is from Ho Chi Minh City which is where they live now. We are hoping to visit next year but look forward to reading your adventures . I do know they are going away for the holidays at the end of the month which seems to be the thing to do so you May find Ho Chi Minh City quiet then. Good luck x

    • by Vicky on January 10, 2017  2:14 pm Reply

      Ar wow that's cool he liked it so much! It would be great to visit, especially Ho Chi Minh City as it's such a cool place. Yes, I think because of Tet everyone leaves the cities, so maybe I should too. Need to think about it. I'm in Hanoi at the moment and it's raining hard – there's quite a bit to do indoors though, so all good. One of the best things about Vietnam is the food so it's a good chance to try more of that :) Thanks for reading. I probably won't have chance to update much on my blog so if you have Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you can follow the adventures there too.

      https://www.facebook.com/vickyflipfloptravels/
      http://instagram.com/vickyflipflop
      https://twitter.com/VickyFlipFlop

  8. by Erin Southerland on January 9, 2017  1:13 pm Reply

    The bike tour sounds amazing! However, the part that really intrigues me is the trekking and homestays in Sapa. But that might just be because I am not such a strong biker. :) You'll have a wonderful time I'm sure!

    • by Vicky on January 10, 2017  2:05 pm Reply

      Ah noooo, I've just decided not to see Sapa :( It's raining in Hanoi and apparently it's even worse in Sapa. I'm gutted, but I'd rather see it when it's at it's best. I just don't fancy going all that way and hiking in the rain, as it's pretty much guaranteed. I'm just going to have to come back one day :)

  9. by Ayfa on January 27, 2017  12:42 pm Reply

    Sounds awesome. How much is the bike tour? (I posted on the wrong page earlier!)

    • by Vicky on January 31, 2017  1:30 pm Reply

      Hi Ayfa, it's around $2k, depending on when you book it for. You can see more details here: http://bit.ly/cycle-vietnam-vff

  10. by Mike Clegg on January 28, 2017  12:12 pm Reply

    Sounds fantastic, few questions. Did you manage to find a cheap trip to Sapa? Also is it possible to book the overnight trains south online? Thanks for your help

    • by Vicky on January 31, 2017  1:31 pm Reply

      Hi Mike, yes, there are a few sites offering to book your train travel. Check out my Vietnam trains post here for more details: https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/overnight-trains-vietnam/

      Unfortunately I decided not to do to the Sapa trip as the weather in north Vietnam in January basically consisted of rain. I could tell it wasn't going to be aa good experience so spent the week in Hanoi instead.

  11. by rebecca on January 30, 2017  4:05 pm Reply

    I love Vietnam! When you get to Phu Quoc check out a bar called Gecko Bar. Really cool. You'll see it from all the graffiti and make sure to go to the temple at sunset by the markets. You'll have an awesome time in Vietnam

    • by Vicky on January 31, 2017  1:33 pm Reply

      Ooo ok, I'll go and check it out tomorrow. I rented a motorbike today and had a cruise round. Nice empty roads. Think I'm going to enjoy a week here :)

  12. by Ly Ha on January 23, 2018  4:43 am Reply

    Vietnam has 4 seasons and a lots of destinations to travel. Thank you for your post, but with 1 month, you can travel to alots of other places in Vietnam such as: Mui Ne, Dalat, Tay Nguyen...

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