Why Vietnam you ask? We chatted long and hard about where to go for our honeymoon since we both wanted it to be a once in a lifetime trip. And indeed it was! Vietnam didn’t disappoint us in the slightest!
Our first port of call was Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City, formally known as Saigon. This city was buzzing with life and TRAFFIC. Everywhere we looked there seemed to be someone or sometimes an entire family on their seemingly preferred mode of transport...a moped.
We wanted to see the city for its full glory so we went up Bitexco Financial Tower, Ho Chi Minh’s tallest building. It’s a staggering 262.5m tall! We enjoyed a cocktail at the top overlooking the views since it would have been very, very rude not to.
We wanted to build up on our knowledge of Vietnam's history, particularly the tragic and protracted conflict that took place from 1954-1975. The War museum was filled with a collection of military memorabilia with interesting artefacts about the Ancient Orange (America’s chemical strike on Vietnam).
In all the madness of the city there is always time for some luxury (we were on our honeymoon after all!). We went to a roof top bar and enjoyed some cocktails and beer. Vietnam by night is a glorious sight with all the illuminations of the traffic and billboards. And yes, there is still as much traffic at night as during the day!
A sightseeing highlight was the day we took a coach trip to the Chi Chu Tunnels. We able to experience firsthand how the Vietcong (Vietnamese soldiers) outsmarted the Americans by tunnelling under their base camp. The original tunnels are still there today so we had the chance to see what it was like to be a Vietcong soldier for a few minutes. The soldiers lived in these confined tunnels for weeks on end which is a terrifying thought!
There was also the rare opportunity to fire live ammunition, an opportunity we couldn't possibly turn down! Many others did, however, since we were the only two people out of our coach party to accept! I fired an M10 and Sam fired an M30 on the back of a humvee. It was both nerve-racking and thrilling but the main thing is that I'm pleased to report that there were no unfortunate incidents!
Next we travelled north up the east coast to Nha Trang, An Lam Village, where we were met on the pier by our resort concierge and private speed boat. This place was filled to the brim with luxuries and we weren't complaining! We spent three days here and the truth is that we did pretty much nothing apart from lying on the beach, indulging at meal times (and snacking throughout the day!) and kayaking and swimming in the warm sea. It was bliss!! And naturally we had our very own butler who waited on us hand and foot. We truly had a brief glimpse of how the other half live!
Next stop was the nation's capital, Hanoi, where you can still take in Vietnam’s heritage on every street corner...don’t expect a McDonalds here!!! We enjoyed some beautiful sights including Ho Chi Minh Museum and the Temple of Literature. One of Vietnam’s main attractions is the water puppet shows, yes you heard me correct, water puppet show. We sat for an hour watching small dancing dolls prance about in water and we loved every minute. It was so enchanting!
Following our time in Hanoi we embarked on a junk boat trip off Ha Long Bay. Ha Long Bay is said to be one of the world’s most amazing heritage sights and having now witnessed it with our own eyes we wholeheartedly agree! We cruised up through the bay stopping off at an enormous hidden walk through cave, a floating village which was even equipped with a school and a pearl farm. An interesting piece of trivia is that Ha Long Bay is made up of over 2000 limestone karsts which are said to have been formed by ancient dragons swooping through the low skies of the bay!
We travelled back down the coast to one of Vietnam’s smaller cities, Hue, home of the Imperial City. There we saw the walled fortress that was once home to the emperor Gia-Long. Hue is a back packer's paradise since you can travel anywhere by foot and grab yourself a couple of beers and cocktails plus pizza and chips for less than a fiver. Perfect for anyone on a budget and by the end of our awesome and exciting and expensive trip we most definitely were!