Contiki Vietnam Experience Highlights

Aside from the fact that I had never properly watched Forrest Gump from start to finish before, Vietnam was a place of first experiences for both my partner and myself. In fact I knew very little about Vietnam and its history prior to visiting in August aside from the fact that it was a place where you could find amazing beef Pho and Banh Mi for less than $2 (AUD). We spent just over two weeks there (the tour runs for 12 days) and though some places were slightly rushed, the impression we had of the country was incredibly positive.

 

The long and dark history of the country is still very fresh and it’s difficult not to find yourself immersed in it when you can still see the effects on the locals today. When you hear the stories of the turmoil the country experienced over the last 150 years you’ll quickly realize that the Vietnamese are truly proud of everything they’ve accomplished and where they are today.

 

Contiki Vietnam Experience, Halong BayAs with any South East Asian country the usual precautions as a traveller should be taken and you can most certainly expect to be overcharged by locals for anything and everything. That shouldn’t deter you from visiting because we never found ourselves truly getting ripped off as tourists (except for the very expensive fruit we bought from two grandmas in Hoi An to borrow their props for photos) and everything is cheap in comparison to let’s say – Europe. So if you’re thinking about booking your next trip then read on for my highlights from the Contiki Vietnam Experience.

 

Contiki Vietnam Experience, Halong Bay

Halong Bay Cruise

This was definitely something that I had been looking forward to the entire trip and it definitely did not disappoint. We were a little skeptical when we read that we’d be staying overnight on a junk boat but boy were we wrong! The boats are so luxe (complete with AC for those who can’t stand humidity) and the beds were so comfy we didn’t want to get out. Fresh seafood meals, hot showers, happy hour and amazing sunsets overlooking the islands in the Bay are some of the things you can look forward to. The only negative was that we spent too little time here and would have gladly spent 2-3 nights on the boat and just enjoying the surrounds. Contiki Vietnam Experience, Halong Bay

 

Tip: If you’re going to go visit and plan on doing a cheeky swim in non-patrolled areas then make sure it isn’t jellyfish season because there were A LOT when we were there in August and I was unlucky enough to get stung.

 

Hoi An Old Town

By far one of our favourite parts of Vietnam; this UNESCO heritage listed town is incredibly charming and romantic – especially when the lanterns illuminate the riverbanks. Make a wish and light your own candle down the river whilst taking a rickshaw ride before exploring the street markets and indulging on local cuisines.

 

We were introduced to the famous Yaly Tailors (if you haven’t watched Top Gear then I suggest you do) where we splurged on new custom made dresses and suits. Did I mention they turned everything around in 24 hours? Insane right? We even managed to do a cooking class and even though it turned out to be disastrous for me (a cooking newbie) it was still an amazing culinary experience nonetheless.

 

Tip: If you love your Banh Mi’s then Banh Mi Phuong is a must visit because not only are the sandwiches cheap but they’ve been deemed to be THE best ever by Anthony Bourdain and we’re inclined to agree.

 

Contiki Vietnam Experience, Hoi An Oldtown

 

Cu Chi Tunnels

I have mixed feelings about calling this a ‘highlight’ of our trip but it definitely was eye opening to see and experience the reality of those who had to endure through what I could only describe as a true test of mental and physical grit. You’ll see the booby traps used, experience the small trapdoors the Viet Cong’s had to squeeze into and even hear gunshots in the backdrop for enhanced atmosphere.

 

Imagine being on your hands and knees (especially difficult when you’re both pregnant and claustrophobic) in a small tunnel, sweat profusely running down your face as you gasp for air in a pitch black hole. I lasted all but 90 seconds before I bailed and could hardly fathom that people actually lived in these tunnels for years to survive. If you’re a history buff then this would definitely be a must visit on the list.

 

Contiki Vietnam Experience Highlights, Halong Bay

Snorkelling in Nha Trang

Whilst the reefs aren’t as stunning as what you get in the Great Barrier Reef or in Mexico, it’s still loads of fun floating around in the warm waters. Nha Trang itself is incredibly touristy though there are a few funky beach bars and restaurants, which are beautiful to relax with a nice meal and drink at sunset.

 

Tip: Try to avoid jelly fish season because the waters are crawling with sea lice!

 

Local Food Tour in Hue

This one probably won’t be particularly appetizing to those who aren’t adventurous when it comes to food but if you are then it is a must! Having said this, my partner isn’t particularly adventurous when it comes to exotic foods but managed to try the local delicacy of balut (fertilized duck egg) – whilst that wasn’t the most delicious of cuisines, we did however try some amazing delicacies and handmade noodles.

 

Tip: Check out the local vegetarian restaurants because they really do know how to make a mean salad and spring roll!

 

Contiki Vietnam Experience, Hoi An Oldtown

 

Make sure you check out my Colours of Vietnam post if you haven’t already and the highlights from my Contiki Asia trip in 2016!

 

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Helen

Helen Chik is a Sydney based fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle digital content creator and influencer sharing everything from unique style to her adventures around the world through her rainbow tinted lenses.

  • Nataly Kimball

    This looks like such a fabulous trip! I have always wanted to visit this part of the world.

  • This post makes me want to go to Vietnam too! Such a great travel post love! xo

  • Wow! It really seems like you had a wonderful adventure. I am so glad that you and your husband enjoyed your first time in Vietnam. These pictures are absolutely gorgeous, and totally make me want to vacation there!!

    ~xo Sheree
    PoshClassyMom.com

  • Jen Lee

    I’ve always wanted to go to Vietnam. My ex-boyfriend was Vietnamese and he introduced me to the best Vietnamese food as his parents were always cooking yummy things. I actually had pho yesterday, lol. I would love to visit one day, but not during jellyfish season!

  • Amanda N Dustin Smith

    You’ve painted such a romantic version of Vietnam. I haven’t put much thought into traveling there especially since we have little ones and have yet to travel out of country with them yet but they are getting to the age where that’s possible so this is definitely being added to my travel list. The cruise sounds terrific and I’m glad it exceeded your expectations. I bet the Old Town is lovely and those lanterns are so beautiful. I’m definitely adventurous when it comes to food and will try anything once so I’d love to explore cuisine I wouldn’t find here in the states. The tunnels. That seems like something everyone should experience. Being able to step into others hardships puts a deferent perspective on life in general I think. Thank you for sharing this guide! I always enjoy your travel post!

    Manda | http://EvocativelyChosen.com

  • Hey Sweetie
    How are you?
    I always wanted to Visit Vietnam, and now even more. The Photos are so Beautiful and just makes me visit even more:)
    You and your Husband had such a Great time:)
    Wish you Happy Week
    Kisses Karina

  • Hey love,
    How are you? I hope you are enjoying your day.
    This is amazing! Ugh I wish I could be vacationing right now! Vietnam is one of the places I’ve always wanted to go to. I’ve been to Japan before but I haven’t gotten the pleasure to visit Vietnam. I do have to say that I LOVE Vietnamese food. I’m a huge sucker for pho! There’s a restaurant near me and I go there all the time. It truly looks like you enjoyed yourself! The photos are gorgeous and breathtaking. Thanks for sharing!

    Xoxo, vanessa

    http://thefashionstatement.net

  • Jessie Li (4evajessie)

    I love Vietnam so much! It has beautiful beaches, nice food, everything is cheap, and everyone there is so friendly. Vietnam never fails me everything I go there. I would love to do another short weekend trip there soon. Traveling with Contiki sounds fun! Once I did the Greek islands party trip with Contiki and it was definitely one of the best trips in my life! I should sum up my gfz and go to Vietnam together with Contiki!

    xx, Jessie
    http://4evajessie.com/why-is-it-important-to-do-your-year-end-review/

  • Vietnam is high on my list of places to visit one day and I love the little tips you have included in this post =o)

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

  • @queenhorsfall

    I never been in Vietnam, but I have heard how cheap and delicious their food, beside of fantastic landscape. Vietnam is definitely on my list! I hope we can discover Asia more by next year.

    http://www.queenhorsfall.com/

  • To be honest, I know nothing about Vietnam apart from its delicious cuisine. Your experience sounds amazing, I can only imagine myself how fascinating it must be. And your vlog is so great. I will definitely add Vietnam into my bucket list as a must-visit place.

    Cheers, Eliza | http://www.fashion-confession.com

  • Sounds like an amazing trip and great job on the video. Looks like you had a great time. And can’t believe you got stung by the jellyfish – that would have been me too LOL. Loving your vacay style – I’m a huge Camilla fan too.
    XO
    http://www.lehoarder.com/

  • LAKO EVA

    Looking unbelievable I never saw before Trips about Vietnam. But seeing the video you had a great time such a nice experience on the boat and I would try the local vegetarian foods. Nice street markets.
    Xx
    Eva
    http://www.themermaidfashion.com

  • jacqueline

    This sounds so amazing! I’ve never heard about anyone traveling there unless they’re from Vietnam. It looks like a gorgeous place to visit with so many things to do! I would totally go snorkeling and eat all the food. Thanks for sharing girl! Love this little trip round up

  • Candace

    I certainly wouldn’t mind going on that Halong Bay Cruise. I am from the South and we have humidity pretty bad, so having that A/C would be really convenient! I had no idea you got stung by a jellyfish. I can’t imagine that pain 🙁 I hated history class, but I am a history nerd when I physically see what I’m being taught in person. That being said, the Cu Chi Tunnels is high on my bucket list to visit when I’m in the area. Sounds like a great trip!

    http://www.thebeautybeau.com

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