Xin Chao folks! I’m writing to you from my dreamy poolside desk (aka my lounge chair) in Central Vietnam – yes, we’re still on our honeymoon! You may have read in my wedding-day post from my Real Bride Diary that Jack and I are on an extended work + honeymoon adventure this year (and yes, it’s as wonderful as it sounds!)
Currently, we’re exploring one of our favorite countries in the world – Vietnam – for three months. After a month stay in the charming, ancient beach village of Hoi An we’ve been shouting to all of our friends and families why they should consider traveling to Vietnam ASAP, and I figured I’d tell all of you lovelies the same.
Vietnam is tropical, delicious, easy to get around, and oh-so-affordable. Imagine the dreamy spa-infused scenes of Thailand or Bali, now take away the crowds and slash your accommodation and food prices by a third (sometimes by even more!)
Not yet convinced? I’ll try to tempt you further with my reasons below.
1. It’s Basically One Long Beach
You’ll find no shortage of beach chairs in Vietnam as the entire country spans the coast of the Pacific. No matter which city has spiked your traveling interest you’re within reach of at least a few beach days (or for us, a few months). Here’s our favorite beach town…
An Bang Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam
A low-key beach town boasting a UNESCO designated ancient village, unique local cuisine, rice paddies, water buffalos and an affordable homestay on every block, there are plenty of reasons Jack and I have decided to stay put in Hoi An for ten weeks. At our current villa, we’re a ten-minute bike ride to the best banh mi’s in Vietnam (your new favorite sandwich) and a ten-minute ride from the ever-so-chill An Bang Beach. Buy a fresh fruit smoothie & spring rolls (for about $3) and you’ll get one of the beach’s many lawnchairs & umbrellas all day for free.
Where to stay: East West Villas – spacious & luxurious suites featuring spa tubs, balconies, and breakfast delivered to your room starting from $34 USD a night
What to do: Take advantage of the city’s famous & affordable tailors by getting custom made clothing (or any pieces you own remade in every color!) Lounge on An Bang Beach by day and explore the lantern-filled ancient village by night.
Other beach destinations to explore: Phu Quoc Island, Nha Trang, Con Dao Islands.
2. The Food Is Incredible (& So Cheap!)
Foodies beware, you’ll never want to go home. Jack and I visited Vietnam three years ago, ate like kings & knew we needed to come back for an extended eat-our-hearts-out vacation.
Vietnamese food benefits from a number of influences: its long coast offering a bounty of seafood; a tropical climate providing exotic fruits & vegetables year-round; a distinct French influence that is still thriving today infusing a number of beautiful francophile things – like butter, baguette, eggs & sophisticated cooking techniques.
Dishes are herbaceous and diverse – whether you’re a vegetarian, pescetarian or meat-eater you’ll find plenty to indulge in this wildly delicious country. While each region & city offers intricate and unique dishes, you’ll find most of Vietnam’s most famous and most beloved dishes in the northern capital of Hanoi.
Where to stay: There are so many incredible & affordable Airbnbs in Hanoi but we have our heart set on this stylish, light-drenched loft for $41 USD per night.
Dishes to try: Pho, Bun Cha Ca, Banh Mi, Banh Xeo, Spring Rolls, Fish Sauce Chicken Wings & Com Ga.
Other foodie destinations to explore: Hue, Hoi An, Saigon.
3. The Cities Are Wild & Cosmopolitan
I often describe Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City) as “Paris, if it were overtaken by Jumanji”. You’ll find young, stylish Vietnamese kids sitting out on terrasse enjoying a cafe culture akin to Paris yet overgrown with wild vines, banana trees & palms. The French influence doesn’t end at food and drink either, the city’s streets & architecture mimic much of what you’ll see in France, not to mention the vintage clothing stores that would rival those in the hippest neighborhoods of Paris.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam
Where to stay: You’ll find plenty of affordable lofts on Airbnb, but those looking to splurge can book a stunning suite at Fusion Suites Saigon with one spa treatment per person per night included in their rate starting at $120 USD.
What to do: After your Vietnamese coffee, get shopping. Find local treasures in Ben Thanh Market, hip vintage clothing at Mayhem and cool housewares at one of the cities many concept stores like L’Uisine.
4. Traveling Within Vietnam Is So Easy
With free Wifi available nearly everywhere, domestic flights dipping as low as $20 USD and English spoken widely, navigating a country-wide itinerary is easy. When searching “where to visit in Vietnam” you’ll find a number of incredible vistas & excursions. While so many destinations could top our list of must-dos, you’ll likely be inspired to knock Ha Long Bay off your bucket list.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Where to stay: You’ll want to book an overnight cruise to truly experience the glory of Ha Long Bay and Christina Diamond Cruise comes highly recommended starting at $240, with all meals included.
Other excursions to consider: Sapa, Ninh Binh, the Mekong Delta.
Vietnam is without a doubt one of our favorite travel destinations, and we think you’ll love it! But if you’re looking for more honeymoon inspiration browse through our travel section & find the best weather for your honeymoon on our Where To Travel: Month by Month guide.
Snag more tips from our Vietnam (& worldwide) honeymoon on my Instagram, adventureclaire.