Vietnam Roundup

Duck noodle soup with bamboo at a street food stall in Hanoi

Duck noodle soup with bamboo at a street food stall in Hanoi

I spent 30 days in Vietnam and spent an average of $30 per day. I saw quite a lot, visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Ninh Binh, Ha Long Bay, Hanoi and Sa Pa. My experience in Vietnam was a bit of a roller coaster. I had perhaps the worst tour experience of my life in Ha Long Bay, followed by one of the best in Sa Pa. I got ripped off more in the past month than I have been throughout the rest of my entire trip, was shocked by the anti-American propaganda at Vietnam (American) War museums,  and struggled with insane motorbike traffic in the cities. On the other hand, the food was incredible, and when I wasn’t being ripped off I met some very kind and warm people. Overall I’m really happy I visited Vietnam, especially because my father is a veteran. I was able to understand the conflict from a more historical context, and more importantly I understand Vietnam the country, not just the war.

There wasn’t too much I missed that I’d like to see, but perhaps if I come back I’ll spend more time in the south. I skipped the Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc, which are both supposed to be beautiful. There’s also a ton more street food that I haven’t tried yet!

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Ninh Binh, Tam Coc, and Mua Cave

The limestone cliffs of Tam Coc

The limestone cliffs of Tam Coc

The surrounding countryside of Ninh Binh was highly recommended by some friends of mine, so I made sure to stop there on my way up north. The town itself is not very impressive, but there are several small villages accessible by bike as well as Tam Coc, a village near a gorgeous by surrounded by limestone caves and cliffs. You can also climb one of these cliffs, above a cave called Mua, to get a view of the area. In addition to the scenery, I was impressed by friendly people and cheap prices.

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