Visits in the South of VietnamLMTV Supporter
Cloé Durdur, LMTV volunteer from SVI :
I had the chance to visit some interesting places in the south of Vietnam during my holiday for TET. Indeed, during these 2 weeks, I organized my time to be able to visit as many places as possible. I planned to go to Phu Quoc, to go to the family of my Vietnamese friend to celebrate TET and spend the last days in central Vietnam (Da Nang and Hoi An). However, if you do not have a vacation, I think it is possible to go to these places during the weekends so in two or three days each.
When I came back from these holidays, I had an extra week because of the threat of the coronavirus which has upset all the organization of activities in Vietnam.
Phu Quoc is an island located in the south of Vietnam. It means beach and sun. That’s all that mattered when we decided to go there with my friend who was another volunteer at SJ Vietnam. We became close and we wanted to do something together before she leaves Vietnam. The airplane tickets are sold at a reasonable price, so this is the way we went to the island. There, we rented a scooter to move around and it’s really practical, almost essential to have one! Most hotels or hostels offer this service.
We stayed for four days, so we tried several very beautiful beaches on which we had a good rest. Don’t hesitate to get lost on the island to discover the secret places
We also reserved a boat day trip to snorkel. We were with other backpackers of the hostel so we were a good group. The boat stopped on several beaches of the islands around Phu Quoc and let us have lunch and enjoy the sun.
In the evening, there is a “night market” in the center of the island, it’s nice to go there for the atmosphere and to eat fresh seafood.
Da Nang and Hoi An
Those cities are very close so I visited both at the same time. Da Nang is a big and modern city. Most of the shops were closed because of TET and the weather was bad. Unfortunately conditions were not good for the trip.
I really much enjoyed Hoi An, a beautiful center characterized by streets illuminated with colorful lanterns. There, I rent a bike at my hostel and I could get lost in the small villages around Hoi An to see the beaches. After fifty kilometers I was feeling really good and ready to eat in my favorite restaurant in the center og Hoi An. Fresh and cheap with good employees.
I came back in a sleeper bus (16h).
Ho-Chi-Minh ou Saigon
After “TET holidays”, I came back to Hanoi to start working again on Monday. Unfortunately, the coronavirus had decided otherwise. Indeed, the Vietnamese government decided to close all schools, kindergartens, centers for disabled children, etc., to prevent the transmission of the virus. We were then in “days off” for the rest of the week. Action – reaction, with another boy who worked in the same center as me, through another organization, we decided to book a flight to Ho-Chi-Minh to be able to be there the next day. On Tuesday at 10 am we were there. In Ho Chi Minh City, my first thought was: oh my god, the temperature shock! 35 degrees, and in Hanoi it was winter! Second reaction, strangely, the larger and more populated city is much less crowded and cleaner than Hanoi. The city seems more “in order”, people even respect the red lights.
In this big city, we stayed in an hostel.
We did several things to visit the city, we walked on the avenue Nguyen Hue, the “Champs Elysees” of Saigon with its superb city hall and its luxury shops, the avenue is bright. Also, in this street we were in an amazing building, built as if we added small blocks one after the other, each having its specialty, you can find restaurants, bars, shops, full of curiosities! It’s number 42, you can’t miss it.
We visited the Indian mosque, Notre-Dame cathedral, and also the central post office.
In the evening we ate in a small market with lots of food, great for one evening. You can find many specialties from Vietnam and even elsewhere. In addition, there were sometimes music groups that came to animate the evening, the atmosphere was crazy, we danced with Indians, Vietnamese and American, which was totally unexpected.
The next day we visited the war vestiges museum. Just do it if you go to Saigon, it is shocking, but very very interesting and this museum makes you think a lot.
In our hotel, we met some travellers with whom the feeling was good. During the conversation, one of our new friends told us about the city of Mui Ne, its beaches and its coconut palms, its atmosphere. They were going there the next day and they offered to go there with them. ok, so we decided to leave with them, it was Wednesday, and our plane to return to Hanoi was Sunday so we had time to visit other cities.
Sometimes this is also the mentality of travel, meeting new people and being ready to change your plans to share good times.
So we took a bus and drive for 5 hours from Ho-Chi-Minh to Mui Ne, we arrived on Thursday around 4:30 p.m. There I discovered one of the best hotels I have made, the “Ihome backpacker resort”, not especially for accommodations but especially for the atmosphere that reigned there, the word “chill” took on its full meaning. The hotel is located on the beach, it offers a swimming pool, hammocks, mattresses, billiards, kickers, … everything can be done in a swimsuit without any stress. All of that was very cheap!!
In the evening we made a fire on the beach and listened to the traveling musicians playing the guitar
We also saw the sunset over the red sand dunes. Indeed, the region has a small Vietnamese desert. We were on our own, on a motorbike but tours are organized, and my friend who went to see the sunrise were delighted and their visit was much more complete.
I thought I would stay only one night, finally, I stayed from Thursday to Sunday, and I left the place because I had to take my flight a few hours later in Ho-Chi-Minh.
Updated by Antoine, LMT volunteer