our travels to vietnam
Everyone has a list on hand of destinations they want to visit in the near future. For travellers and wanderlusters, it’s bound to be an endless list. One of the destinations on my list was Vietnam. It all started with Anthony Bourdain‘s No Reservations (his famous pho slurping episode) and then his love for the Vietnamese kitchen was showcased in Parts Unknown (where he visited Hanoi with President Obama). It made me put Vietnam on my travel list, but not just for the food. Vietnam is known for its stunning landscapes as well. And I reckon there’s plenty of photographers who will argue that Vietnam is one of their favorite countries to photograph.
We flew with Cathay Pacific. After spending a week in one of my favorite destinations in the world, Hong Kong, we were off to Vietnam!
beauty products for long flights
We flew to Hong Kong and Vietnam with Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific is well known for its excellent service on board and their smooth flying. It’s the reason both K’s and my family have frequently opted for the airline in the past whenever we’re headed to Hong Kong.
In Economy Premium you get quite a decent amenities bag (sleeping mask, socks, tooth brush and paste) but to prepare for long flights, I always pack a little extra. Preferably in travel size, so you won’t have any trouble getting through security.
1. Moisturizer – I always pack a travel size face cream and serum to keep my skin hydrated. With long flights, your skin is going to feel especially dry. I like to pack a moisturizing spray. L’Occitane has one that moisturizes and the coolness of the spray wakes you up right away! Another tip is to use your eye cream as a moisturizer. It’s usually smaller in size anyway and does the job! Sheet masks work wonderfully as well!
2. Wet towelettes – always a must when you travel! You can use wet towelettes for a quick fresh up (and use it afterwards to clean things).
3. Hand cream – to prevent dryness on your hands. Also good to use on other dry spots.
4. A retouching kit or any other product that fixes your complexion within minutes. I like using the Bobbi Brown retouching wand. It’s easy to use and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your travel bag.
5. A scent of any form. Think scented creams or perfumed balms.
Before planning a trip, it’s good to first determine what kind of trip you want it to be. We always try to do a little bit of everything. So our itinerary always includes a mix of city life, some tourist sites, the countryside (for beautiful landscape photos), food and relaxation.
* After Hong Kong, we finally started our Vietnam trip. We jetted off to Hanoi first.
* After Hanoi, we flew to Danang.
Check out our Discovering Vietnam post for our travel photography!
Where to stay: JW Marriott.
It’s a forty minute drive from the airport and it’s located about twenty minutes from the city center. Read more about the hotel here.
Where to eat: Bun Cha Huong Lien, French Grill, La Verticale.
Our favorite was Bun Cha Huong Lien. Here we discovered the truly delicious bun cha (I may prefer it now over pho). It’s also one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite restaurant (he even took President Obama here).
What to do: Hoan Kiem Lake, Van Mieu, West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Su Temple.
There’s plenty of sightseeing to do in the city of Hanoi. But I also recommend going to the countryside or places outside of the city for a few days. We booked trips to Ninh Binh and Ha Long Bay for instance. But there are also tours to Sapa.
When we were in Hanoi, we took a trip to the countryside of Ninh Binh.
There are a lot of tour operators who will pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi to Ninh Binh. We went with Ecofriendly Vietnam – a reasonably priced tour.
Our tour guide took us cycling through limestone mountains, rice fields and temples. If you like off the beaten track travelling, I highly recommend this.
In the afternoon, we took a boat trip on Trang An and enjoyed the scenic landscapes, grottoes and valleys of Tam Coc.
ha long bay
Ha Long Bay was the first thing on my list of things to see in Vietnam. We went with Eco Friendly Vietnam again and decided to rent a private boat with a captain and a cook. It was the best decision we could have made. The captain took us to the outer parts of Ha Long Bay, to some of the private beaches while the chef cooked us a delicious Vietnamese lunch. Our day on Ha Long Bay may have been my favorite part of the whole trip! After lunch, we went kayaking between the isles and there was also the opportunity to go swimming.
Where to stay: Fusion Maia Resort
There are a lot of resorts in Danang and most of them are by the beach. We stayed at the Fusion Maia Resort – a resort aimed at wellness and relaxation (which is always good to include in your travel itinerary).
Where to eat: Sofia Restaurant, Banh Xeo Ba Duong, Den Long Lantern
Food isn’t something you worry about in Danang. From Vietnamese to Indian and Italian cuisine, there’s plenty of choice. We got the tip to not eat street food so we didn’t try any in Danang.
What to do: Hoi An, My Son, Hue, Marble Mountains
You have to take a trip to Hoi An! It’s only a thirty minute drive from Danang but most hotels offer a free shuttle bus service to Hoi An (do check with the hotel concierge). We rented bicycles and cycled around town through the many fishing villages and rice fields. We also did a field trip in to My Son (an hour ride from Danang I believe) and saw the beautiful remnants of old Hindu temples.
son tra peninsula
After every trip we always spend the last days doing absolutely nothing. Which is exactly what we did here. It was our way of relax again after our busy travel schedules.
And to prepare again for our trip back to Amsterdam.