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Discovering Vietnam: A Journey Through History, Culture, and Natural Beauty

As a park ranger with a passion for nature and adventure, I embarked on a two-week vacation to Vietnam, a country rich in history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. I chose a vacation in Vietnam not only for its stunning destinations but also because it’s an affordable travel option. 

A heartfelt thank you to my local travel expert who helped make this journey unforgettable. I’m already planning my return, this time with a small group of friends, to delve even deeper into Vietnam’s wonders.

Day 1 to Day 2: Ho Chi Minh and Mekong Delta

My adventure began in Ho Chi Minh City, where I was warmly greeted at Tan Son Nhat Airport and transferred to my hotel. The next day, I embarked on a fascinating tour to the Mekong Delta

The scenic bus ride through rice fields led us to My Tho, where we cruised the Tien River and visited the tranquil Vinh Trang pagoda. The hand-rowed sampan ride through Tan Thach canal, coconut candy mill visit, and lunch at a local restaurant were highlights that immersed me in the local culture.

Day 3: Exploring Ho Chi Minh

district 2, ho chi minh, vietnam

With a free day in Ho Chi Minh, I ventured out on my own to explore the city’s vibrant streets, historical landmarks, and delectable street food. The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica and the bustling Ben Thanh Market were standout experiences.

Day 4 to Day 5: Dalat’s Natural Wonders

dalat vietnam

A bus ride took me to Dalat, known for its cool climate and beautiful scenery. The motorcycle tour around Dalat was exhilarating. 

We visited Paradise Lake, Elephant Waterfall, and Linh An Pagoda, and learned about the local way of life in Chicken Minority Village. The day was filled with picturesque landscapes and cultural insights, making it a highlight of the trip.

Day 6: Relaxing in Nha Trang

nha trang vietnam

After a hearty breakfast, I traveled to Nha Trang, a coastal city famous for its beaches. The evening was spent at leisure, enjoying the serene beachside ambiance.

Day 7 to Day 8: Overnight Bus to Hoi An

hoi an bus

I spent the day exploring Nha Trang before catching an overnight bus to Hoi An. Upon arrival, I had a free day to wander through the charming streets of Hoi An, famous for its well-preserved ancient town, lantern-lit evenings, and riverside cafes.

Day 9 to Day 10: Cycling and Culture in Hoi An

Hoi An

The cycling tour to Cam Kim Island was an enriching experience. We visited the Kim Bong carpentry village, cycled past scenic rice fields, and enjoyed a homemade lunch with a local family. The next day, I traveled to Hue, ready to explore more historical sites.

Day 11 to Day 12: Historical Hue and Journey to Hanoi

tay ho hanoi vietnam

Hue’s rich imperial history was unveiled through visits to Khai Dinh Tomb, Tu Duc Tomb, and the Citadel of Hue. The day ended with a serene boat ride on the Perfume River. That evening, I boarded an overnight train to Hanoi, arriving in the bustling capital the next day.

Day 13: Cruising Halong Bay

small group tour dinghy in halong bay vietnam

The cruise through Halong Bay was nothing short of magical. We explored the Thien Canh Son Cave, enjoyed a sunset cocktail party, and participated in a cooking class. The night on the boat, under the starry sky, was a serene and unforgettable experience.

Day 14 to Day 15: Halong Bay and Farewell to Vietnam

halong bay vietnam rocks

The morning Tai Chi session on the sundeck, visit to Vung Vieng Fishing Village, and delicious brunch marked a perfect end to the cruise. Returning to Hanoi, I had one last evening to soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere before my departure the next day.

Final Word

Vietnam has left an indelible mark on my heart with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality. This journey, filled with diverse experiences from bustling cities to tranquil countryside and majestic bays, was everything I hoped for and more. 

I’m eager to return soon, this time with friends, to share and explore even more of this beautiful country. Thank you once again to my local travel expert for orchestrating such a seamless and memorable adventure.

Gary Linedecker headshot

Guest post written by Gary Linedecker

Gary is a dedicated park ranger with an insatiable passion for the great outdoors. His love for nature and adventure has taken him to some of the most breathtaking landscapes around the globe.