Say Vietnam, say delicious (and we mean REALLY delicious) street food, endless green landscapes and rice paddies, cities loaded with an intense historical past, and picture perfect emerald waters with towering limestone islets. It was our first time in this country and it will definitely not be our last. The country stretches over 1650 km from North to South so there are different climates and completely different landscapes to be explored.
Where did we go?
There are two ways to visit Vietnam: from North to South or from South to North. Since we were coming from the south of Cambodia we opted for the latter one and started all the way in the South with Phu Quoc island, from where we gradually moved up north all the way to Halong Bay. There are many very comfortable buses who are following this itinerary so it’s possible to do the majority by bus, combined with one or two internal flights.
We started our journey in Vietnam with Phu Quoc island, which you can reach either by taxi + boat if you are coming overland from Cambodia, or by plane if you are coming from anywhere else in Vietnam. If you are coming overland from Cambodia, bear in mind you need to get a SPECIAL VISA which allows access to Vietnam OVERLAND. You can obtain this visa at the Vietnamese embassy in Sianoukville or Phnom Penh or through a local travel agency. If you only have an eVisa (booked online) you will be REFUSED at the border as this visa is only valid for arrival in international airports.
After Phu Quoc we continued with Ho Chi Minh city which can be reached via plane or boat/bus (but the latter option is quite long and will take you at least 10 hours). From Ho Chi Minh city you can then continue on to Mui Ne with a super comfy bus (there are several per day – no need to book in advance, just ask one of the hundred travel agencies in the street to book this for you).
After Mui Ne we returned to Ho Chi Minh City to board a flight to Hanoi because it was rainy season in the middle of the country so it was not the best time to visit this area (rainy season central Vietnam: October – December). If you visit outside the rainy season you could continue traveling upwards overland to Dha Lat, Nha Trang and Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park which are highly recommended places to see.
After spending a couple of days in Hanoi we continued on to Halong Bay, which is another absolute must in the country. You can book a round trip directly to Halong Bay and back directly in Hanoi.