7 days in Vietnam is definitely a very short time to explore both North and South Vietnam. Initially, we had planned a longer trip but duty called and we had to cut it short (better than scraping it altogether, right?). Now, Vietnam is a long, letter-S-shaped long country making journeys long. Since we had so less time, we took internal flights. (Domestic flights are almost as cheap as train travels.)
With 7 days in hand, we covered:
- Mekong Delta,
- Cu Chi tunnels,
- Ho Chi Minh,
- Hoi An Ancient Town,
- Marble Mountains in Danang,
- Halong Bay and
Yes, so much in 7 days! It was hectic. But we are young (or we think we are!) and madness is still in our bones!
The travel forums will advice an absolute No-No on our itinerary. They would suggest that you either stick to North Vietnam or South Vietnam. But for once, don’t listen to these. If you have the willpower (and insensibility), then follow our itinerary.
We took a flight from Mumbai-Chennai-Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh. Seriously long flight… so when we landed in Ho Chi Minh, all we could care for was the hotel bed BUT we did not!
1st Day: Land in Ho Chi Minh. Chill. Lunch in one of the many restro-bars in backpackers street. Go to Cu Chi Tunnels. Pub-hopping in the evening.
(Tip: Cu Chi Tunnels is a 2hrs drive. For our convenience, we took a private car for our 2 day stay in Ho Chi Minh. The driver-cum-guide did everything from airport pickup to drop and everything in between. He charged around 8000INR. It saved us a lot of hassle.)
It was raining when we reached the tunnels and provided some respite to the otherwise unyielding humidity. It was also our first tryst with the Vietnam war and its people. As the guide spoke of the war, we cheered on the guerilla tactics of the Cu Chi village people, from making the tunnels to camourflaging the entryway to recycling the American, unexploded bombs.
You can also take a walk (a crawl actually) in the underground tunnels. And you get to sample a meal of yam and tea that the soldiers ate. There is also a shooting range where you can try your hand at shooting.
Evening, after a tiny nap, we sat in one of the many restaurants offering Happy Hours in the backpackers street and drank and ate till midnight.
Next up: 2nd Day. Trip to Mekong Delta and a visit to the War Memorial, HCM City