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After we ate at local restaurant Wild Rice and stuffed our faces with local fish, spring rolls, rice and loads of other tasty and healthy fare.
From there we bravely headed out into Friday night, Hanoi style. We hit a crazy club where we were promptly handed shots of expensive vodka mixed with lychee juice. Healthsome yet intoxicating. Yay! The bass was mighty and the place heaving and our host, owner of the Ann hotel, was hilarious with a strange mockney accent, very sharp shoes and seemingly limitless pockets. We spent the evening in the VIP area overlooking all the gap year sweatiness, feeling smug. We got home very late indeed.
Next day was jam-packed with sightseeing. With a slightly sore head, we set off for Ho Chi Minh’s house (their revered former leader and former Chairman of the Workers Party). We walked around the grounds wearing our hotel robes like a posse of morons as we forgot you had to cover up in official areas but the trip was interesting in the extreme.
Next stop was the Temple of Literature, which was Vietnam’s first university. Hundreds of students had recently graduated so the place was awash with photo shoots. A preferred pose – with the girls at least – seemed to be gazing pensively into the distance as if thinking big brainy thoughts or looking demurely down towards their shoes.
Lunch was more clean traditional eating at Koto restaurant before visiting the Hanoi Prison, home to American POWs during the Vietnam War and Vietnamese political prisoners during the French colonial reign. A creepy place, made even stranger by the relentless, uncomfortable propaganda all over the walls and coming through the speakers. But an important piece of history so worth visiting plus you feel nice and cultural after and not at all guilty for having a cocktail straightaway.
Our next stop was to a two night stay on a boat in Halong Bay. We loved the old school glamour of the ‘Black Pearl’, a traditional wooden junk boat modernised for luxury tours round the bay. The thousands of tiny islets we sailed through were breathtaking and in the evenings a creepy mist descends that gives a real Pirates of the Caribbean vibe.
During the days we kayaked to floating fishing villages, took in a famous pearl farm and visited Surprise Cave, one of the biggest grottos in Halong Bay. Oh and got on a smaller vessel to sail to a cove that was overrun with very confident monkeys. That bit got slightly Planet of the Apes to be honest so was glad when it was over.
Our last treat before home was a day and two night at the brand new Sol Beach House back in Phu Quoc. We were tired from a full day of travelling so the spacious, bright, calming sleeping quarters were extremely welcome. We had a terrific feast of teriyaki steak, prawn salad and many many cocktails at the hotel’s restaurant before jumping into a cab for a late night dance at nearby Rory’s Beach Bar, a hidden shack down a long, dark track where you can sit on logs right by the sea and dance to backpacker cheese. Another very late night.
Our last memory of Vietnam was a dreamy, drunken day by the pool. Sunbathing, reading, some posing for last minute Instagram pics and some paddle-boarding in the afternoon. Sol Beach is ideal for couples and for those who really enjoy resort holidays and like the convenience of all inclusive. (Sol Beach is not part of a TUI multi-centre break but can be booked as part of a package holiday)
Vietnam probably doesn’t have the same crazy party vibe as Thailand and it must be noted that it’s a Communist country so there a certain things to be considered. Most bars aren’t open past midnight and clubs after 2am. And modesty must be observed in some public places and places of religion.
The weather was hot but overcast in November and if you’re prone to mosquito bites like us, DOUSE yourself in spray and cover up as they are everywhere.
However, its a country of such history and culture, it’s hard not to love it. The people are friendly and courteous, the food healthy and plentiful (though don’t eat street pork we were warned several times) and the vibe, dynamic and just a little bit mystical. And that’s just the small part we saw!
TUI offers a seven night
multi-centre holiday to Vietnam on the Wonders of Halong Bay tour and stay which includes
5 nights on the Wonder of Halong Bay Tour followed by a
2 night stay in Phu Quoc from £1,801 per person . Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from Gatwick airport on Wednesday 21st February 2018and all transfers. To find out more about this holiday or to book go to tui.co.uk and www.tui.co.uk/holidays/multi-centre
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Source : https://uk.news.yahoo.com/vietnam-hayley-coyle-160012792.html