Earlier this year, 13 of our homeowners from Lifestyle Officer decided to ditch the Melbourne winter and go on a private three-week adventure tour of Vietnam and Cambodia where they took in the sights, tried new foods and cocktails, and saw life from a new perspective. Our ‘adventurists’ stepped off the beaten path to experience and enjoy some of the local treats and delicacies. The following journal entry has been created by the group, sharing their experiences for everyone to enjoy.
We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) early evening on 7 June. Whilst in Ho Chi Min City we visited Cu Chi Tunnels, a complex and fascinating network of tunnels built by the Viet Cong during the war, the Mekong Delta and various other points of interest.
On 10 June we travelled by bus to Da Lat, a cool mountain resort built by the French in 1920. Whilst there we visited La Ngà floating village, took a cable car ride and visited waterfalls and the Crazy House followed by a short ride on a train.
12 June We travelled by bus to Nha Trang, visiting the hot mud baths and a fascinating fishing village. Most of us tried our hands at travelling from our boat to shore in a traditional round bamboo fishing basket rowed by the local Vietnamese ladies. What a way to travel!
14 June we flew from Nha Trang to Da Nang where we then travelled by bus to Hội An. Most of our time in Hội An was spent visiting the local tailors, optometrists and leather shops. We all managed to come away with a bargain or two. Then after all that shopping we spent the rest of the evening relaxing by the pool.
16 June we flew from Da Nang to Hanoi for one night before travelling to Sa Pa. Sa Pa is a hill station built in 1922 and is very high up in the mountains surrounded by lovely rice paddies. The locals all wear their colourful traditional costumes and are a sight well worth seeing if you ever make the trip. Sa Pa was probably one of the highlights for a lot of us as we’d never heard of this beautiful village before. We did a long mountain walk and visited amazing waterfalls. A great time was had by all!
19 June we travelled to Ha Long Bay where we boarded a traditional Vietnamese Junk and spent the night sailing around the beautiful bay. We visited a fishing village and a cave which was surprisingly high up in one of the rock formations.
21 June we travelled back to Hanoi for a few days of sightseeing and relaxation, not to mention shopping, again.
24 June we flew to Siem Reap. Whilst there we visited Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world. It was built in the 12th century and we spent the whole day exploring the various temples and surrounds. It was a fascinating and spiritual place and is one that is well worth the visit. We also travelled to Tonlé Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. The houses built on the lake are all on stilts and it was a fascinating place to see.
All great trips must come to an end, and it was the end of June when we returned to a not so sunny Melbourne. After plenty of breathtaking moments, delicious foods, cocktails and lots of laughs, we can genuinely say a fantastic time was had by all.
If you’re thinking of making the trip, we’d recommend you stop thinking, and just go.