This is going to be our first backpacking exploration of Southeast Asia. After intense preparation and very limited planing we departed from our hometown in Italy. Flight to Vietnam was really smooth and relatively cheap, just one layover in Doha. Nice place to spend few hours wondering around.
Hanoi met us with a lot of traffic, chaotic lifestyle and some really good food. We decided to go local and took a bus to the city center, after 14 hours of sitting it was nice to stand a bit. The ride was relatively cheap $1,40 but it takes a bit of time thou.
We were lucky to meet some locals and explore their favorite places. Couchsurfing and tinder apps were really useful for that, going and talking directly to someone would be even easier, people are really chill and easygoing (if you find someone who speaks English of course).
We explored some of the main tourist attractions by ourselves as well: Thượng Điện, Temple of literature, Temple of the Jade Mountain just to mention few; for that we rented a motorcycle. It’s a common way of moving around for travelers and locals, we weren’t exception. Even if they have quite affordable rental prices, barging is recommended! You should expect price range from 5 to 8 $ per day (deposit can be your passport or couple hundred dollars). Be aware that you will need some time to get used to the driving conditions.
We didn’t wanna stuck for too long in the capital (it’s easy to spend a week in Hanoi without even noticing) so after three days we decided to explore rural remote areas in the far north of Vietnam. Instead of mainstream Sapa our choice felt on Ha Giang (thanks Giannina for that). It’s much less touristy and still mostly undeveloped, so it was an easy choice for us!
Bus terminal is a bit far away from the city center and will take more than half an hour to get there by taxi (You can even get an Uber scooter ride if you traveling on your own). It can be good idea to ask your hotel if they can arrange bus tickets for you, price should be around 200.000 dong.
Let’s adventure start!