Contiki Vietnam Review:
Last year I travelled to Vietnam with Contiki, and it was amazing.
Seriously there were so many highlights… I couldn’t possibly detail them all in one post as it would take too long, and every good blogger knows that short posts get more cut-through.
So sticking to these blogger rules, I’m just going to share the 3 best parts of my Contiki Vietnam Highlights tour.
Highlight 1: Kicking off in Ho Chi Minh City
The tour began in the South of Vietnam, in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
After a quick meet and greet in our hotel, we ventured out for our first traditional Vietnamese meal and to check out the night markets. The night finished with drinks and dancing, and while I started the night as a solo traveller, I finished with a bunch of new friends, excited for what was ahead (cheese but true!).
The rest of our time in Ho Chi Minh City was split between checking out historical sights like the Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum, and exploring the street markets, eating and shopping up a storm!
A favourite stop was the Cheeky Monkey, where hopefully you’ll still be able to find all our signatures on the wall (they’re even evident on the TripAdvisor page! “Liz from New Zealand”).
Highlight 2: Beautiful Hoi An
Even if you’re not doing a Contiki tour, you MUST visit Hoi An!
The streets in Hoi An are narrow and lined with shops, most of which sell custom made clothes, shoes and bags. There are no cars (they won’t fit) and not many scooters or motorbikes either – most people walk or ride bikes. It’s very peaceful.
After checking in to our lovely hotel, we took a toured the town by bike. Our guide talked about the history of Hoi An, and showed us evidence of the Japanese influence on the town.
WE then spent the afternoon ordering tailor-made clothes.
A little advice: Take photos of clothes you want made for you before you go – they can make you anything you have a photo of!
We also got to take a cooking class here, which was so much fun! Held at the Morning Glory Cooking School, we made four traditional Vietnamese dishes and even got copies of the recipes to take home and re-create.
The rest of our time in Hoi An included trips to the (very hot) beach, exploring in the markets, stuffing our faces in the Cargo Club (GO HERE) and relaxing in the hotel pool (fitted with it’s own cocktail bar). It was a great experience and felt like a real ‘holiday break’ as opposed to travel adventure.
Highlight 3: Incredible Ha Long Bay
My final highlight would have to be the time we spent sailing on a junk-boat through Ha Long Bay.
It was stunning and was easy to see why it’s one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
Ha Long Bay means Descending Dragon Bay, and after seeing it firsthand, its not hard to see how they thought up the name. There are over 3000 limestone islands in the area, each towering up into the sky and topped with dark green forestry.
It really is breathtakingly beautiful.
We sailed to the Thien Cung Grotto, which is a massive cave on one of the limestone islands. The cool, crisp temperature inside the cave is a welcome escape from the hot, humid air outside, and the sea view from the top is also impressive.
After being in the hustle and bustle of Vietnamese cities, it was to have some chilled out time to relax and enjoy some natural attractions.
Overall the Contiki Vietnam Highlights tour was great.
I saw more than I could have on my own, felt safe the whole time, met great people and made some amazing memories!
It was also pretty good value for money. Oh and our tour Leader (Luke) was also super lovely and amazing – ask for him!