Vietnam! you’re going to to Vietnam? Just you and the boys? Oh wow… That will be fun!
Those sentiments were most commonly offered when I told people of our impending October school holiday trip. Vietnam, the place that I randomly booked tickets on sale on mothers day, when I was feeling somewhat depressed about the state of my life.
I knew from the get go that it was not likely to be a ‘holiday’ per say, well not really the postcard idea of what a holiday entails. However I personally love a challenge, and now the boys are a bit older I think a trip like this is something that will build resilience and ability to adapt to challenging situations.
After just managing to get everything organised in time for our departure, think passports, travel insurance and a backpack, we made it the airport at the last minute and the impending adventure became real at last. I was extremely proud of the fact that I, the notorious overpacker, had managed to fit a months worth of stuff for 3 people into a backpack weighing 12 kilos! We also had a carry on backpack each with stuff for the flight and a spare set of clothes and our essential toiletries in case of if our bag was lost.
I had roughly planned our itinerary but had only booked the first 4 nights accommodation so we were free to do as we wanted after that. I booked a hotel in HCM that offered an airport pickup and a buffet breakfast, as our flight arrived around 10pm.
The hotel was advertised as 5 minutes from the airport (was actually about 15) as we were only staying 1 night and flying out to Da Nang the next afternoon. It was very comfortable and the first thing we did upon arrival was order room service! Pho of course and the fussy eater ordered himself a steak and chips!
The buffet breakfast the next morning was really nice and we explored the neighbourhood a bit and then it was off to the domestic terminal for our next flight. the domestic flights are very cheap and save a lot of travel time, our flight was just Over 1 hour and I think the train would have been about 17 hours!
Our destination was Hoi An, the ancient city. Famous because the old town was untouched by the ravages of recent wars which have seen much of vietnams historical building and monuments destroyed. I booked a nice resort style hotel on booking.com, with a pool and spa. Hoi An Eco lodge and spa was exactly as pictured and did not disappoint. The staff were so helpful and accomodating and it had the best buffet breakfast that both boys stuffed themselves full each morning.
At this gorgeous hotel, we mainly stayed in the pool all day and night! It was the first time my boys had really had the opportunity to swim on a warm night and they loved it, they were wrinkled little prunes by dinner time!
The city of lights, named so because of all the bright and colourful lanterns that line the streets, also known as the old town, Hoi An. After a day of luxuriating around the resort, on our first evening we took advantage of the complementary transport from the hotel to old town and went into town. The old town is in the middle of Hoi An town, but is sectioned off from most traffic, only allowing residents and shopkeepers bikes at a minimum. This makes for somewhat peaceful strolling around, although it can get quite crowded and also there is a lot of bicycles. So many cute shops and cafes selling pretty much the same thing in each store or sidewalk vendor. The boys got tired after about 2 hours of walking around and I forced them to keep going a bit longer. They were quite overwhelmed because this was the first time they experienced getting mobbed by people. Strangers taking sneaky pics of them, nicer strangers asking if they could take photos with them. Every person wanting to touch their hair, asking if it was real!It was quite overwhelming for them both and made them somewhat uncomfortable.