Ditching Christmas in South Vietnam

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Should We Ditch Christmas together and fly to the other side of the world?!! Let's spend 3 weeks in South Vietnam starting on the heavenly island of Phu Quoc enjoying the sun, seaside and beach for a week or so, and then move to the picturesque Hoi An strolling around the old town, visiting the countryside and beautiful ruins and eventually wrap up for the last week in the vibrant Ho Chi Minh. Mekong Delta and Dalat could be possible short trips to do once there. We could try the typical VIP sleeper bus/train, bicycle rides, motorbike rides with driver, markets, and of course Vietnamese food! About me 👋 I am Italian, living in Dublin for 8 years, and an architect, I love to cook, walk, read, and much more stuff. I travel because I'd like to know what it was like if I was born or living in that place. I like to talk to people and listen to their stories, struggles, and dreams. I look for honesty and authenticity, and I like people who have been through their self-awareness journey and live their life don't give a shit about comparing it with others. I support the impossible but noble causes because those are the ones making a difference. I keep jumping in the darkness because even if it's freaking scary, that's the only way to find out how good I am at doing stuff. Ok, sometimes I find out the opposite but still, it's good to know. I will be discovering this beautiful country at the same time as you, as I've never been there, but I'm offering to do all the organization/booking stuff. I'm usually a solo traveler, so I'm used to taking the lead. As a woman solo traveler in my 40s, I usually plan the main transfers and accommodations (apts or hotels, NO hostels) and then leave space for adventure and improvisation at the moment. I usually avoid luxury hotels and hotels in general, as I prefer to rent apartments from privates and feel the atmosphere from a local point of view. Unfortunately, after a bad experience, I had in Thailand, I believe in developing countries that's not possible. My trip to Thailand was amazing and the apartment I rented was just perfect if it wasn't for the never-ending quantity of cockroaches I would find every day. This digression just to specify the accommodations I'm suggesting in this trip are all in high standard Hotels with a swimming pool so even in the metropolis we can have a refreshing dip and a sun bath. In addition to the above, I'd like to specify the way I travel is to try and find as much contact with locals as possible, even taking slight chances if I feel too but always making sure I'm safe and sound. I suffer tourist traps, even if sometimes they are unavoidable. Last, I suggest using grab which is a local taxi that can be a car or motorbike w/driver, very quick and handy for that level of traffic! Depending on the number we reach, I would hire a private car driver for airport transfers or long distances. For the rest, walk and cycle! About the trip 📍 I'm hoping to find a small group of 1-6 Trip Mates willing to team up, take decisions together fairly and face in a positive way any snag that might occur. I'd like people interested in knowing each other and actually sharing experiences together. I will not set an age limit, but it has to be clear that this will be a culture/chat/drinks/hikes-oriented trip rather than a crazy party-oriented one. LGBTQ+ inclusive and welcome. Just to mention it, do not request to join my trip if you: - Think this is a dating app because it's not. - Are not open to know a new culture. - Are not flexible - autonomous - chilled. - Are not respectful of locals/ TripMates. - Are a moaner!! To summarize, what's included in the price? 💰 ✈️ The local flights Ho Chi Min - Phu Quoc, Phu Quoc - Da Nang (Hoi An), Da Nang - Ho Chi Minh. 🛏️ Accommodation in Phu Quoc, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh (single hotel room/studio per traveler) The price could reduce once people join in and actual reservations can be done as the buffer will be removed. It does not include intermediate excursions until we decide which ones we want to do. It does not include airport transfers until we know how many people we'll be. See you in Vietnam!
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Trip Itinerary

Ho Chi Minh City

Day 1-2
24th December - 1 Night in a Hotel near Ho Chi Minh Airport to rest after long flights from Europe and to wait for the group to gather up from the different destinations. You can skip this one, but I will surely have this 1 night rest if anyone wants to meet me there. Otherwise, the group meetup location is SGN Airport on the 25th Dec for the flight for Phu Quoc.

Phu Quoc

Day 2-8
Local flight from Ho Chi Minh Airport to Phu Quoc 25 Dec to 31 Dec - 6 nights on the island for beach & relax Accommodation type photos included Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam and it has been protected by a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2006. I'm suggesting to stay in the South of the island at Sao Beach, because it is advertised as one of the island’s most beautiful beach with its white powdery sand, jungle backdrop and turquoise water. Plus, it is a great escape from the most touristic places near the main town Duong Dong and Long beach, that we can still visit one day to check out the amazing sunset everyone talks about and the night market. Despite being away from the crowd, Sao beach still offers bars, restaurants, sunbeds and activities such as kayaking for who wants. Otherwise, we can just enjoy the natural sections of it. Some day trips could include the National Park, Cua Can Beach, Phu Quoc Market, the Coconut Prison, An Thoi archipelago boat tour, riding the Cable Car to Hon Thom Island.

Cua Can Beach

Day 8
Cua Can Beach Day trip Cua Can Beach is a 3 km beach where Cua Can river gradually flows into the ocean. As builders haven't touched it yet, it remains a very primitive beach. One of the activities to do here is to kayak or join a motorboat tour along the river to appreciate the villages alongside the river or negotiate with a local fish-man to get us for a boat tour of the coastline. Once in Cua Can, we could extend our visit to the Grand World Phu Quoc Welcome Center, designed by the local VTN Vo Trong Nghia Architects. Despite it's part of a despicable enormous theme park where huge portions of territory are stolen to the local populations to create ridiculous copies or made-up realities for the dull touristic market, the pavilion represents a stunning example of sustainable architecture using local, natural and low cost materials. Completely made of bamboo elements, tied together using only ropes and bamboo pins, it resembles the features of the traditional lotus flower. It seem so magnificent to me that I would really like to see it in person. On our way back, we could stop at Long Beach/Doung Dong for drinks/dinner and then go back to the hotel.

Hội An

Day 8-13
31 Dec - 5 Jan - 5 nights including New Year's Eve Accommodation type photos included A 1.5h local flight will bring us from Phu Quoc to Da Nang airport, 50 min drive from Hoi An old town. Hoi An is a small locality in Central Vietnam with a unique Asian and colonial European architectural fusion dated back to 15th - 19th centuries. UNESCO World Heritage Site, despite currently being a tourist trap, it's a must-see for its picturesque soul. I believe spending here New Year's Eve must be certainly special even if it's not their local Lunar New Year, the most important Vietnamese holiday, that falls at the end of January. I read in December they still celebrate with a typical Lantern Festival, so we'll see. The perfect way to go around here is riding a bicycle as the town is small without the crazy metropolitan traffic. Other than strolling around the old town beautiful alleys and the town museums and monuments, we should visit the rural life in Hoi An. In particular: - Farmers & Fishermen Tour. Riding a bicycle around the village we'll take part first hand in the cultivation activity or simply helping local farmers to harvest and clean vegetables. We will learn about wet rice cultivation and how to make white rice with a traditional old hand machine. We'll have a mini cooking class and then share lunch with locals in their house. After lunch, we will reach the Fishing village cycling where we'll learn about their community and their traditional net fishing system. We'll board on a boat for a cruise to the mouth of the river and then learn to paddle the unique Vietnamese bamboo basket round boat in Cam Thanh & Bay Mau Coconut Forest. Back to the Hotel by bicycle. - My Son in Vietnam, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient temple complex built between the 4th and 13th centuries, principally in dedication to the goddess Shiva, one of the foremost deities of Hinduism. Distance from Hoi An 40Km. - Hue Imperial Citadel Famously being one of Vietnam’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Imperial City was a walled fortress and palace, capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty for 140 years. The grandeur architecture was planned to be built by Gia Long, the emperor who founded the Nguyen Dynasty. During 27 years from 1805 to 1832, the Imperial City of Hue was finally completed, making it the most massive structure being built in the history of modern Vietnam. The place was made UNESCO Site in 1993 with the remained buildings being actively restored and preserved after the destruction from the Vietnam War. Distance from Hoi An 130Km. - Atlas Hotel, VTN Vo Trong Nghia Architects Sometime we might go for lunch/dinner to this hotel to have a close look at another interesting project of the local VTN achitects where once again they found their design approach on sustainable techniques, integrating in this case a series of facade planters to create a green external skin for the building. Hoi An old town. - Ma Chau Silk Village Found in 15th century the village wove silk supplied for aristocrats, the mandarin classes in the court. Visiting the village, you can see the different stages of growing silkworms, breeding, unraveling silkworm cocoons and weaving as traditional ways. Ma Chau silk weaving village is also called “Tu Ma” mean four villages. They are Ma Thanh, Ma Thuong, Ma Dong, Ma Tay and To To ferry on Thu Bon river. Distance from Hoi An 15Km. -Jeep/Motorbike (w/driver) Tour Hai Van Pass & Son Tra Mountain Distance from Hoi An 60Km.

Ho Chi Minh City

Day 13-21
5 - 13 Jan - 8 nights Accommodation type photos included My general idea here includes first of all enjoying most of the mornings sunbathing at the pool of the hotel as I live in a country without sun, I have to load up Vitamin D. In any case, most of the stuff start in the afternoon when the heat is weaker. I would like to stroll around and try to discover the vibrant vibe of the city. I'd like to find some activities to do that involve locals and not necessarily for tourists (perhaps volunteering) but still working on it. In HCMC I would either walk or use motorbikes with driver for longer distances or at night. Architecture sites I'd like to visit: 1. VTN Architects Head Office - Urban Farming Office - VTN - 10km from Hotel 2. Diamond Island Community Center - VTN - 8km from Hotel 3. Wind and Water Bar-Cafe - VTN - 30km from Hotel 4. Farming Kindergarten - VTN - 25km from Hotel 5. Tony Fruit Office - TAA DESIGN - 600m from Hotel Closer to the date, I'll try to see if any of these architects are willing to give us a proper tour of their projects so that it would be great to have an easy access to the interiors and have a proper explanation. Local Day Trips could be: - Mekong Delta (pagoda tour, Cu Chi tunnels, water markets) 80 km from Hotel - Black Virgin Mountain (1500steps) 98 km from Hotel ...still studying so I will improve this list as I found more interesting stuff!
Hotel & Apartments
21 days trip
Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc & 3 more
Plane, Car
Questions and Answers

Hello can you recommend in which country from Europe we could get a reasonable price for the flight ... Read More

Hi So, I'll suggest you to check out emirates first for best long houl service and 30kg laggage included. Turkish airlines, Qatar airways to follow. Then check Vietnam Airways which I was told it's a ... Read More

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