If you are looking for a fixed itinerary involving conventional tourist spots, this blog is not for you. But if you are wondering how a travel partner (let’s refrain from calling them ‘agents’) can provide an itinerary that matches your likes and personality, you have landed at the right place. I will cover places and experiences curated by my travel partner, which covers tourist hotspots coupled with authentic local experiences. Oh, and this did not drill a financial hole in my pocket.

It was Historic!

I am not a history buff or someone who willingly reads history-related books. Yet, I spent 3 hours covering three floors of the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Our English-speaking guide, Mr Khoa, gave us a detailed history of Vietnam, from invaders, religion, and wars to geography and more, right before we visited the museum. His storytelling gave us context and made our museum experience enriching.

A Smooth Ride

The Mekong Delta region produces over 50% of rice and fish in Vietnam. With its lush mangroves and towering palm trees, the most enjoyable way to discover this area is by boat. Although my husband and I anticipated a typical tourist experience, we were pleasantly overwhelmed by the abundance of cultural gems. After an hour of car drive, we hopped onto the boat. We covered four absolutely scenic islets: Dragon, Unicorn, Phoenix, and Tortoise. We saw honey farms, local fruits, traditional houses made from coconut, and a coconut candy mill. However, the highlight was the elaborate meal we enjoyed. The freshwater fish, fried rice, lobsters, chicken wings and flavourful curry kept us wanting more. We ended the excursion by visiting Vinh Trang Pagoda, the most beautiful pagoda in the province. This day trip covering the Mekong Delta was my favourite part.

Be Original

Ms Katie from Hoi An informed us about egg coffee, a delicacy that was not on our itinerary. I started searching the cafes around my hotel that served egg coffee. However, Katie insisted that we visit the original creators. Giang Café, was founded by Nguyen Giang in 1946. Due to milk scarcity back in the day, Giang used egg yolk as an alternative. This accidental recipe went on to become popular not only in Vietnam but all over the world. Sidenote: I assumed egg coffee was a terrible combination, but it is hands down the best coffee I have had so far.

A Perfect Birthday

The highlight of our trip was my birthday which we spent on a delightful Cruise in Hạ Long Bay. The day began with an early morning pickup by the cruise’s transit vehicle, and we embarked on a scenic 2-hour drive to Hạ Long Bay. Along the way, we made a stop at a charming place where authentic pearls and pearl jewellery were sold.

Upon reaching the bay, we boarded the enchanting Peony Cruise, an exquisite ship with all its beauty. Our adventure commenced with a heartwarming lunch buffet that satisfied our taste buds. After leisurely exploring the ship, we hopped on a short ferry ride to a perfect spot for some thrilling kayaking.
The joy continued as I took a refreshing dip in the open sea while sipping a delightful White Russian on the upper deck. As the happy hours passed, we gathered for a memorable dinner, which held a delightful surprise – a lavish 4-course meal complemented by fine wine, making it the perfect celebration.
The early hours of the next morning led us to Cát Bà Island for an exciting cave exploration.

This island is a National Park and a UNESCO Heritage site, making the experience even more awe-inspiring. While these four experiences will stay with me for life, there were other memorable moments throughout the trip.