After spending a week in Saigon, our tour group of family and friends took a vacation within a vacation and headed to Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang for a few days of sightseeing and beach fun
A few hours drive east of the capital Hanoi, Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and Vietnam's most visited tourist destination. Famous for its calm waters and limestone islands, Ha Long (meaning "descending dragon,") is truly spectacular and a must see for anyone visiting this country. It was wonderful to be able to cruise this special place with Kim's parents, for whom it was their first visit. Although we made a visit during our honeymoon, the scenery was just as breathtaking this time as the first!
Though day cruises are available, we highly recommend booking a one or two night cruise aboard one of the junk boats. These longer visits give you time to enjoy more of the sights and activities the Bay has to offer - we visited Amazing Cave, spent time kayaking around the floating village, and even tried our hand at squid fishing.
After the cruise in Ha Long, we flew down to Nha Trang beach for sun and relaxation. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to send a tropical depression through just as we arrived (great timing!) The weather calmed after a torrential downpour and some flooding, and we got weather nice enough to enjoy the beach.
Tip: Nha Trang is a very robust tourist spot, with tons of hotels, bars, and clubs along the beachfront. If you are looking to get away to somewhere less hectic, hire a taxi to drive you out to a local beach. We spent a day in Doc Let, about 1.5 hours north of Nha Trang, and it was awesome to have the entire beach to ourselves (even during peak season!) We paid a small fee for access to one of the resort's beaches, and it was the best day of our time in Nha Trang!