We went to Vietnam. I know this is a blog about our Tiny House but in a way, our trip was sort of like… you know how couples go on “baby-moons” before their child is born? Well, this trip was our Tiny House-Moon. We planned this trip knowing that it would be shortly before our house would be finished and knowing that when we got home we would be in total tiny-house mode. We won’t be going on vacation anytime soon and our efforts are going to be focused on paying off our Tiny House!
Ho Chi Mihn city.
We really planned our trip around this stop because this is where Kade’s family lives. We were able to meet his Grandmother, Auntie, and a few cousins. Our first day started with his Auntie and Cousin picking us up from our hotel only to hop on the back of their scooters and cruise through the city. This was definitely a sensory overload. Our first stop. PHO. Which happened to be my favorite bowl of Pho our entire trip. Kade’s family was so kind and welcoming to us. They took us to the war museum, shopping, to get a massage, and invited us into their home.
In the evening Kade’s cousin and his wife took us out on the town! We were exhausted but it was great to see the nightlife in Ho Chi Mihn. We were sad our visit was so short but eager to explore more of Vietnam.
Our next stop. Hoi An.
Hoi An was definitely our most touristy location but we wanted to go here for one specific reason. Kade wanted to get a suit custom made! It turned out great! and while he was doing that, I got a dress and romper made for myself. Between fittings, we just happened to find the BEST BAHN MI sandwich ever and ate some Cao Lao which is a dish special to Hoi An.
In Hoi An we also rented a scooter and checked out the beach and Marble Mountain!
After Hoi An, we headed to Hanoi where we would only be for the evening because we had a shuttle the next day picking us up to go to Cat Ba Island. That night in Hanoi though we were starving and we stumbled upon some street food, Bun Cha which happened to be my favorite meal our entire trip. Bun Cha is a grilled beef in a papaya infused fish sauce with rice noodles and a mountain of herbs. It. was. so. good. They served it with fried spring rolls which were just the icing on the cake.
Off to Cat Ba.
Our trek to Cat Ba was pretty grueling considering the bus they transported us was TINY. I am telling you, neither Kade or I are tall people and our knees were CRAMMED in between our seat and the one in front of us. It was awful. It was about a 2-hour bus ride and then a ten-minute small boat ride followed by a 30-minute bus ride to get to our resort. The bus pulled up to this culdesac where it dropped us off and were like “Uhhh, are we here?” and they were like “yeah, right up the hill” and drove off. So we walked up the hill…… and our jaws dropped. Side Note: Cat Ba was sort of the end of our trip and where I really wanted to treat ourselves. We actually spent more than $20 on the rooms here so we really hoped it was nice. Sure enough, it was. The view when you walk up to the resort was AMAZING… and the view from our room, EVEN BETTER.
Our first day in Cat Ba we went rock-climbing in a place called Butterfly Valley. Kade and I paid for a private guide and equipment. This was such a cool opportunity and the limestone on this island is amazing. Kade killed it on a bunch of lead climbs and I did my second 5.10 outside called Rome to Hanoi Express.
We both had so much fun but we were so exhausted afterwards.
Day two on Cat Ba we did a Kayaking tour! This was also amazing as we really got to see the Bay. The first half of the day was kayaking to remote lagoons. They were hidden in between all the rocks and it was so magical to go into them and listen to the birds and wildlife. The second half of the day after lunch was kayaking near some of the local areas and houses on the water! This was really neat because a third of Cat Ba’s population lives on the water. The houses on the water seem so remote and it is hard to imagine ever living that lifestyle. Almost every home had dogs too! Both of the tours we did were with a company called Asia Outdoors. I definitely recommend the company if you are ever in Cat Ba.
One of the coolest things that happened was on our way back from kayaking. We saw a group of CAT BA LANGURS! This is a group of the world’s most endangered primate species. There are 53 of them and they are only found on Cat Ba island. Our guide said that we are very lucky to have seen them because it is pretty rare. You can check out the conservation efforts being made here.
Our last day on Cat Ba was for
relaxing seeing the ENTIRE island via scooter and hiking up a mountain.
After the hike, we went a check out the hospital cave and drove around a little more. It was cool to see the island and just ride around!
Leaving Cat Ba was pretty sad for me. Fortunately, the bus back was an average human sized bus and I was actually quite comfortable.
We now had a day and a half in Hanoi. One thing we were told we HAD to try in Hanoi but were very hesitant to try was the egg coffee. Surprisingly we both LOVED it. OMG it is so good. We tried it hot and cold, I prefer it hot but you can’t go wrong with either.
Our last night in Hanoi we decided to go to a show at the local opera house! It was advertised to us on the street when we were there before heading to Cat Ba. We did some research and other people recommended it so we figured why not? The show was called My Village and it was a combination of acrobatics with some singing and dance! We really enjoyed it & it was fun to have a little date night.
Overall, our trip went super well. Unfortunately, I got sick our last day in Vietnam and on our flight to South Korea and Kade got sick right when we got home! Thank goodness it didn’t hit us until the end before our trip was pretty unaffected by it. I feel like we have a relationship with Kade’s family now and that we will try to keep in touch with them! I have a feeling this won’t be our last time visiting Vietnam.