Hello we are Olly + Milly from Unexplored Footsteps. We are a British Couple from London. I am 25 and Olly is 29 years old. We met in Australia backpacking when we were both working at the same hostel. Little did we know that at the time we actually lived 20 minutes away from each other in the UK.
We both fell in love with travelling and each other in Australia and decided to continue our journey together. Three years later we are still at it. So we believe it was meant to be! Before we started travelling Olly worked in the same job for 7 years and I had just finished my photography degree at University.
With my photography background and Olly’s love of helping people, we combined forces and started Unexplored Footsteps. Originally it started as a way to store our photos and memories, which also served as a great platform to update family and friends on.
Over time people began asking us travel related questions and tips so it developed into our travel guide website. Our vision is to be the go to website/Instagram for travel tips and photography ideas.
When we left Australia, we had booked flights to Sri Lanka which unfortunately we had to change. We both have always wanted to explore Vietnam as it seemed like a quirky country that had it all: culture, hikes, beaches and great food.
It was a very quick and last minute decision to change our flights. But when we were on the phone to the airline, we both quickly picked Vietnam!
Unexplored Footsteps Journey from South to North Vietnam
Our first impression of Vietnam was utter shock. Purely down to the fact that we had landed in Ho Chi Minh City and we couldn’t believe how many motorbikes were zooming around us.
We started in the South, in Ho Chi Minh City, and worked our way North. We visited Da Lat after Ho Chi Minh which felt like another planet. Da Lat is high up in the mountains and the temperature was a lot cooler. This made it a lot more enjoyable to walk around the whole city.
From Dalat we headed to Nha Trang which we didn’t enjoy as much so we jumped on a train to Hoi An. That is where we spent most of our time, as we had clothes made and fell in love with everything Hoi An had to offer.
After exploring the Old Quarters and relaxing on the beach we completed the Hai Van Pass in an open top Jeep and arrived in Hue. That is where we explored the abandoned water park which was a lot of fun.
Ninh Binh was our next destination which took our breathe away. The limestone formations were incredible to see and worth a visit for a few nights. We also experienced our first overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay which was very luxurious. Finally, we headed into Hanoi City and ended up café hopping for a week!
Our favourite place in Vietnam has to be a tie between Da Lat and Hoi An. In Da Lat we felt very comfortable exploring the city all day long due to the cooler temperature. It also seemed like we were the only Westerners in the whole city which made our experience there feel unique.
Hoi An is also our favourite due to its historical essence which oozes through the yellow streets. The combination of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese is entrancing to be amongst. Not to mention we had lots of lovely custom made tailored clothes from here.
Our 3 Favourite Experiences in Vietnam
Our 3 ultimate experiences have to be: firstly, our 1N/2D cruise around Ha Long Bay. We had an incredible room on the boat which had massive windows looking out across the water. Our room also had a huge bath tub which was surrounded by windows so we could relax while watching the views go by.
The second ultimate experience was the Poem Mountain lookout! This lookout is extremely difficult to complete as you have to find the correct entrance, scale a rock face, slide under a fence and then hike up to the top.
We never believed we would be able to do this but we gave it a try anyway. To our amazement we did find the entrance, we didn’t hurt ourselves and we reached the top before sunset. The views were the most rewarding way to end an adventurous day.
Finally, having our clothes made in Hoi An was also very special for us. We dreamt about getting nice new clothes while travelling through Asia and having them custom-made felt unreal.
Vietnamese Culture, Food, Accommodation & Transport
The best way we feel to describe the Vietnamese culture and people would be simple: determined and motivated. This can be seen through their work ethic and food. They are hard working people which has been passed down through the generations with local traditions.
The food is extremely delicious and so simple to make as we found on our cooking tour in Hoi an. In all honesty, we actually enjoyed the food a lot more than we expected to. We would recommend to try Pho, which is a noodle dish. Or for breakfast try a Banh Mi. This is a small baguette with a range of fillings on offer.
We try to mix up our accommodation while we are travelling as well as sticking to our budget. The great thing about Vietnam is that you can find some amazing accommodation for very good prices. We often prefer to have our own room in hotels, but we do also stay in dorm rooms in hostels. This makes us appreciate the hotel rooms more.
As for getting around in Vietnam it often depends where we are. We usually travel on local buses and trains to each destination as this is the cheapest. A lot of these types of transport can be over night ‘sleeper’ buses or trains which is something everyone must experience at least once!
Unexplored Footsteps’ Tips for Travelling to Vietnam
- Pack light clothes, it can get very humid.
- The best time to explore is between sunrise and 10am. You can beat the crowds to all the best spots and avoid the intense heat and humidity around mid day.
- Grab is Asia’s equivalent to Uber and it will save you a ton of money. Not to mention it’s a safer way to travel if you’re a solo traveller.