White Cotton Peonies

Last month, I lost my heart. Vietnam stole it and I’m not sure that any other country will ever compare. Having shared lots of pictures and been asked lots of questions, I thought that it might be nice to share some of our highlights, tips and advice as I can’t recommend going highly enough. It’s life changing.

First off, we organized the whole trip ourselves. Not only does this save you a fortune in travel agency fees, it will give you the flexibility to create a schedule around your needs and also to avoid the well-beaten tourist trails. I wanted to hold the only Lonely Planet guide in a 10mile radius. Hopeful, but that was my plan.


Our itinerary went as follows:-

Ho Chi Minh City – Pullman Hotel – ONE NIGHT

Con Dao – Six Senses Resort – SIX NIGHTS

Hoi An – Sunrise Resort – THREE NIGHTS

Ho Chi Minh City – Pullman Hotel – ONE NIGHT

Pho Quoc – Shells Resort & Spa – FIVE NIGHTS

HANOI – Lotte Hotel – TWO NIGHTS

Halong Bay – Dragon Legend – ONE NIGHT

HANOI – Lotte Hotel – ONE NIGHT



Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi both provide the hustle and bustle that you’d expect of an Asian City. Crossing the road is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before – they don’t have pedestrian crossings and so you just have to step out in to the road. Be sure to walk at a steady pace so that the traffic can see where you’re heading and you’ll be fine. Somehow their traffic system really seems to work – organized chaos.

Pho Quoc and Con Dao provided some beautiful tranquility which was paradise and is brilliant for breaking up the city trips. I think you genuinely appreciate your time relaxing there and means that you don’t end up too exhausted from being on the go in the cities. It seemed to work really well for us.

Hoi An is just amazingly good fun. By far my favourite city of the trip. As it wasn’t bombed in the war, it has much of the original architecture which is just breathtaking. But more of that in-depth later.


There are lots of options for taking overnight trains and buses. We chose against that… firstly I had far too much luggage and beyond that, I think I’m a bit too old for back packing. If that’s something that you’d like to experience, we were advised the train was much more civilized than the bus. However, if like me, you’d rather grab an internal flight and make the most of your time there, you can get internal flights for less than $20. Well worth doing.



I’m known for being a picky eater. However, I loved the food. It’s all pretty healthy, incredibly fresh (they tend to buy the ingredients twice a day) and full of flavor. I don’t eat much meat but didn’t struggle at all, they’re really flexible when it comes to vegetarians as there are 2 days of the month in many regions where they don’t eat meat.

We ate in some incredible restaurants, but my best experiences by far were eating the street food. Rule of thumb was to find somewhere packed with locals and to grab a seat. Given that they only make one or two dishes, they make them SO well. You won’t get better in any restaurant. Just be sure that you’re not wearing a really short skirt as the stools are very low. Be warned.


Whilst it was lovely to dress up in the beach resorts, in the cities, you’re likely to only want to get more dressed up if you’re going to one of the skyscraper bars or hotel bars… otherwise the mood is very relaxed and I stayed in my flip flops for most of the time. I definitely didn’t need the 10 pairs of heels that I’d taken with me!!!


We were told to be careful wearing out expensive watches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but I never felt unsafe at any point. The Vietnamese people were so welcoming and lovely, that I had nothing but positive things to say. Like all cities though, it’s good to keep your wits about you and to avoid walking through deserted areas alone late at night. Plus, cabs are super cheap.

Over the next few days, I’ll be giving you a little insight into each of the areas and what we did whilst we were there. I’d love to hear from you if it’s somewhere that you’ve been or somewhere you’d like to be if there’s any tips that I can help you with.

M xox

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Melanie Kentish

Hi! My name's Mel and I'm a 30 something blogger living in Windsor, UK with my two ginger cats and a rather handsome husband. White Cotton Peonies is the place where you'll find my ramblings on health, fashion, beauty, food and my random adventures as a soon-to-be mum. Enjoy.


  1. laura


    Been spying on your holiday on Instagram, and I have loved the pics – it looked idyllic. Glad you had a good time!

    • Mel Kirk


      It was amazing Laura, you have to go if you ever get the chance. Flights aren’t that cheap but it’s so cheap when you get there!

  2. Kb


    Wow this is definitely the way I’d like to do Vietnam next time, the buses I got on were awful! I definitely want to go back!

    • Mel Kirk


      Can we go together please? Ha! I’m dying to go back already!

  3. Charley Wicks


    Wow, that’s quite the itinerary! Beautiful pictures – looking forward to reading more about your adventures.

    • Mel Kirk


      Thanks! Just hope that I can do it justice!

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