I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to track down a decent wall map of Vietnam. After calling and visiting many places, from bookshops to museums I finally found a place that stocked good map of Vietnam. The only catch was that the map was split in half – the north of Vietnam on one side and the south on the other. The lady from the bookstore was on the other end of the phone rustling and unfolding the map apart for me.
The other thing I didn’t realise (and neither did the lady at the bookshop) was just how long the country of Vietnam actually is – long and skinny! So I have unfolded the map, and it lies on the dining table where I have stuck small stick-it notes all over it outlining place names and showing a rough itinerary for 5 weeks.
We are lucky to know Father Joe from Salesian College in Sunbury who is originally from Vietnam. He has hooked us up via email to ‘our man in Hanoi’, Mr Anthony. Mr Anthony has sent through an amazing itinerary which has us travelling on overnight trains, catching domestic planes, driving ont he roads (with a drivr…phew!), trekking up into the hills of Sapa (northern Vietnam), riding elephants across a river and delving into the long CuChi tunnels in Saigon. We’re just a little concerned how the kids will cope with an overnight train ride up to the northern part of Vietnam, arriving at 6am to then go on a day of trekking and meeting hill tribe villages! We’ll see.
So now starts the pouring over the itinerary and working out, realistically, what will work for the six of us and what won’t work so well as a backpacking family in Vietnam. One piece of advice given to us from previous travellers to Vietnam with kids in tow that we are already taking on – find out where all the swimming pools are. And so we will.
12 weeks to go before we leave 🙂