Our super holiday specialist Abbie recently visited Vietnam and Dubai for a whirlwind tour of these stunning countries. Read on to find out what she loved about her latest trip.
I was lucky enough to be offered an educational trip to Vietnam and Dubai hosted by Emirates Holidays. This was my first experience of Asia so I went with complete open expectations and couldn’t have been happier to be offered a new country to tick off my list. I had been to Dubai previously in 2017 but its one of my favourite destinations so I was excited to go back and see the new developments and hotels which have gone up in the last few years.
We set off on 15th June to Heathrow airport where I met 2 other travel agents from different companies and Rosina, our emirates host. We were told we were travelling in Business class which is by far the best business class I have seen! We started off our morning with breakfast in the Emirates lounge before heading off on our 13-hour flight with a short connection in Dubai.
We arrived into Hanoi Airport where we were met by our local ground guide from “Destination Asia” who was amazing. He showed us to our minivan and we started our 45-minute transfer to the centre of Hanoi where we were staying at the 5* Movenpick Hotel for 1 night. The Movenpick is a great central hotel, luxury rooms which are spacious and a lovely restaurant which serves breakfast and dinner.
Day 2 – We set off on our 2-hour journey via the new express-way to Halong Bay and stopped off at a pearl farm where we were shown how the mother pearl is created. We arrived at Halong Bay where we had booked 2 nights on Jasmine boat which is part of the “Heritage Line” company who operate several boats on Halong Bay. We had a lovely balcony cabin with twin beds, so we got settled and went up to the main dining room for a briefing before heading off to the famous “Trinh Nu Cave” to explore and the floating fishing village where we had an option to Kayak around the village. We sailed to Luom Bo where we anchored for the night.
Day 3 – Our group started the day by taking part in Tai Chi lessons on the top deck of the boat before we were transferred by tender to our day boat where breakfast was served whilst we set sail to Surprise Cave which is the largest cave in Halong Bay at 10,000sqm. We explored surprise cave before heading to Tiptop island where we hiked to the top of the rock and had an afternoon relaxing on the little beach. We boarded our main boat, got ready for the evening where we had a cooking demonstration before dinner.
Day 4 – Breakfast was served at 9am on the sundeck before we checked out of our cabins and disembarked. Today we were heading back to Hanoi for a chilled afternoon at our new hotel La Casa which was in a slightly different area to where we stayed previously so we could go out and explore. We decided to have a few hours at the hotel’s rooftop pool to enjoy the sun before heading out to dinner in the old town.
Day 5 – We all got up early to have breakfast and head out on a half-day city tour on rickshaw’s which was an amazing experience and a great way of seeing Hanoi’s sights and getting your bearings. We headed to a site visit at the 5 star Sofitel Metropole Hotel in the French quarter of Hanoi. This hotel has a gorgeous outdoor pool, great dining options and colonial-style rooms and suites. Perfect for travellers who want to stay in luxury accommodation in the centre of the French district with plenty of dining options and shopping facilities. From here, our guide from the destination Asia team took us to Hanoi’s famous prison which is now a museum – Hoa Lo Prison Memorial. This was a total eye-opener with a real insight as to how the Vietnamese were treated in prison and the crimes which sent them in there. We then headed to the food district of Hanoi where we started a street food tour where we got to experience all Vietnamese food, how it is prepared and what their traditions are. Bun Cha is a very famous dish which is Pork and Noodle soup mixed with different vegetables and spices.
The group headed back to our hotel La Casa to get ready for dinner at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant which wrapped up our final evening in Hanoi before heading on our flight to Dubai at 01:30am.
Day 6 – We arrived in Dubai International Airport at 5.10am where we waited for another Emirates group to meet us before heading to Lapita Hotel where we checked in for 2 nights. We had to sleep on the plane as we knew once we were in Dubai, it was up and out for a filled day of site visits at all of the Madinat properties, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the Burj Al Arab. I have been to Dubai before in 2017 but it was great to go back to see the new developments going on and to see some of the hotels, I didn’t get to see last time. After our site visits finished, we got to experience Dubai’s famous – Friday Brunch at one of the 5-star Madinat properties – Jumeirah Madinat Al Qasr which was AMAZING and worth paying for!
Both groups went back to Lapita for a dip in the pool to cool off and to get ready for an evening in the city to see the Dubai fountains and Dubai Mall.
Day 7 – We all had breakfast at leisure at Lapita Hotel before we headed into Dubai Parks and Resorts which is next door to the hotel. This was a great experience as Dubai Parks and Resorts only opened in December 2016. It is home to more than 100 rides in four themed parks – Bollywood Parks Dubai, MOTIONGATE Dubai, and LEGOLAND Dubai (LEGOLAND water park included) and Riverland, a dining and retail district at the heart of the whole project, and the Polynesian-themed family resort known as Lapita Hotel. We had a day of exploring the park and going on the rides before heading back to the hotel for a dip in the pool. We had to be out at 6pm to head to the Palm for an evening site inspection at Atlantis the Palm to see their newly refurbished rooms, their brand-new imperial club lounge and to have dinner at their new WaveHouse Restaurant which was amazing, a great lively restaurant with a bowling alley, kids arcade upstairs and an adult-only bar in the room next door.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Vietnam and Dubai and I would highly recommend doing 3-4 nights in Hanoi, a night on Halong Bay and either moving onto other cities in Vietnam or flying back via Dubai to experience everything it has to offer.
Typical holiday itinerary
12-night beach to city trip, taking you from the sparkling seas of Vietnam to the glittering skyline of Dubai.
- 2 Nights – Ho Chi Minh – Saigon Prince Hotel
- 2 Nights – Hoi An – Boutique Hoi An Resort
- 1 Night – Hanoi – Silk Path Boutique Hotel
- 1 Night – Halong Bay – Jasmine Cruise
- 1 Night – Hanoi – Silk Path Boutique Hotel
- 3 Nights – Dubai – 5* Sofitel The Palm Resort and Spa
- Varied meal plan
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