26-year-old Emma Quinn quit her job in Brisbane, Australia to embark on the journey of a lifetime, first stop – Vietnam. She fell in love with the beautiful bays, amazing food and culture and found inspiration in every corner of this beautiful country she now calls home…
Stunning Hoi An (with it’s UNESCO World Heritage listed Ancient Town) was my first destination. It was here I met up with my partner, David, who’d already been in Vietnam for six weeks and was riding (his motorbike) down the coastline of the country.
We travelled to Hue where we visited the stunning Imperial City Palace, built in 1804 – another UNESCO site. We also explored the abandoned waterpark, Ho Thuy Tien, which was a little spooky, but so cool! Hue was amazing for food, and the nightlife never disappointed.
We were lucky enough to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Ha Long Bay! Just by buying a few raffle tickets at the famous DMZ Bar. Ha Long, which translates to descending dragon, was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was so surreal and like a scene from a movie. This UNESCO World Heritage gem features thousands of limestone islands covered in dense jungle, and some inhabited by monkeys.
We travelled the bay with Oriental Sails Tours and experienced amazing service. We ate A LOT, kayaked through caves, sun-baked on a hidden beach nestled in an island cove, explored a recently discovered cave complete with ancient cave drawings, did Tai Chi, cooking classes, the list goes on!
Upon arriving in Hanoi, we settled into our share house in Tay Ho with two awesome English expats. Tay Ho is a great area of Hanoi for dining, nightlife, and just to escape the hustle and bustle of the Old Quarter. The old French influence can be seen everywhere in the Old Quarter. It is an incredibly busy and fast-paced place and you’re best doing it all by bike, just like the locals.
In Hanoi, we have seen the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, visited The Temple of the Jade Mountain, strolled around Hoan Kiem Lake, shopped, ate amazing food and partied in the Old Quarter.
We still have so many exciting sites to see and journeys ahead of us, in just one week’s time we will be visiting France for two weeks and travelling the countryside by hire car.
Upon our return to Vietnam, we will settle back into the working life where my partner will work on custom bikes and I will teach English and dabble in a few different music projects. We have found that here we have the freedom to pursue dreams and passions that would have otherwise sent us bankrupt or disheartened in Australia.
The quality of life here for expats is amazing and it’s pretty simple to get into positions where you can make the same hourly rate as you would in Australia, while the cost of living is a fraction of the price.
We aren’t as time poor, nor financially limited in Hanoi, and inspiration is everywhere when you are travelling.
Southeast Asia is a premier destination for travellers and holidayer’s alike. Whether you’re honeymooning, or taking a working gap year, I’d highly recommend Vietnam. The decision to live in this part of the world has so far been one of the most life-changing decisions we’ve made, in the best possible way.
You will be welcomed by the wonderful Vietnamese people, the country is culturally rich and millennia-old, the food is phenomenal and the sites to see are awe-inspiring.
My only advice for those considering travelling or moving overseas is JUST DO IT. Throw yourself in the deep end, you’ve most likely lived the first 20-30 years of your life in the familiarity of your home country. It will always be there for you, so spread your wings and go see the world.
To keep up with Emma’s adventures, follow her on Instagram @quinn_le_fay.