When In Vietnam… The Vietnam Bucket List

When In Vietnam… The Vietnam Bucket List

engagement dress


In a few days time, I’ll have been living in Ho Chi Minh City for eight months. Check out my interview on being an expat in Vietnam with Expat Arrivals. This marks the halfway point in our 16 month overseas stint in Vietnam. Arriving to this milestone has made me realize I need to get to work on the bucket list I created waaaay back in February!

What is a bucket list?

A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.

Why a Vietnam bucket list?

Well, for starters, I freaking love lists as you can see from the ‘Wanderlists‘ section of the blog. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing exactly what needs to be accomplished. Basically, creating to-do lists is a goal setting practice, one everyone would be better off adopting. But especially for travelers, having bucket lists demonstrates what dreams we have and what we expect to takeaway from adventures we’ve put an incredible amount of time, energy, and money towards.

When I was in Korea two years ago, I neglected to do my research and ended up missing out on a lot of amazing experiences and destinations. Without a bucketlist, I just felt like I had no real plan of action, meaning there was no real investment on my part.  So I promised myself that when in Vietnam, I would be more dedicated to seeing what it had to offer.

The next eight months are going to be full of exploring!

Getting back on our feet from the 7 month long backpacking trip meant that up to now, Tim and I barely have gone around the country. But that isn’t to say we’ve been completely stationary. We’ve done the Mekong Delta, the Cu Chi Tunnels, and Mui Ne.  Tomorrow, I’ll be headed up to the capital, Hanoi, for my first ever business trip, researching the main attractions and eating at Bun Cha Huong Lien made famous by POTUS Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain.

The President’s chopstick skills are on point . #buncha #hanoi

A photo posted by anthonybourdain (@anthonybourdain) on

And in November, I’ll be headed up to Hoi An and Hue, then Tim and I are planning a Ha Long Bay holiday excursion. It’s an ambitious list but at least I have a written guideline of what to do with the rest of these eight months!



I’ll be posting up links to blog posts related to each task once I complete them 😉 Also, if you’d like to follow my travels in Vietnam, head on over to @thenextsomewhere on Instagram with the #wheninvietnam. Stay tuned and wish me luck!

Sail around Ha Long Bay (Completed 4.30.17)

Got to do Halong Bay twice this year! Once with my family, and once with Tim! Thank you Bhaya Cruise Lines and The Paradise Group for the amazing experience.

☐ Learn Conversational Vietnamese

Send a letter from Saigon Post Office (Completed 2.13.16)

Tim took me to the post office for Valentine’s Day this year. Buy some of the beautiful pop-up lasercut cards outside. One card costs 20,000 VND.

Roam the tunnels of Cu Chi (Completed 2.13.16)

I’ve been to both Cu Chi Tunnel Entrance sites — Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc but I much prefer Ben Duoc.

☐ Trek through Sapa to meet the Hill Tribes

Go canyoning in Dalat (Completed 4.25.17)

Went rapelling down a crazy waterfall amidst some abnormal rain patterns in Dalat with Groovy Gecko Tours making for a fabulous time!

Surf the Sand Dunes of Mui Ne (Completed 9.3.16)

There are two sets of sand dunes in Mui Ne — the white sand dunes and the red sand dunes. These are the white sand dunes.

Cheers with the Locals while Sipping Bia Hoi (Completed 10.1.16)

☐ Traipse around the Ancient City of Hué

Soak in the Culture of Hoi An (Completed 11.23.16)

Take a Cyclo Ride around the Old Quarter of Hanoi  (Completed 10.2.16)

Canoe Down The Mekong Delta (Completed 5.1.16)

Visited the Mekong Delta at the beginning of May and it was the hottest I’ve ever been in my whole life!

☐ Learn how to ride a motorbike

Cook a multi-course Vietnamese meal (Completed 11.20.16)

☐ Ride the Reunification Express from North to South


For more bucket lists, check out…

Do you have anything that I should add to the list? Do you have a bucket list of countries you’ve visited/lived in? If so, comment below. xoxo Izzy

Give me a shout-out on Pinterest pretty please?

vietnam bucket list when in vietnam







Millette Pulido is a Bay Area-based, Boston-bred Filipina who loves to vagabond. At 29, the former expat has traded in her nomadic ways for a semi-grounded life in San Jose, CA. These days, she's focusing on balancing travel with a full-time job, all while planning her 2019 destination wedding in Oaxaca, Mexico. She lives for good times, good food, and good peeps. Find out her #wheretonext on Instagram @thenextsomewhere.


  1. Anne

    29 September

    I love your Pinterest and wonder if you use something particular to create them. Ha long bay an Hoi an are two of the most amazing places I’ve been

  2. I tried to go in the Cu Chi tunnels, two steps in and I was already hyperventilating. Lol. The little girl behind me was annoyed because I had to leave the line and go back up for air. The photo inside the Cu Chi tunnel made me hyperventilate again. Lol.

    Goodluck! Vietnam is awesome!

  3. Sally

    29 September

    I love this idea of a Vietnam bucket list. I’ve only been to Ho Chi Minh City but I’d love to get up to the north and explore some more.

  4. Amanda Williams

    29 September

    This is a great bucket list for Vietnam, and I love that you have already started to tick things off of the list. Canoeing the Mekong Delta sounds amazing. I would also really like to learn to cook Vietnamese food. Please be careful when you learn to ride that motorcycle though!

  5. Megan Jerrard

    29 September

    I love that learning conversational Vietnamese makes the bucket list – I’ve been telling myself I will learn a second language to the point where I can have conversations with locals, and I need to get my act into gear! Can’t wait to follow your adventures 🙂

  6. Jen Morrow

    29 September

    After eight months I am surprised your list has not grown! The post office is such a cool (kinda geeky) experience. I would totally do that, too!

  7. Cori

    29 September

    I used to be obsessed with making lists of goals, so obviously I love this post! I was recently living vicariously through a friend who was touring Vietnam on his motorbike, so now I’m eager to go.

  8. Kevin Wagar

    29 September

    What a great list! You guys are really living it over there! Kudos on learning the language as well, I’ve always found that to be one of the toughest things to do!

  9. Natasha

    29 September

    Wow — it looks like you have done some cool things already. I’m sure you’ll make the rest of the bucket list happen, too! I really enjoyed my visit to Vietnam, and would love to go back 🙂

  10. Stephanie

    30 September

    My best friend from college lives in Vietnam teaching english. I really want to go visit her one day, but this list has inspired me every more. Sounds like there are so many amazing things that I can do there. It’s a perfect mix of stunning beaches and history.

  11. Sean Keogh

    30 September

    I’ve only been to Ho Chi Minh. Despite the chaos, I loved it, and I wish I had more time to explore other cities in Vietnam. It’s a beautiful country.

  12. Hanani

    1 October

    I love your VN Bucket List — I have done a few of them too. I guess about time I start having my Korea bucket list so I won’t miss anything when I leave. Beautiful pins on Pinterest — would love to learn a thing or two from you 🙂

  13. Shirgie Scf

    1 October

    What a pretty neat bucket list. I also do bucket list, like a literal list where I write all the things I want to happen and achieve in life, and I agree, nothing beats the good feeling of looking at the list of the things you want to accomplish. If I have the chance to visit vietnam someday, I will refer to your list.

  14. Emre

    2 October

    Slowly but surely I get acquainted with Vietnam through your blog and I’m realizing what a gorgeous country it is. I wish I could visit. Anyway, lists are always good to not get distracted from where you want to go. I hope you will do everything you set out to do.

  15. LOL this is fantastic especially as I live in Korea and am considering Vietnam! I have made 2 bucket lists for Korea, but am mostly just flying by the seat of my pants! Thanks for all the info!

  16. Samantha

    3 October

    Love this post! I’ll be heading to Vietnam in early 2017! I just checked off something on my bucket list this past summer: hiking the Great Wall of China!

  17. Rocio Cadena

    3 October

    Hey! I love that you’ve made a bucket list. I live in Korea and also have one for my own city and Korea at large. I think bucket lists are important because they provide a visual of the things we want to see/explore while living abroad as time truly does fly by.

  18. Don Macdonell

    3 October

    That is really awesome to have a list together of the things you are wanting to do. I’m looking forward to see you checking off the remaining things in your coming blog posts!

  19. Chelsea Brady

    3 October

    You and Tim are relationship goals! Firstly, your graphics are AWESOME. Second, bucket lists are major key and it’s awesome that you are documenting yours. I love how “sail around Ha Long Bay” is first on your bucket list. That is what I want to do most when I visit Vietnam (whenever I get the chance to). Keep inspiring us through your lists. And honestly Izzy, I’m in LOVE with your life and your blog. Congratulations on this milestone in Vietnam, your new status as a travel writer, AND your recent sponsorship!

  20. Alla

    4 October

    Perfect timing for me to find your post! I’ll be re-visiting Vietnam this winter and have only had sand dunes and hill tribes on my bucket list, but seeing yours, I might have to expand mine. Also thank you for mentioning that Mui Ne has more than one type of sand – I had no idea. Also, Phu Quoc’s beaches are gorgeous, my father in law was thoroughly impressed by the cheap massages, friendly faces, yummy food and cheap accommodation.

  21. Claire Wang

    2 December

    Thanks for the mention!! I’d love to complete all the things on this bucket list but number one on my list is just to set foot in Vietnam first, haha!

  22. Ariane

    23 January

    Gee girl, your blog rocks! Wow, am a big fan! 😉

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