So yesterday I was talking to my friend about Viet Nam as she is planning to go there…it sure brought back some incredible memories!
It will be six years ago in March since we have been to Viet Nam. We had the privilege of visiting some amazing places and experiencing some incredible things! First off, it was not my first time overseas, but it was my first time overseas for vacation purposes! It was my fiances first time being overseas. We had found an exceptional deal on EVA airlines for around $850 each. I remember that the price was too good to pass up. We had a couple friends there so we thought what better time to go than now, where we can experience it with a local!
So we flew the thirteen hour leg from Seattle (SEA) to Taipei on a 747 which was a piece of crap and the seats were insanely uncomfortable! We were then ushered to another plane, if I am not mistaken it was a MD80 which took us to Hanoi, Vietnam – I believe it was their last direct flight to Hanoi. I am unsure if they have re-instated that route yet? We arrived to Hanoi and was greeted by our friends and their cousins. They took us into the main center and helped us get settled. We met some of their cousins and family and did some quick touring around town on motor bike and enjoyed some great food!
The hotels we stayed at were cheap, somewhat dirty but sleepable.. I think we paid about $4-5 per night so that was a bargain in itself. – We visited places such as Hai Phong, Halong Bay, Perfume Pagoda and Sapa.
Hai Phong, was kind of a neat little town, not a whole lot to do but it was kind of neat as they had a lake in the middle of the city which you could rent these little paddle boats and go up and down the lake, kind of fun, except when you are paddling alone…
Halong Bay was incredible! It was extremely foggy when we were there so we didn’t get to enjoy the full beauty of the place, but still was incredible. We hired our own boat and went to some of the sights. I remember we went to a floating fish market where we bought a ton of crap and shrimp and then our captain cooked it up for us on the boat! It was really awesome!
Perfume Pagoda – This was a day tour we did from Hanoi and everytime I think about it I start to laugh, our guide for almost the whole trip “Perfume Pagoda Very Beautiful!” – in a very hard Viet accent, but he was trying to so hard to speak good English.. but sounded like… Poofooom Pagodda Vewwwwy Boootiiifullll”… when I think about it, I can still hear the guys voice in my head…what a great day that was! We got to the river where we got in these boats that I could have sworn were going to sink.. there is about a couple inches from the water to where its going to start filling up…lol These boats have an old lady paddling the whole group up the river to the site, quite amazing! – the Pagoda itself was quite impressive, it was at the top of the mountain, you can take a gondola up or you can hike – the Pagoda was also built into one of the mountains.
We took a train from Hanoi to Sapa on a 4 day tour where we would get to go hiking through the rice terraces and through the bamboo forest. This was one of the most amazing things I have ever done…still! It was amazing to go hiking and visit villages in the mountains that live out there on the land and survive with NO POWER! Seriously, they are so remote that they don’t even have flushing toilets….well actually they kind of having flushing, but its more like washing away…its an outhouse with bamboo running through the bottom of the toilet which then washes away your waste…We met some amazing people when we were there! The kids were so beautiful, kind and were always so excited to see you! They would try and practice their English with you which they pick up from the occasional tourist. The kids were funny, while we were hiking and slipping around in mud and guk…often loosing our steps, they would be firm footed and running circles around you.. in many times they would be the one giving you a hand so you don’t slip and fall on your arse! – Sapa is definitely a place that I would love to go to again one day! –> ohh one other funny coincidence..when we were in Sapa, a girl who was on our tour was actually friends with my cousin in Saskatchewan…I thought that was strange and rather a crazy thing!
Overall Viet Nam is a really wonderful place! The people are extremely friendly, sometimes pushy when it comes to selling stuff, but they are only doing their best to survive. The country itself is beautiful and has a lot to offer! I think Viet Nam is the next hot spot on Asian travel and would suggest to anybody to go there before too many foreigners get there and ruin the place. – I enjoyed how culturally sound the country was and how it did not feel too commercialized like everywhere else in the world. After talking to my friend about Viet Nam and reminiscing about good experiences there, I am somewhat very inclined to visit again sometime very soon again!
Viet Nam, you are great and I hope one day I get to see you again!
One last thing…if you go, eat lots and lots of dragon fruit and go visit the mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh is…very interesting! – Also, if you are flying Viet Nam Airlines, we flew them from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and they were delightful!