Well, well, well. I am finally getting around to blogging about this amazing experience I had at the beginning of this year in Vietnam. There are far too many photos, and for those of you who know me best, I post a lot. So, I have decided to break up Vietnam in 3, maybe 4 parts!
To start this off- Vietnam was my first ever real out North America experience, and I could not of been happier that it was my first place to travel to. This journey definitely gave me the travel itch and I now have plans to go to Iceland and possibly Greece within the next two years! As excited as I am for those new places, I have a very strong feeling that all the places I will go to from this day on, will never be quite as amazing as Vietnam.
Vietnam is no Paris, or Italy, or resort island in the Bahamas, or a quaint little cottage town in England. It is still %100 a very third world country; but it is perfect. I never could of imagined a country being so beautiful. Full of beautiful people, food, culture, and landscapes. No, it’s not the cleanest, or most architecturally brilliant. The streets are crowded, pollution does exist heavily there. Noises from Ho Chi Minh City never stop, even throughout the night. Honking is considered a form of communication while navigating the flooded streets of mopeds. Food is served mostly on the streets out of small, little movable carts. There are no lavish dining set ups, restrooms, or bar service. Tiny, tiny plastic tables and stools to sit on down a ally way are definitely the norm. Generation after generation after generation of families build up shop along the streets to sell the same goods they have for many years. Many are not incredibly rich, you definitely don’t see too many BMW’s or Audi’s driving around. But above all of that, I believe that this is one of the few countries out there that has more magic, great food, incredible hospitality, good humored individuals, hard working individuals, and some of the most kind humans I have ever met.
At a glance, this country may seem like it has so little, and to a certain extent it does. But Vietnam has to be one of the greatest places on this planet. Just like Anthony Bourdain, I believe this is my favorite place in the world. So having my first real traveling experience to be in one of the greatest places I think I will ever go, makes me one happy gal. And it also makes me want to go back even more! There is still so much of Vietnam I hope and wish to explore sometime again soon! I know without a doubt I will be back, more than a few other times. The rest of the world is still on my list. But my experiences in this country are going to be hard to beat.
SO! Enough of how amazing and wonderful this country is. Let’s start!
Balmorhea // Bowsprit
Our Journey begins in Ho Chi Minh City, or to the locals, Saigon. A crazy, busy, hectic, full, very full major city. Thousands and thousands of mopeds are constantly zipping around in the streets and sidewalks. The smell of food lingers down every street. Shops on top of shops on top of shops and millions of people everywhere! To me it feels a little like New York, a city that never sleeps. There was constantly was too many things to look at; it was a photographers dream.
Our second day was full of touristy things! We traveled along The Mekong Delta, and got to see some beautiful rural Vietnamese villages. We go to eat authentic home made Vietnamese food, see where some local candy was made, as well as other home made goods and biked through the lush, greenery surround by zero major civilization. It is a small part of this country that lives off the land entirely. The Mekong Delta provides all the food and goods many there need to survive. You just had to walk out of your home and there was all the fruit, food, and goods you needed to live a happy healthy life.
Day three, NEW YEARS EVE IN HANOI. We spent most of the day frantically looking for a place to sleep on one of the busiest days of the year. Shame on us. But once we got everything all taken care of, we were able to peruse the enchanting streets of Hanoi. Full of young, lively adults ready to ring in the New Year! We walked all throughout the night in this perfect warm weather surrounded by beauty around every corner. We ate, we drank, we shopped and had the time of our lives.
Day four we traveled to Ha Long Bay and crossed a few things off our bucket list, such as kayaking there! By the end of this day, Ashley and I were convinced that if we had to leave Vietnam the following day, we would of been fine with that. Four days, and we already had a lifetime of amazing experiences within us. Ha Long Bay is also where we met our fellow traveler friend, Adam from Slovakia! We were able to hang out with Adam all day in Ha Long Bay and then some more later on in our trip in Hoi An (my favorite little town in the whole world) But that is for another blog.
Day 5 our journey in Hanoi truly begins. We started off exploring the temples nestled in Hanoi with some absolutely breath-taking architecture. More on Hanoi in Vietnam Part 2!
End- Part One. Here are some Iphone photos taken during Part One in Vietnam!
Our Vietnamese Travel Guide and newly adopted family member, Leo! He took us each out on a thirty minute moped ride, which was either the scariest or coolest thing we did in Vietnam!