Vietnam part dos -- the north

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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
October 1st 2008
Published: October 18th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

charming Hoi Ancharming Hoi Ancharming Hoi An

a wonderful little town on the water
What a beautiful country! Traveling northward up the coast next on our tour was the darling city of Hoi An. It is a charming city with lots of shops, restaurants, bars, tailoring shops, markets & friendly people. A bunch of us had clothes made & I got a beautiful Vietnamese dress & pant outfit made. We also stayed at a resort which was fabulous -- laying out by the pool was wonderful.
After Hoi An we got to travel by bus to the former capital of Hue. The scenic drive was a great opportunity to see Vietnam's stunning coastline.
In Hue we got to take a rickshaw ride around the citadel. This was the home of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors 1802-1945 (I am currently looking at my itinerary...didn't memorize everything). Much of the citadel was destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968, and they are gradually restoring it. There were different entrances for different people & even entrances for the elephants!
After Hue we flew up to Hanoi for the last leg of the trip. We visited lots of recent & ancient historical places including the 'Hanoi Hilton', Ho Chi Minh Masoleum, the Presidential Palace, museums, and the city's Old Quarter. We just visited the outside of Ho Chi Minh's Masoleum because he was sent back to Russia for rehydration or some sort of maintenance of his preservation. Too bad.
Overall, I thought it was a fun city -- I had such a great time walking around & exploring Hanoi.
On the last official day of the tour we went to the stunning Halong Bay. We took a fun bus ride from Hanoi and watched the very appropriate 'Indochine'. It was very cool to be watching the scene where they are sailing through Halong Bay in the movie and look out the window and see the actual Halong Bay. Of course in the movie the weather was perfect, the water an emerald green & the actors gorgeous. In real life, it was rainy, overcast, water was brownish/green and our tour group was ... well, okay, gorgeous. =)
Despite the weather, we still got to go for a fun ride on a 'junk' (boat) around the bay. Even with the rain & the overcast sky, Halong Bay was serenely beautiful. L-o-v-e-d it.
That night we had a farewell dinner at another delicious vietnamese restaurant. It was sad to say goodbye to my new friends but I am so grateful to have traveled with and met such great people. I had a blast & couldn't have asked for a better bunch of people -- our tour group leader said it best when she said 'it was like traveling with friends'. And it was.
Next stop -- Hong Kong -- woohoo!

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


lampshop by night!lampshop by night!
lampshop by night!

I enjoyed Hoi An during the day & loved it at night!
making friends with statue guards at a royal masoleummaking friends with statue guards at a royal masoleum
making friends with statue guards at a royal masoleum

at first the guard was a little cold & stand-offish, but then he warmed up...
dog meat dog meat
dog meat

never ended up trying any -- just checked out the market
the Ritz Hotel in Hanoithe Ritz Hotel in Hanoi
the Ritz Hotel in Hanoi

don't book a hotel just by its name =)
hangin' out with the cool kids at the Hanoi ice cream shophangin' out with the cool kids at the Hanoi ice cream shop
hangin' out with the cool kids at the Hanoi ice cream shop

seriously our group got way cooler by hanging out at this local Hanoi hot spot....all we needed was some mopeds to lean on & we would have fit right in
Ho Chi Minh Masoleum in HanoiHo Chi Minh Masoleum in Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Masoleum in Hanoi

unfortunately he was in Russia at the time so we could not go inside
Our junk in Halong BayOur junk in Halong Bay
Our junk in Halong Bay

a junk is a boat -- i learned something!
more Halong Baymore Halong Bay
more Halong Bay

so beautiful!
navigating Halong Baynavigating Halong Bay
navigating Halong Bay

my tour friends & I on our junk
so long, farewell...our last group dinnerso long, farewell...our last group dinner
so long, farewell...our last group dinner

the tour went so fast! it was already time to say goodbye to all my new friends with accents ;)

20th October 2008

You have made the countries you have visited come alive. I never thought I wanted to visit Veitnam but now I will have to put it on the wish list. So glad your tour was fun. Keep writing, I'm lovin it.

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