First let's talk Vietnam. Vietnam had been on my travel bucket list for quite some time, so I was really excited to not only be able to go there for a week, but I was able to go with my friends as well since our vacation time happened to coincide. We wanted to pack in as much as possible into our single week there, so our itinerary included three different cities: Hanoi (capital city), Danang and Hoi An. We decided it was best to start in Hanoi and work our way south. Hanoi was...busy, to put it simply. Out of all the places I've been, Hanoi had the absolute worst traffic I've ever seen. I don't even know if it was the traffic that was bad, or if it was the fact that there were no traffic laws. My friends and I even began to joke that in Vietnam green lights mean go, yellow lights mean go and red lights also mean go. Crossing the street was literally an endangerment to our lives. Other than the awful street nonsense, I also noticed a lot of French influence in Hanoi, especially in the city's colonial-style architecture.
Just a glimpse of the traffic...the picture doesn't quite do it justice.
The Vietnam crew: Casey, Cara, Chris, JaeHee and Me
While in Hanoi, we took a 2-day/1-night cruise into Ha Long Bay. The bay consists of about 1,500 small islands. During our cruise we were able to do many activities, including: kayaking, exploring one of the larger islands that was home to wild monkeys, tour a pearl farm, and join a Vietnamese cooking lesson. But possibly my favorite part of the cruise was being randomly grouped with all Koreans on our boat for the entirety of our Ha Long Bay cruise...it felt so familiar!
Our cruise tour group: 2 Dutch, 4 Americans and 6 Koreans
Enjoying the views of Halong Bay while relaxing on our cruise boat.
Halong Bay is filled with thousands of tiny islands like these.
Kayaking in Halong Bay at sunset.
After sightseeing in Hanoi for a few days, we took a 45-minute flight to Danang which is situated in the middle of the country on the coast. Danang was a much slower pace than Hanoi and we were able to relax on the beach and walk around the city. I really enjoyed the fact that Vietnam, and especially Danang, had much fewer tourists than the previous Southeast Asian countries I have visited.
Vietnamese rice hats
Hoi An shopping district
I almost drove into a lake, but no one needs to know that.
Eating traditional Vietnamese Pho. So delicious!
Coffee is very popular in Vietnam. We tried a special kind that was mixed with egg.
I would've loved to have been able to stay in Vietnam longer, but I had already made plans to go somewhere else...MO! More on that trip next time!