- August 2008
During the trip to Laos we also ventured over to Vietnam. I was excited and nervous about this trip because I had no knowledge of what it would really be like. My only knowledge was the history of the Vietnam war. But once there, I gained knowledge of the country, the people, the food and I fell in love. I fell in love with the spirit of the people thriving under less than desirable conditions. I fell in love with the food that knocks you out with amazing colors and flavors. I fell in love with the landscape.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) We used Ho Chi Minh City as our starting point to travel the rest of the country. We spent a great deal of time exploring the city and loved it.
Lived: Park Hyatt Saigon http://www.saigon.park.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp
Discovered: The city. I advise you to go off the beaten path. There are so many great shops and restaurants popping up all over the city. Young designers and artisans with entrepreneurial spirits are starting to shape the city in a completely modernized way. But also don’t miss the Ben Thanh Market. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%E1%BA%BFn_Th%C3%A0nh_Market
Loved: Ca phe sua da or Vietnamese coffee. Try it!
From the south we flew to Hanoi the capitol in the North. Many things about Hanoi are different from Saigon. It’s not quite the hustle and bustle of Saigon. It’s still an amazing city with tons of history. You should experience it and you should definitely experience the Sofitel Metropole.
Lived: Sofitel Metropole http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-1555-sofitel-metropole-hanoi/nearby.shtml
This hotel is laced with history, you must check out both wings in this hotel. The old wing is old colonial style and the new Opera wing is an updated modern escape. We stayed in the Opera wing and it was amazing. Way more than we expected.
Ha Long Bay
From Hanoi we took off by car to one of my favorite experiences of our trip. Granted the car ride there was like a game of frogger with real lives we arrived safely in the heaven that is Ha Long Bay. Ha Long Bay is also a UNESCO world heritage site and for very good reason. You can’t describe the beauty of this place in words. It is one place that I have come across where only memories will do it justice. Fortunately, I have the most incredible ones I will never forget. My husband went out on a limb and hired a private junk boat instead of going the tourist route and for that I will be forever grateful.
Discovered, Lived & Loved: Private Princess Junk Boat Tour. One night, Ha Long Bay, No tourists, a private area of the bay, private room, amazing chef, wine, a full moon and the view of a lifetime.