Monday, January 30, 2012

Northern Vietnam

Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Dragon (A week late though)! I actually had no idea that I’d be in Asia during the preparations for Chinese New Year on Jan. 22nd/23rd. Sadly I ended up leaving on the 21st so I didn’t get to celebrate the New Year, but I was there to see some of the prep.

Hanoi = Madness
And no not organized chaos. It really is motorbike headquarters where they rule the city. It’s a pretty loud and intense city that will grow on you. I especially liked Hanoi at night, the city calmed down and it was nice to wander around. I don't get a chance to get any photographs at night - next time though!
Thank You Lauren for the Photograph :)
They really do wear the pointy hats.
Happy New Year 2012
Telecom in Vietnam, at it's finest!
PHO! & Other random street food
Seriously a fridge on a motorbike?
If you are ever in Hanoi definitely stay at Hanoi Backpacker’s Hostel, it was perfect for a solo traveler – thank you Lauren for the rec! I ended up booking both my tours with Hanoi Backpacker’s and the money was definitely well spent!

My first tour was to Sapa in the far North highlands. I had 3 nights and 2 days on this tour – two nights on the overnight train and one night at a homestay.  If the weather is in your favor, GO TO SAPA! We had a great group trekking with us. I met a really sweet girl named Rosie from UK. Her trekking stories were very inspiring. An Israeli couple were also there in Sapa on their honeymoon, pretty sweet place to celebrate your marriage together and very different than the typical beach honeymoon. Sapa was one of the most breathtaking places I have ever visited - beautiful people, town and scenery. I couldn’t soak enough of it in.
Sapa, Vietnam

Awww Sapa I will return, you were too beautiful. My third night was on the overnight train back to Hanoi. Quite the early wakeup call at 4:30am and then I was off to my next tour in Halong Bay at 7:30am. Needless to say the next few days were ridiculously fun but sleepless. 

Halong Bay was really stunning and deserves the 7 wonders of the world distinction. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate the way it did in Sapa and reminded me of being back in SF - super foggy! I met some awesome people on this trip and hope that we will cross paths again. I recommend spending the extra money and doing the 2 night tour to Halong Bay. The first night we stayed on the boat and the second night we stayed on Castaway Island. Sweet private island that was surreal. Chilled by the bonfire, rock climbed, badminton action and played some fun new drinking games.  Good times with some great people from all over the world – Holland (learned that Gouda is a place and the distinction between Holland and The Netherlands), Brasil, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Canada. 


I'm way up there!
Lauren, Me, Casey and Britney

Good saying for what seemed to be the theme of this trip

You can find all my photographs on Picasa:
Halong Bay

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