The Land of Uncle Ho
Trip Start Sep 22, 2010
28Trip End May 17, 2011
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Hanoi was our first stop and we fell in love with it almost immediately. The city is centered around a small lake surrounded by French era buildings on one side and the magnificent old quarter on the other, which has existed for over a thousand years. Though Saigon is now called Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi is where the former North Vietnamese leader is revered and his embalmed corpse is laid to rest.
Ha Long Bay was our next stop. The unique waterscape consisted of thousands of mountain islands with floating villages scattered throughout the sea. We took a boat tour that gave us a close up view of the floating lifestyle of the fishermen and their families, which surprisingly included many dogs. We kayaked, visited a cave and an island, and met a hilariously great English couple, Matt and Cara. We were based out of Cat Ba Island, where there were nice beaches, a picturesque harbor, and floating restaurants, some where you could pick your dinner out of the nets below the restaurant. We made sure to be back in Hanoi for NYE and our first anniversary celebration, which turned out to be a perfect place for both.
Thankfully, we flew from Hanoi to Saigon (prompted by hell bus flashbacks) and arrived just in time to catch the last night of an international food festival. We had a very sobering experience at the War Remnants Museum, which although very one-sided, was shocking. We cranked up our Canadian accents for that visit ;)