As we wrap up our time in Vietnam, I’m finding myself truly saddened. I really adore this country, and I’m not ready to leave. We haven’t seen it all! It’s just too beautiful to let go. Not only does Vietnam have an extremely impressive landscape, it also contains some of the kindest people we’ve encountered. I just don’t want to say goodbye.
We began our Vietnam tour in motorbike central, Ho Chi Minh City:
Abiding by the traffic light laws doesn’t really happen here. Any color just means go. Oh, and don’t forget to honk continuously while on the road. Otherwise, you’re doing it wrong.
In order to cross the street, you just need to go when you can. Otherwise, you are standing on the side of the road for eternity. But do keep in mind that when you step out onto that crosswalk, there is a grand possibility you just might die, green walking guy or not.
Can you spot the two ladies walking in this photo? Hint: look for the red shirt…
While in Ho Chi Minh, Aaron convinced us to check out the market. Now, I’m not much of a fan of markets. And usually need a cocktail (or four) to enter these spaces. Why am I not too keen on them? One: they reek of the fruits and raw meats rotting in the sweltering heat. Two: they are intensely tight quarters with extreme salespeople. And this one, was the worst! This market had women who would grab your arm and not let you go in the order to get that sale.
Scelena and myself putting on a brave face. (UGH, no more markets Jambrosic!)
Even though the markets can be a little intense with the high pressure sales techniques, the salespeople we encountered on the streets weren’t too bad. Scelena had a great experience while purchasing some killer shades at a smoking (and very secret) price of 100,000 dong, protective case included. Most of them follow you for a while, and give up after a few “no thanks” responses. Other sales techniques? They just put you to work, and then ask you to buy a coconut. But not to worry, you can easily walk away from the coconut. No arm grabbing here, just some smiles and ample time to snap a photo or two.
Leaving Ho Chi Minh behind, we traveled to Hanoi by plane. On our way to the plane, we were herded onto a cramped bus. So of course I took the opportunity to snap a photo of this cozy spot (the peace sign = necessary).
After landing in Hanoi, we were greeted by Tom’s (Scelena’s boyfriend) favorite actor…
He actually loathes his acting skills, and we have had intense conversations about Cage. Yes, he can over act but come on! Even Tom cannot deny the awesomeness of Raising Arizona.
“I’ll be taking these Huggies, and whatever cash you got!”
Once in Hanoi, we were greeted by another beautiful city. I mean, talk about gorgeous!
View from City View Cafe:
Such beautiful boutique hotels in Hanoi:
St. Joseph Cathedral:
Daddy, Daughter stroll down a side street:
Scelena and myself enjoying Hanoi:
So, you interested in being a queen for a couple days? If your answer is YES then head over to CatBa and rent yourself a private boat for two nights. Yup, your very own crew and stunning views await you! So what are you waiting for?!
Passing a floating village where our guide Hien lives:
Relaxing on my bean bag chair & enjoying the spectacular views:
Happy hour in this place doesn’t suck:
You Jump, I Jump! We did this a lot…
On our CatBa boating trip, we kayaked quite a bit. Our guide Hien, took us around to see the sites. The water was warm, the weather was perfect (although overcast mostly, it was still in the mid to upper 80s), and the views were outstanding.
I used my limbo skills to get to a hidden lagoon:
On our final day on the boat, we awoke at 5:45AM to begin an early morning of biking and hiking.
A lonely fisherman who waved to us as we rode by:
Scelena and Aaron on their bikes:
Right outside the village where we began our hike:
The vista at the top of the trek:
CatBa, what an adventure!
Now, in order to get to CatBa from Hanoi, we had quite the venture. First, we got on a bus in Hanoi. Second, we transferred to another bus. Third, a boat ride to CatBa. Fourth, another bus. And fifth, a minivan to the dock where our private boat awaited us with open, de-stressing arms. The whole transportation time took less than 6 hours, so it wasn’t too bad. But knowing we had to do it all again and then some, was something I didn’t really want to think about.
After our full morning of biking and hiking the National Forest, we waved goodbye to our boat crew and hopped into the minivan that began the long ride to SaPa. Then bus. Boat. Bus. Bus. And hooray! Here we are, back in Hanoi! We grabbed a taxi, where we were pretty sure the driver was cracked out, and went to pick up our train tickets. Then, we were off to the train station for our overnight travel to SaPa.
Holy hell that was a long day and night. With barely any sleep on the train, we checked into our hotel in SaPa, showered, ate a lovely breakfast on the hotel terrace, and met up with Gur (our hiking guide for the day) who would trek us around SaPa for the next 6 hours. Oof, I was gonna sleep well that night (and I did).
Sarah helps me down the mountain. I really appreciated that woman:
At lunch, Aaron was engulfed by these young ladies trying to sell him bracelets. He kept politely refusing but only got the reply, “you buy from me?” in these monotoned, Children of the Corn voices.
While trekking through on of the villages, we came across a water buffalo just hanging out on the side of the road. We took the photo opportunity:
Our guides made us these adorable hearts out of the local plant life:
Loving our hiking adventure in Sapa:
The Love Trail in SaPa:
The women of SaPa absolutely LOVED Aaron:
Leaving SaPa was sad. We all felt that we could stay much longer, but our days on this trip are numbered. We had to say our goodbyes. And so, back to the night train we went! This time, I got more sleep. Exhaustion will help you sleep anywhere, I guess.
And this is where Aaron left us. He had joined us 17 days earlier in Bangkok, and now he had to go home. We hugged over ice cream and french fries (sometimes you just need comfort foods when saying goodbye), and he scampered off to catch his flight. And what of Scelena and me after his departure? No overnight stay in Hanoi for us! Another night train to Hue please. Oh, it’s sold out. Okay, I guess we can try a night bus…
No. Never again. The night bus was awful. Yes, you have chairs that are of a reclining nature. But they are too short for any normal height. Your legs are constantly bent, which becomes painful after the first 6 hours. Then, there are men with intensely smelly feet next to you. Oh, and don’t forget the constant honking while on the road. And the staff will also put down a mat on the aisle next to your seat around midnight, so you are sleeping face to face with a stranger.
GOD give us strength.
Well, He did…because we survived. Once off the bus in Hue, we motorcycled our way to our hilariously named hotel.
We decided to take a motorcycle tour of Hue. Which turned out to be really fun!
My motorcycle selfie:
Enjoying the ride:
My view, hold on tight!:
Scelena giving a thumbs up:
A local woman showing me how to make cinnamon incense:
We rocked these hats:
We’re in Hue Vietnam!!:
And obviously, we rocked these hats too:
A beautiful pagoda:
Tomorrow we travel to Hoi An. So, I will leave you with my current view. I’m sipping a cocktail, by the rooftop pool, and enjoying yet another beautiful sunny day in Hue, Vietnam. Sometimes a girl needs a break from traveling. Thank you Hue for supplying exactly that.