Gooood Morning Vietnam!
Hanoi Travel Blog› entry 6 of 8 › view all entries
July 9th, 2009 – by: fifiona17
Although there is more to tell you than my trip to Vietnam, I'm going to focus on that for this entry and tell you about the rest later.
How It Started:
One of the exchange students from France (and a dear friend since meeting her) proposed taking a trip during our mini break from school on the 7th &8th of July. Since she had school on the 6th, and I had class on the 9th, we decided to each miss one day of school, and consequently visit Vietnam for six days. My room mate, Charlene, two other French boys, and a French couple (all of my dearest friends here) all booked flights for Ha Noi for 120 euros! Then it was off to the Vietnam consulate for some tourist visas.
What we did:
Upon arriving in Ha Noi, we immediately found a hotel and had a good night sleep. The next day it was off to Hua Lu, a town three hours south of Ha Noi. I'm still not sure what the exact significance of this place is, but we went because every tourist office had pictures of what is supposed to be a lovely day trip. Too bad it rained. Our tour guide spoke in-audible English and so each one of us had different interpretations of the story she was telling us. Turns out that the temples she was showing us from 1968 where old kings were buried, were actually from 968. We didn't figure that out until later though. At the times they just looked like crappy 50 year old temples.
Moving on. After our first taste of cooked Vietnamese food (breakfast was a "pain au chocolat" from a french bakkery - Yum!) which included rice, tofu, a chicken stir-fry, cooked veggies, and spring rolls, we went on a boat tour to see some of the nature.
We went through a couple of cave/tunnels and saw various sights like a woman using her shoes as paddles, a cow next to a broken bicycle, various Asians openly staring at us, and ladies in canoes selling sodas and chips. This boat ride was also our first experience (of many) being ripped off and exploited for being "rich" westerners.
The next day it was off to Ho Long Bay, something everyone recommended we do whilst visiting Vietnam. This trip involved staying on a boat for one night while it travelled around the coast, letting you see some beautiful scenery. A pit stop to visit some caves, and a six am kayaking trip were among the excitement for this one. Too bad the weather was still grey at this point because it didn't give us the beautiful sights we had hoped for, but the two-day trip was a lovely experience nonetheless.
Having travelled south and east (and already being in the north), our next trip was off to west Wietnam. We booked a three night, two day trip to the mountainous village of Sappa, where one can see some native Vietnamese tribal people work in the rice fields and stay with a family overnight.
Don't be fooled however, even these people expect some compensation. Once arriving in their village, they hand you off to the next tribe, but not before opening up the baskets they have been carrying and soliciting the purchase of their hand-made goods. Naturally, with my two Mongs, I ended up buying two things, and spending way to much money.
Having experienced Sappa for two days, and a lovely ten-hour night train each way with triple bunk-beds (see picture), the only thing left to do was explore a little of Ha Noi city itself. Besides being ugly, noisy, and full of people ready to rip off a white person, there is little other to see besides an embalmed Ho Chi Min, and his former residence. So see the former communistic leader of Vietnam we did! Then we caught a little bit of sleep before flying back to Bangkok.
When being asked about Vietnam I respond with two things; first, that I'm glad I went and saw this new culture, and two, that I'm really happy I don't have to go back, or want to go back, because I'm still living in Bangkok for another eight months and would hate it if there was somewhere else i would rather live.
Either way, I had an amazing experience with my six favorite people here in Thailand, and I'm so grateful these opportunities continuously present themselves. Who would have thought I would end up in Vietnam during a quick break from school?? Random awesomeness!
Now its back to the books as I have three quizzes, two term papers, and four midterm exams - all in 8 days.
And yes, this blog entry is total procrastination from my marketing report.
More to come soon.... take care of yourselves, and enjoy the holidays to their fullest as random adventures are one of life's greatest gifts!
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