4 Reasons Why You’ll Love vietnam

4 Reasons Why You’ll Love vietnam

Vietnam in July. This was our plan.  My girls and I went off to explore the north and center and spent 3 weeks in this beautiful country.

3 weeks is not a lot of time so we had to make hard choices! We had planned to also visit Saigon, but at the last minute changed plans due to violent downpours.

 

Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia. It borders Cambodia, Laos, and China. On a map, it looks very long and thin and each region has it’s own climate depending on the time of year.

Saying Vietnam has gone through years of occupation, turmoil and war is an understatement.

Between China, Japan, the US, and France, Vietnam has had its share of battles over time.  The last one, the Vietnam War was particularly brutal and inhumane, ending in 1975, with the unification of the south and north.

At that time, the  Socialist Republic of Vietnam came to light and to this day they have been involved in a long reconstruction process.

 

In spite of high scam warnings, food, and water warnings, taxi warnings, overcharging warnings, currency exchange warnings and I could go on and on – we loved Vietnam.

All the warnings are true to some degree. People have had bad experiences.  Nomadic Matt talks about it here and he’s not alone.

Of course, it’s always best to go and make up your own mind, but one thing is sure, when going to Vietnam you need a very high level of alertness!

Which doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

 

girls having fun with water vietnam

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We loved the kindness of most people and how they did their best to help even if we didn’t need it. Communication was close to zero which gave way to a few misunderstanding and a lot of smiles – it’s hard to get the word tone right!

Our time spent cooking with families up north was unique. It didn’t really matter that the only words we knew were hello (xin chao) and thank you (cám ơn).

Imitating gestures and laughter works well in these situations.

Other places we explored like Hoi An or sailing on Ha Long Bay were really worth writing home about.

 

The 4 reasons we loved Vietnam:

Hanoi, Mai Chau, Ha Long, and Hoi An.

 

 

HANOI

girl on moped hanoi vendor

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The city of Hanoi is always busy and bustling, filled with sights, sounds, smells that all mix together in one place.

The noise in this fascinating capital stretches from each street corner through tiny courtyards and onwards to the next corner.

Day or night, everywhere you look there is some type of activity going on.

Vendors pushing their heavy fruit carts, women carrying goods on their shoulders in baskets which hang from a pole, families on the sidewalk offering small produce laid out on a piece of fabric.

People cooking on makeshift burners and locals always going somewhere – always.

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MAI CHAU

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mai chau wood house mountains vietnam
House in Mai Chau. Photo Urban Pax

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Charming Mai Chau, what a welcome escape from chaotic Hanoi.

Rice fields and mountains, villagers with a smile and kids playing as if life was carefree. That’s the image Mai Chau gives.

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HA LONG BAY

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brown sailboat on halong bay

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Sail on a junk boat. The natural beauty of the limestone rocks is like a sculpture. It looks abstract and almost magical.

It’s true that Ha Long is busy and touristy, but it is still worth the trip if you go at least 1 or 2 nights.

Don’t go for the day. It’s possible but it is exhausting and won’t see the real beauty or experience any peace and quiet.

Coupled with the fact that it is a 4-hour ride from Hanoi, it will be very very rushed and we can’t recommend it.

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HOI AN

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small fishing boat 2 men hoian
Fishing boat Hoian. Photo: Urban Pax

 

This is where we would have stayed longer if we had more time.

Hoi An is like going back in time with its architecture, yellow tones, charming bridge, and relaxed feel as you walk the streets.

Hoi An is also vibrant and smiles all the time.

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