After traveling solo in Thailand for a few days, I flew from Bangkok into Hanoi, Vietnam to meet up with a lovely new friend who was willing to adventure to three countries with me. Upon arriving we took in Hanoi. It is the home of pho (the noodle soup), which were really good. Tried egg coffee, which is like a latte drink, but subbing the milk out for whipped egg white - tasted just like creme brûlée dessert. And spent the rest of the day relaxing before we headed off to our next adventure early the next day.
Early in the morning we woke up to go to Halong Bay, which is known for its "emerald green waters and limestone islands" (taken from wikipedia)... but our experience was equally as beautiful but much different. We boarded a boat, with 12 other foreign travelers and headed out to see the hundreds of islands up close. The weather was very cloudy and rainy, and stayed the same way for the entire trip. It wasn't like we had seen in the pictures online, but had a spooky and eerie feeling about it will all the fog, which made it seem more mysteriously beautiful. Island after island had its head in the clouds, and far in the distance you could make out rough shapes where other islands would be. It was all very enchanting. That day we explored a very large cave on an island, and hiked to the top of a different island that had a beautiful overlook of the foggy bay.
That evening we were set to stay the night on the boat and anchored in the bay in the middle of the amazing islands. We went squid fishing, and a woman from France caught one! It was amazing to see one changing color and spots up close. After resting for the night, we headed out bright and early to kayak around more islands. This was probably the highlight of my time in Vietnam. Sadly, I didn't bring my phone to take pictures, wouldn't want it to fall in the water, but going in and out and through these gorgeous islands was really magical. At one point, we paddled into a narrow channel which let us into the center of an island. We were far from the sound of boat motors and human laughter, and were completely encircled by the solid island. Amidst the newfound silence the sounds of birds and the light pat of rain on the water flooded into our ears. It was peaceful. It was breathtaking. I could have stayed there for hours. Absolutely lovely.
After this, we headed back to the mainland, and back to Hanoi. We finished our time off in Vietnam by chasing food, souvenirs, and a train that famously goes through the town. (We had to talk a tuk tuk, or rickshaw, driver into pedaling us across town to catch it, haha.) Overall, I found Vietnam to have the most confusing currency conversion and the craziest traffic.
Even though the weather was poor on this leg of the journey, we didn't let it dampen out spirits. After all, there was more adventure to be had in more countries! ...Which I will write more about after my two tests! 😄
Looking forward to the weekend,