Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, became my jumping off point for different areas of northern Vietnam. I stayed there a total of four nights in three different hostels. It was my hub for Halong Bay, Sapa, and back through to fly to Da Nang.
After Hoi An, and en route up to Hanoi, we decided to stop at Phong Nha Ke-Bang National Park (frequently shortened to just Phong Nha). We heard about Phong Nha’s caves from other travelers and thought it sounded worth checking out. We are so glad we went.
Where do I begin with Hoi An? It is a city that makes your soul feel good. Historically a port town, the city’s architecture is a beautiful mix of French colonial buildings, Chinese temples, and an ancient Japanese covered bridge and pagodas. Then there are the Chinese lanterns that are illuminated each night and cast a romantic spell over the old town. I can’t imagine anyone strolling through the city at night, with the myriad of riverfront restaurants and cafes, street artists, floating candles, and bicycle rickshaws carting tourists up and down the street, and not falling at least a little bit in love with the place. Even when it is jam-packed with tourists, as I’m sure it always is. Vietnamese and foreign tourists alike seem to flock to Hoi An. It is like a precious gem set in the center of the country.
Da Lat is a MUST DO in Vietnam. There are so many awesome things about this city…
I never had plans to travel to Vietnam, but after meeting so many travelers who reported that it was their favorite country I have to admit I was more than curious. So when my travel partners, Natalie and Lauren, invited me to join them for their two-week trip, I just had to say yes. So, on May 1 I flew from Bali to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and met up with the girls.
This post is going to sound like a straight advertisement for Singapore’s Changi Airport. It can’t be helped because this airport is the best one I have ever been in and I actually found myself wishing that my 5-hour layover between Bali and Vietnam was LONGER.
On April 16th I flew from Siem Reap to Jakarta, Indonesia to meet up with Lauren and Natalie, my travel buddies from Elephant Nature Park. My original plan was to head up to Laos, but the idea of going to Indonesia was appealing because I would get to travel with the girls again, and because it was surprisingly $100 cheaper to fly to Jakarta than to Luang Prabang. Actually, I never had any plans to visit Indonesia on this trip. I made the decision three days in advance and booked the flight two days in advance. Such is life on the road sometimes. Spontenaity and flexibility can pay off.