Above the clouds in Sapa, Vietnam

 

Sapa is a small town way up in the mountains of northwestern Vietnam.  It is a popular spot on the tourist trail for its trekking, homestays, cool weather, and beautiful vistas.  Even though I had heard good things about Sapa, I had a hard time deciding if I would go there, or instead to a town called Mai Chau which is not as touristy.  In the end, I decided to follow some of my travel buddies to up to Sapa on an overnight bus from Hanoi.

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Halong Bay, Vietnam

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In Vietnamese, “halong” means “descending dragon.”  Legend has it that Halong Bay was formed thousands of years ago by dragons who came down from the heavens to protect local inhabitants from invaders.  The Dragon Mother and her children spat giant emeralds into the sea battlefield, which created a defensive barricade against the invaders.  The emeralds eventually turned into the islands and islets that majestically dot the ocean landscape off the northern Vietnam coast.

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Indonesia: My Review

I really loved Indonesia.  I was able to visit three islands in two weeks: Java, Bali, and Nusa Lembongan.  Even though I didn’t love the vibe in Kuta or the tedium of Padangbai, there is something special about Bali. Although it has its pros and cons, it is undeniably beautiful and there are good reasons why it’s so popular. I want to go back and visit Ubud, Amed, and other towns along the coast.  I had a wonderful time in Java; there was so much to see and do.  Nusa Lembongan was a perfect island paradise.

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Nusa Lembongan and Kuta

Nusa Lembongan
On April 26th, I took a ferry over to Nusa Lembongan (Lembongan Island), just east of Bali.  Nusa Lembongan is beautiful, small, and relaxed.  It would be a fantastic place for a honeymoon.  It is also great for surfing, diving, snorkeling, and other water sports.  The water is clean and crystal clear.  Wikitravel lists its “attractions” as: Paradise Beach, Mushroom Beach, Dream Beach, Sandy Bay, Tamarind Beach, Scoobydoo Beach (no joke), Mangrove Forest, Seaweed Farms, and SUNSETS.  I mean, seriously… does it get any better than that?!  All of the attractions are just nature being nature.  It is truly an island paradise.

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