On Leaving Vietnam

Viet Nam was never on my list of countries to visit on this trip to SE Asia.  I have other travelers to thank for strongly influencing me to go there, particularly Lauren and Natalie who invited me to travel with them there.  I stayed for the entirety of my 30-day VISA and feel like I really got to know the country as well as one can in only a month.  I don’t know if it was because I was there longer than the other countries I went to in SEA, or if it was the culture, the food, the people, the nature, the history… or most likely a combination of all those things… but Vietnam was definitely my favorite SE Asian country that I visited.  Followed closely (very closely) by Indonesia.  (If I had spent more than two weeks in Indonesia, it’s very possible that it would have been my favorite.)

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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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