Each visit to Vietnam offers something special. I have family members that fought in the Vietnam War so I took personal interest to learn about the war from the Vietnamese perspective. I support soldiers but I do not support war. I think that war is a lose-lose situation for all involved and civilians are often the ones that pay the biggest price. One of the best lessons that I’ve learned through my travels around South East Asia is that people with less often give more. There is something extremely peaceful about simple living. I’d disappear to life on a plantation (or off grid) in a hot minute… these are some of my beautiful moments in Vietnam.
In 2007, four of us spent a long weekend in Ho Chi Minh City. Lots of city walks, street food, motorbike rides, and a side road trip to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. I’m not sure what I expected but the museums were heartwrenching and the entry fees were based on your passport. I didn’t realise the magnitude of damage caused by Agent Orange… Very powerful and humbling… When we negotiated prices with the motorbike guys, we ended up getting a 2 for 1 (father/son) combo. My friends thought I was better suited with the father (older people tend to drive safer). My driver was HILARIOUS. He kept flexing his arms and asking me to touch his toned tummy. He was built like an endurance athlete! He kept his promise to drive safe… extra bonus as he kept me laughing!
In 2010, I returned to Ho Chi Minh with a dear friend. We enjoyed city walks, War Museum and a beautiful boat ride down the Me Kong River. I enjoy being in nature and my favourite part was watching the vendors selling their produce on the river. We were also able to see families doing laundry (and bathe) in the river. Pretty sure they mentioned the presence of alligators. Very brave people indeed! I was able to take a medicinal shot of snakes blood and learn how to make local sweets (rice wrap). We spent time at the Reunification Palace and sipped tea whilst people watching in backpackers alley.
In 2013, a small group of us went to Hanoi. I’m a walker so lots of time spent getting lost in various neighborhoods, motorbike racing, street food, parks, massages, and museums. A road trip to Ha Long Bay was a beautiful way to unwind. In Ha Long Bay, we enjoyed sitting top deck on a local junk boat. We spent time marveling karsts and had a few hours checking out caves! I’m more of an open-air traveler but the caves were an interesting add-on. The trip took an unexpected turn when someone in the group suffered a panic attack. We had to coordinate getting him to the hospital. The hotel was super helpful to assist us in extending our stay – they even treated us to some special honey!
I’m very fortunate because I tend to meet some of the most beautiful people and have the most magical experiences during my travels around the world!
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