Monday, March 18, 2013

Love and Vietnam can Finally be in the same sentence!

I'm sure it's been no secret, my feelings for Vietnam.
From the very beginning, spending six long, hot, and muggy days in Ho Chi Minh, I just wasn't the keenest of this place, despite everyone else's words of love I was hearing prior to our arrival.
Taking an 8 hour train ride, complete with a stranger's foot near my face, to Nha Trang where the beaches were just "okay" didn't help either.
Then we took another unbearably long train ride to Danang where I was kept awake by an old Vietnamese lady sharing our tiny room.

Danang was better, yes. We did a hike through some caves, saw a ginormous Buddha statue, and took a day trip to Hoi An, which was a really cute, French-influenced town.
But then, as if the last two train rides weren't unenjoyable enough, we decided a third trip, this time the longest at 16 hours, was necessary.
I shared a room with a Vietnamese man who put his bare foot on my bunk as he was crawling up to his top bunk several times to grab his things. (What is it with Vietnamese and feet?)
This man then decided that playing very loud Vietnamese music from his phone while going to sleep at 1am was a good idea. Um, no. Bad idea, sir. Very bad idea.

Anyway, I would like to say exiting that very long train ride upon arrival in Hanoi was a breath of fresh air, but alas, I would be lying. Hanoi is just as muggy and dirty as Ho Chi Minh.
The Dizzle was feeling it too. You could just tell. Our energy levels were lower, we kept talking about our next destination instead of just enjoying our current location.
We were about to give up on Vietnam.

But then.

We discovered real life Waterworld, folks. I'm talking 1995, Kevin Costner status Waterworld.
Or, to be more specific: Halong Bay.
We booked a 2 day/1 night junk boat cruise tour and let me tell you, this was my most favorite thing here in Vietnam.
It was so beautiful, unlike anything I'd ever seen in this country.
The life came back to us! We had big, genuine smiles on our faces!
We remembered why we wanted to travel and see the world!

Let me tell you a little bit about Halong Bay, if you don't mind.
It consists of almost 2000 little islands and islets and as we kayaked around these ginormous masses, we saw a whole community of people that live out there right on the water.
It wasn't uncommon to see a family of 5, plus two dogs, living on this tiny boat with no electricity. They would make what little money they had through fishing and selling to the mainland.
Their children were uneducated past the age of 10 from their local "school on water" they built.
They still had arranged marriages in this water community of theirs.
It was pretty unbelievable to see this type of living situation in existence in 2013.
But you know? They all seemed to be pretty genuinely happy (despite being stared at by thousands of tourists each week).

Along with kayaking, this boat cruise included all of your meals as well as a cooking class on board. We were also able to exit the boat and explore the nearby caves.
I definitely recommend doing this at some point in your lives.
In 2012, Halong Bay was voted as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.
Pretty nifty, huh?

Okay, that's the end of my Tour Guide speech.

Tonight is our very last night here in Vietnam.
Today also marks our official 4 MONTHS of travel. Wowza.

Tomorrow: Phuket, Thailand.

Hope you had a fab weekend and aren't too hungover from your St. Patty's festivities.
Now enjoy your Monday, you hear?


P.S. Hope you've entered for this month's group giveaway! Ch-ch-ch-check it!

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  1. that boat looks amazing. it's definitely something we want to do when we make it to Vietnam. and i can't believe it about your bunk mate playing music that loud! koreans will walk around with music blasting from their cell phone, hiking, walking around town, there's always someone doing it!

  2. What a cool thing to see! I remember last year in one of my classes we learned about some communities that live on the water. so interesting and awesome that you actually got to see it!

  3. Wow your pictures are beautiful girl!

  4. Photos are A-mazing today! :) And you definitely convinced me that I want to visit.

  5. It was about time for redemption. While your last posts have been hilarious, I was wondering when this trip would turn around again for you. Loll

  6. I have heard so many fantastic things about Halong Bay - I must get there some day!

    Enjoy Phuket - soak up some sun for me ;)

  7. the pictures really look pretty amazing. Im adding vietnam to my wishlist :)

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  8. God, that place looks amaxing!
    And weirdly me and the boyfriend watched Waterworld the other week and I loved it!!!

  9. You and VietDizzle look so happy! I am loving all these photos! Safe travels to Phucket!

  10. Oh Mish, you were starting to really deter me from my motherland. Well I'm not totally convinced I should go, but I def want to go to this place you call Waterworld! I love these photos to posted :) safe travels to Thailand!

  11. Wowzers it looks incredible, all those little big islands!
    I can't wait to see Thailand!!! Everyone I know who's been there loves it...someday for me I hope!
    Have fun girly ;) happy 4 month travelversary

  12. Gorgeous photos! I'm so happy that you found a place to enjoy while in Vietnam. Even in the grossest of places, occasionally there is a gem! :)

  13. That reminds me of the floating villages near Siem Reap in Cambodia. Speaking of, if you have time to get over to Siem Reap I highly recommend it! Angkor Wat and the Jungle Temple (from Lara Croft Tomb Raider) were beyond amazing!!! Plus if you think Thailand is cheap, Cambodia is even cheaper and they take the American dollar! They sell all the same souvenirs as well if your looking to send something home.



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