Hey y'all!!! If you follow me on Insta then you probably saw that I just came back from Vietnam a few weeks ago and let me tell you, it was AMAZING. When I told people I was going to Vietnam a lot of them were like first, "Are you Vietnamese?" Lol which no, I'm Chinese, and then next they were like "that's so random." Which I do think Vietnam isn't a typical vacation destination, but I think that's what made it so special and I definitely think it should be a more mainstream vacation spot because it is incredible!!!! I learned so much about Vietnam's history, the war (which I realized I knew nothing about) and a lot about their culture!
Our trip consisted of two parts: first we went to Hanoi which is the capital of Vietnam and the second half in Ho Chi Minh which used to be named Saigon!
Part 1: Hanoi
The travel to Vietnam was my least favorite part, there aren't any direct flights so on the way there we flew to Doha, Qatar (my first time in Qatar!) and then from Doha to Hanoi. The whole journey there took more than 24 hours but we landed in the morning into Hanoi! We had a personal tour guide for most of our trip which was really nice because we got to see and learn about Vietnam right from a local! Sidenote, I can't wait for y'all to see my food post, there was so much amazing food in Vietnam!
The second day we drove to the dock where we took a day long boat ride/cruise to see Halong Bay. This was one of the most beautiful sights I've seen in my entire life. The bay contains all of these small mountain rock formations that just come out of the water. Ha Long means "descending dragon" because in the legend, gods sent down dragons to help protect Vietnam and these rock formations are what they left behind. I have a tendency to get sea sick but the bay was so calm I didn't get sick at all which was great. It was super relaxing on the boat and later I actually went kayaking on my own, and seeing the rocks up close is just a breathtaking experience. We stopped at this island, Titop island, where we climbed 425 steps to the top for this amazing view! But it was worth it. We also saw some caves which were really cool too! If you decide to make it to Vietnam, coming to Halong Bay is 100% a must in my opinion.
Once we got back to Hanoi, we drove to Trang Am where we also took a canoe ride around more rock formations and into some caves which was really incredible also! The water ride was really relaxing, and this location was actually where King Kong: Skull Island was filmed! (I watched this movie after our trip and I recommend it! It was super cool seeing a movie and being like "omg I've been there!").
On our last day we went to the a few museums, including a prison museum, a few temples, and the Mausoleum to see the body of Ho Chi Minh. It was a very eye-opening experience to me seeing how everyone really worshipped this man who brought communism to Vietnam and they credit him with so much of their country's success. While their viewpoints may differ from ours in the United States, I had nothing for respect for their country's history and I really enjoy learning how other countries live.
Part 2: Ho Chi Minh (or Saigon)
Halfway through our trip we flew South to Ho Chi Minh which was only about 2 hours by flight. We learned from our tour guide that most residents in Ho Chi Minh still call the city Saigon because they don't like being communist whereas in the North they are more adjusted and like their lifestyle. This was super interesting to me and completely different from the worshipping of Ho Chi Minh that we saw in Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh was totally different than Hanoi, it is super hot and humid since it's a lot more South, and has much more a city feel than Hanoi.
These are a few pictures of this forest of rubber trees we stopped to look at in Saigon! So amazing, the sap of these trees is actual rubber and people come to collect them every few days!
We went to the Vinh Trang Pagoda and saw this HUMONGOUS Buddha which was amazing. There was a sitting buddha and also a sleeping buddha. We visited a few temples which I really enjoyed and it made me want to learn more about Buddhism so that is something I had to add to my to-do list.
We visited a coconut candy factory and a honey farm where we took another canoe between our boat ride to get there. We also visited a rice paper farm where they make the rice paper that are in the super popular Vietnamese spring rolls, and they shred this rice paper to make rice noodles that go in pho!!
Our last day we visited the floating market which was so cool!! This is where the locals buy their produce to sell on the streets. We bought some fruit from a boat that came up to us, and literally hooked her boat to ours and wouldn't leave until we bought something, haha.
This trip was honestly so amazing and I can't wait for y'all to see all the food we ate! That blog post will be coming soon!! One thing that was super unique about our trip, we took so many modes of transportation! We went on a boat almost every day water, and once by horse! There is so much shopping in Vietnam, especially for knock-off products since Vietnam is one of the largest textile-producing factories after China, I think. I really loved learning about Vietnamese culture and learning more about our history with them! I hope you enjoyed seeing some pictures from our vacation! Vietnam is an incredible country and somewhere you should definitely put on your travel bucket list!!