A Week in Vietnam
It was in mid-July 2012 that I travelled to Vietnam. To be honest, the trip was never part of my plans for that year, but I became a “victim” of wonderfully cheap airline promotion in early January 2012. I was travelling with five friends, and I would say that Vietnam is not what I’d imagined before. In fact it exceeded my humble expectations. We went for six days, hopping from one city to another. We arrived at Ho Chi Minh City, the capital ofVietnam. We went on to Hanoi on the next day by plane, where we stayed for two nights before going to Ha Long Bay to witness the magnificent creations of Mother Nature. To me, though, the most unforgettable place in Vietnam is Hanoi. The city is filled with old buildings, colonial style. The city is not as big as Ho Chi Minh, but I found pretty much everything here, from shopping centres with branded items, cool hangouts, a beautiful lake, to historic sites and museums. Our three day/two night stay at the city was packed with an exciting itinerary. I stayed in a French colonial-style hotel right in the centre of the city, which is accessible to almost everywhere else. The transport was cheap as we always rode minivan taxis which could carry the six of us at the same time. The people were friendly and the food tasted good. I felt I could connect with the soul of Vietnam in this old city, while learning about its history through dozens of museums and temples. One of these is The Temple of Literature built in 1070 at the oldest university in Hanoi. The temple area consists of four courtyards with the last having a temple dedicated to Confucius and there is a statue of him inside. Until now, it is still one of the most important venues forVietnam people to host cultural and educational events there; too bad there was no event when we were there. Another interesting place is Hua Lo Prison. Here, I learned a lot about the life of Vietnamese prisoners during the French occupation and of American soldiers imprisoned here in the 1960s and ‘70s.The museum reveals a lot of dark secrets from the Vietnam war many years ago. If you love vegetables, then Vietnam is a vege-haven for you. Personally, I love them! I am glad that most authentic food in Vietnam consists of leaves and fruits mixed with interesting spices: really refreshing. The last day in Hanoi was spent looking for souvenirs and snacks, and I am happy that there were dozens of mouth-watering snacks to bring home, too bad I did not have enough space for them in my suitcase. I had a pleasant experience in Vietnam, and I’m looking forward to re-visiting this place. Maybe next time I’ll travel straight to Hanoi and then on to its surroundings. Ha Long Bay was also nice, I miss the amazing views and the kayaking session we had.