A Week in Viet­nam

Maxx-M - - TRAVEL STORY - Si­enny Jakarta

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.

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