My Vietnam Experience Part 1

I took this photo at sunset on Ha Long Bay–no filter, no post-processing!

When I visited my daughter, Ava, while she was studying in Bangkok (fall of 2019), we took a weekend to visit Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Ha Long Bay has intrigued me for as long as I can remember, and I NEVER thought I would actually get there—or even have the chance to go. So as soon as I had booked my trip to Thailand, I booked our trip to Vietnam–since I was going to be in Southeast Asia, I HAD to make the effort to get there, right? But trying to coordinate with my daughter’s school schedule left us with only a 3.5 day weekend, so we left Thursday evening and made it back to Bangkok Monday morning for her noon class; this allowed us to spend two nights on a Junk boat in Ha Long Bay.

Even though I was in Vietnam for such a short period of time, I fell in love–with the food, the culture, the beauty, the PEOPLE. As soon as I got back to the US, I started organizing a much longer trip back to Vietnam, in my capacity as an adventure travel advisor, and I can’t even tell you how excited I am to publish the trip that has come together for November 2022!

“One’s destination is never a place and always a new way of seeing.” –Henry Miller

This. This quote. This happened to me, on the drive from the airport to our hotel, when we first arrived in Hai Phong. As I was watching the landscape pass by, I thought, “It looks exactly like all the images of Vietnam that I’ve seen.” And then I realized that every image I’ve ever seen, has been in the context of the Vietnam War. Seeing the greenery, I saw the soldiers in the field; seeing the city shops and eateries, I saw the soldiers on their time off. That context stopped that day.

I didn’t have nearly enough time in Vietnam! The people I met were the most friendly. The coffee is the best on the planet. (Interesting Trivia: Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter in the world, after Brazil.) The delicious food is a fusion of Vietnamese and French, born from when Vietnam was a French colony. (Interesting Trivia: Vietnam is the only Asian country that uses the Latin style of lettering, instead of Asian characters. This switch was again the result of being a French colony.) The natural beauty of Vietnam is indescribable—something truly to see for yourself. And the history of this country is mind-blowingly rich; I was never taught much about Asian history, and as a history buff, I am enthralled.

Layers and layers of limestone, as far as the eye can see, around every bend.

Below: What the inside and outside of our floating overnight accommodation looked like. Middle-right photo is of our view from our table in the dining room (my daughter in the shadows, far right). Bottom left photo is on our suite’s balcony.

On one of our excursions, we were taken through magical grottos on these flat-bottomed boats that were rowed by using the leverage of your full body. Ava got to try it and confirmed that it was very difficult and tiring work. Life jackets were one-size fits-all!

We had to duck going through this grotto.


On another excursion, we kayaked around the beautiful limestone islands and swam in the bay at sunset–look closely at the bottom right corner of the photo on the right: Ava:)

Come Explore Vietnam with me in 2022! To view the incredible itinerary, click the button below and be transported!


Vietnam Itinerary

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