The next place I visited on my long 3 month xmas holidays was Vietnam. This is somewhere I never would have thought to go for a holiday if I was in England, but being so much closer to a lot of these places now that I live in Melbourne has allowed me to visit places I probably would never have gone to otherwise!
Literally the day after getting back from Airlie beach, I had to catch an early flight to Vietnam. This time I was flying solo and thought I’d try out a contiki tour. This is an Australian based organised travel company and it is very popular here so I thought I should try it out. The morning of the flight was extremely hectic though! My friend who was dropping me off at the airport had overslept, and then once we got to the airport I left my phone in the car and only realised once my friend had left. I had to use a pay phone and hope that he would turn around, eventually he came back but after waiting for so long I almost missed my flight. I think it was fair to say this trip didn’t start off too well.
First impressions were crazy. It is not a major tourist destination yet so it was quite daunting being in a place where very few people speak English and I found it all quite intimidating. The roads in Vietnam are definitely infamous for their lack of attention to traffic lights…crossing the road was quite an experience in itself!
Unfortunately I went during rainy season, and it very much lived up to its name. We visited Saigon, Huey, Hanoy and Ha Long bay, the latter by far being the best part about this trip. It is one of the less well known seven natural wonders of the world but it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. We cruised through a limestone maze of thousands of little islands with the only soundtrack being the ‘poot poot poot’ of the traditional fishing boats the Vietnamese people still use and rely on today.
Overall, the trip was fun but it was quite clear to see how poor a lot of the people that live there are, and because it is not qutie flooded with tourists this was all still very evident. It made me appreciate everything I have and all the opportunities that are available to me a lot more and it was a very reflective trip.