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Following a brief stay in Hanoi after our adventure in Halong Bay, we headed to the Hanoi International Airport for a short flight south to the historic Danang Airport. I definitely saw the influence from the war with old airplane hangers from the 1970s that were military in style. The second thing I noticed was the rain. Lots of rain. The weather did not look too good for the rest of the week, but we opted to head to the beach instead north to the mountains and would deal with the rain. We stayed at a very nice resort located right on the historic China Beach. Each day we went to Hoi An and took in the scenery, people and food. One thing I have not mentioned thus far was how good the coffee was there. We stopped multiple coffee shops and they were great besides the constant barrage of people trying to sell useless trinkets to tourists.

Here are some photos from our time in Da Nang and Hoi An:


My second stop in Vietnam was Halong Bay. Everyone I spoke to about about the must-see places in Vietnam mentioned that Halong Bay was ┬ánot to be missed. They were right – it truly was a unique experience. First, the drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay is long and bumpy – the roads were in good condition for the most part, but there were definitely areas where I was questioning the wellbeing of our van’s suspension. We actually did not go into Halong City, and instead departed from Tuan Chau Island. It was under a lot of development and only partially finished. I am sure that within 5 years it will be a bustling tourist destination. We then spent two days on a junk (that is what they call the boats) out in the bay seeing floating fishing villages, pester farms, massive caves, sea kayaking and just taking the scenery. It was a very beautiful place and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I sure hope the amount of tourism there does not impact it any further – it was busy now and I cannot imagine it when it gets busier.

Here are some of the images I captured while in Halong Bay:

Finally, I am sitting down to reminisce about my travels in Vietnam. I had no intention of ever visiting the region because there are so many places that I want to travel in the world before that, but I had a great excuse to go there for my masters program last October. The trip went way faster than I thought – only an 11 hour flight to Seoul, Korea and then 4 more hours to Hanoi. Spent the first week in Hanoi wandering around the various markets, visiting museums and taking in the culture. I also had the opportunity to visit a factory where they make credit cards, talk to business leaders, and attend lectures by economists from the Communist Party of Vietnam. Overall a very fascinating country and I would highly recommend to anyone considering going.

Hanoi is loud, busy, wet, smelly, colorful, hot and much more. Here are some of the images I captured along the way. Stay tuned for week 2 in Vietnam.

See more photos here in my SmugMug gallery: Click Here