Hanoi: our local guide Mr. Dzung was exceptional...this northern city seasonally cool, alluring, full of life, energized by a people intent on a better future...friendly, curious, honest, hard-working, a certain innocence...motorbikes everywhere by the thousands....we toured the city and took a cyclo ride thru busy market streets...
Hue: the old imperial cidadel city, perhaps the "sleeper" of the trip with it's relaxing tree-lined streets, waterways and friendly people - known as the most beautiful in Vietnam...one night we literally had a "Royal Dinner", in full dress, and our own Emperor and Empress within the group!...we enjoyed fantastic music on board our boat cruise and Professor Toi taught us about music and cuisine, and even played his flute.
Can Tho: the Mekong Delta region...we visited the incredible floating market...as well as the back canals of rural village life, miles and miles overland rice fields...and a final Vietnam sunset before heading to Cambodia.
Halong Bay: we drove hours and hours to get here, but it was well worth it and the overnight stop...over 3000 craggy peaks rise from the water even more dramatic than Guilin, China...we visited the grotto, enjoyed perfect weather from our private boat, and had perhaps the best lunch of the trip cooked on board from scratch by the crew. Never mind we broke down for a bit...the scenery was all that mattered..
Mekong: the infamous "3-hour" power boat trip took closer to 5 in total by the time we cleared Vietnam and Cambodia immigration...a breezy adventure right on the water from Vietnam to Cambodia up the Mekong - from agricultural land to temples to Phnom Penh's Royal Palace along the way...it sure was good to arrive! Our journey was only recently been made possible by the opening of the Mekong river crossing, between Chau Doc in Vietnam and Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.
Ho Chi Minh City: a wonderful city not yet gone too big time...the Presidential Palace and War Museum were moving, the market vibrant...so much to see and do, so little time.