by Jolyn Low
2 – 7 June 2015
Vietnam is one of the Asian countries that I’ve never been to before. It started pretty casually, my cousin randomly asking me if I’d like to visit Ha Long Bay. At that time, desiring a trip to somewhere I’ve never been before, I said yes. I don’t think I regret it. Vietnam is definitely one of my favourite countries in the region. The people, culture and beauty of the country will definitely be bringing me back for more one day. Hopefully, alone.
After checking in and getting lunch, we decided to go for a cooking class which was pretty damn fun. We cycled from the school to the local market and g or the chance to order the ingredients in Vietnamese. Interesting fact: the Vietnamese simply ride their motorbikes into the wet market, which makes for an extremely easy shopping trip. Witnessed the skinning of chickens as well. For a city kid, it was fascinating watching and listening to tales the older generation told of farming in olden Singapore. They boiled the chickens alive to make plucking the feathers easier. Alternatively, they slit the throats and collected the blood for other uses. Dog meat seems quite popular there as well.
Rode back to the school and sat around listening to travel stories. It’s quite inspiring how one travelled around the world after college. The idea of getting a high flying job and earning big bucks for the future almost absent from their mind. It’s awesome but I don’t think I can do that to be honest. Maybe in another form one day.
The wonderful thing about the school was that it was located beside the river opposite Hanoi. The sunset was amazing.
Food was awesome as well. I loved the way their houses were made. The long alleyways where the children play after school and the general openness. In an ideal world, I’d live in such a quaint and peaceful place.
I’m skipping day 2 and 3 because they were spent at the lake and in search of a supermarket.
Ha Long Bay was the main highlight of the trip. It lived up to expectations. Sadly, the tour guide wasn’t that great at english. It was slightly frustrating as there was hardly any information about the isles or about the history of the area. Spent the evening reading A Feast of Crows at the top deck and watching the stars (or airplanes).
I just wish that I had more time to appreciate the wonderful world around sometimes. In the hustle and bustle of life, I realize how much I’m missing. So many fleeting moments of beauty and peace that are bypassed just because of the relentless drive to do something. I suppose that’s what makes travelling such a transforming experience. I really live in the moment and am present in all ways then.
It poured back in Hanoi. But I was blessed with an awesome room and view. Had great street food and a horrible manicure before heading back the following day. Ban mih is seriously my favourite food. Have also developed a love for spring rolls and barbequed meat. Cheap beer makes everything better as well.
Vietnam was great. I live for those moments.