From the moment I arrived at the airport, butterflies filled my stomach. I was so excited for the unexpected, the people in Vietnam, the food, the culture and the breathtaking landscapes that Vietnam has to offer (I did some research beforehand). But also because I left my phone at home. I figured that this could either become a total bliss or a complete nightmare to travel without my phone.
I decided to start my trip at Hanoi and work my way further towards the north to a city called Sapa. After my visit to Sapa, I will travel more towards the south of Vietnam.
I love getting lost in an unknown city. When it comes to visiting a new city, I prioritize what I want to do and see. But experience taught me that how you go about doing that, can be a major difference between an average trip and a life-changing one.
This trip means a lot as I will reflect on the past year, the good and the bad. But more importantly the person I want to be. This trip is a gift from me to me, after going through a rough time. During this trip, I want to practice four natural sanctuaries: silence, solitude, stillness and simplicity. So I forgot about all the planning that I normally would do and tried to get completely lost along the way instead. While this might sound crazy it exposed me to experiences I would never ever imagined would come my way. And it has only been one week. As anyone who’s ever travelled to another city before knows well, all the planning in the world doesn’t mean you’ll be able to stick to your itinerary once the messiness of life comes into play.
“Eliminate What Doesn’t Help You Evolve” – Cirino
Hanoi is an amazing city with more motorbikes than households. The street food scene is amazing and the food so good! I tried many different dishes, but my favourite is the Pho Bo soup and the fried spring rolls. I also tried their famous Hanoi beer and Egg coffee – it was delicious! The egg coffee tasted like coffee flavoured ice cream :).
The hotel that I was staying in gave me a bunch of tips like going to Halong Bay. They arrange a tour for me and so I took the boat to Halong Bay for 2 days and 1 night. I slept on the boat which was wonderful. This has absolutely been the highpoint of my trip so far. The landscape of Halong Bay is by far the most beautiful one I have ever seen and I got to meet fellow travellers which to me is most of the time an absolute bliss.
At Halong Bay, we visited the Dragon Cave and climbed on top of the mountain where you could see all over Halong Bay. The view was stunning! The next day we went for kayaking and we went to the Pearl Factory in Halong Bay.
After my visit to Halong Bay, I took the midnight bus to Sapa. I was a bit scared with the idea of taking the night bus. It’s because they drive like crazy and the roads are not so well structured. So with every bump, I thought I was going to die. But hey I survived and it was an experience (one I won’t be doing ever again). But it’s a cheap way to get from city to city I have to admit that.
I arrived in Sapa the next morning and after breakfast I went on a trekking. The hike was four hours long and was totally worth it. You walk through the rice fields from village to village. The woman who lead the trekking where all absolute girl bosses! They do this hike almost every day and it’s not only to lead the hike for tourist but it’s also their road towards work in the rice fields. They also make by hand embroidered scarves, wallets, purses and they make jewellery which they sell in their wooden shops or on the streets. Due to the rainy weather in the north it was quite slippery to walk up and down the mountains. But that did not stop me for doing the hike. I remember thinking to myself keep look up Jen! The view and everything around me was nature at its best. I would not want to miss that for anything.
It is time to hit the beachside of the country. This time I won’t be taking the bus nor will I take the train. I choose comfort and instead I will fly. Most travellers told me they move through the country by bus or train which will take you around 14 hours to get to Danang – Hoi An. But I took the recommendation of a fellow solo female traveller (which I met on the boat to Halong Bay). She advised me that the flights towards Danang were not so expensive and that it’s easier and faster. The flight will take only 1 hour 🙂