Last week was a holiday in China. And like all Chinese holidays, things get crazy in this country. So crazy that you really don’t want to travel around China during it. So we left. 🙂 I wish we could say we chose Vietnam because we’d always wanted to go there or because we thought it would deepen our understanding of a piece of US history that our parents and grandparents lived through, but the truth is they were the cheapest flights we could find. 🙂
So off we went to Hanoi! We arrived Monday evening and headed out the next morning for a tour of Halong bay, about 4 hours northeast of the city. We took a 2 day-1 night cruise around the bay and every minute of it was absolutely gorgeous.
There are these beautiful mountainous geological formations that come up out of the water everywhere. I seriously couldn’t stop staring at them. Which is good, because that’s basically all you do on a 15 passenger cruise, is stare at the scenery. We spent a couple hours kayaking (by far my favorite part) and playing on the beach.
As luck would have it, the weather was absolutely perfect, despite it being right at the end of typhoon season. Not too hot, not too cold, just absolutely perfect.
The second morning they took us to a cave and let us wander through, along with about 500 other tourists. Our tour guide kept stopping the group and pointing things out and I kept thinking it was going to be more than something like “see those two rocks there? They look like Romeo and Juliet kissing!” but it never was. A gorgeous cave and all they can think of to tell us is what the rocks look like. 🙂
The food was pretty awesome too. Both on the cruise and back in Hanoi. It’s a bit of a bummer I went while I was pregnant because the cruise served all this super awesome-looking really fresh seafood that I couldn’t have. Well, maybe I could have had some of it but it just seemed to tricky to keep track of what dish was what fish and whether or not that was on the approved list of fish I’m allowed to eat while pregnant, so I just opted for the non-seafood menu. Which was still great. (And as a sidenote, I think all these pregnancy rules are made up. I went to a doctor in the US and asked him a whole bunch of questions of what I should and shouldn’t be doing/eating and when I got back to China I asked my doctor in Hong Kong the same bunch of questions and got different answers from each of them. Yes you can rock climb, no you can’t, don’t ride a bike, keep riding your bike, eat tons of seafood, don’t eat any seafood besides salmon and tuna, blah blah blah. I just try to use common sense and not let my public health degree scare me into believing I need to spend the next 6 months in a bubble.)
Seriously, Halong Bay is one of the prettiest places I think I’ve ever been. Absolutely gorgeous. You should all give it a try. And then, ya know, stop over in China to visit me while you’re at it. 🙂