We spent six days in Vietnam right before we moved from Manila. Our itinerary took us from Hanoi to Halong Bay to Hoi An and then Saigon. I loved Vietnam! Coco was a little less enamoured as it entailed checking in and out of too many hotels and taking too many flights. She’s usually a good traveler but this trip she complained too much and really just wanted to spend time relaxing in the hotel watching TV. I think she was also out of sorts in general before we even went with her toys and books gone, eating too much take out and going to bed later. That said, she had some fun and I’m glad she got to experience it.
First stop Hanoi.
Coco loved the fruit! She tried passion fruit, rambutan and lychee for the first time.
I hired a tour company for the entire trip and boy am I glad I did. They picked us up from and dropped us at the airport for all flights which was great since the flights in and out of Vietnam were at horrible times. I was being cheap and chose crazy flight times through Cebu Pacific to save $500. They gave us guided tours for all the cities, booked our cruise to Halong Bay on a fantastic boat and an awesome tour of the Mekong Delta. There is no way I could have put together such an interesting and packed itinerary. We had such a short visit but we really got to see quite a bit of Vietnam and get a taste for the culture. Although some of it wasn’t particularly child-friendly I think it was a good balance. These next photos are from the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university built in 1070. It was very hot and, though interesting and pretty, not the best for a 5-year old. Coco’s favorite part? Seeing a frog and trying to catch a butterfly! lol She was very excited about that! After the temple, I stopped at an ATM and came out to find the guide smoking a hookah pipe and Coco drinking some iced tea on the a street corner! I was horrified (at the drinking water part) but the guide insisted it was fine and it was too late anyway. He got me some too and I didn’t want to be rude so I drank some. I need to learn to be more assertive but we were fine. Later we got some lunch and ice cream! On another day we went to a place where they make lacquer art. I had no idea that duck egg shells were used in the process and how incredibly labor intensive and time-consuming the process is! Each eggshell is cut into tiny pieces to make a picture, dyed, covered with black lacquer and then submerged in water and scrubbed and submerged and scrubbed over and over and over again until the picture comes through.
Here are some pics of Coco helping to cut eggshells (yes, she’s holding a sharp, rusty knife but I was watching her like a hawk) and scrubbing the art that had been soaked in water.
I was really amazed at the process and ending up buying some pieces for me and my sister.
Three words to describe Hanoi? Chaotic (crossing the streets was crazy!!), fascinating and colorful. I don’t know if I would want to live there but I can see why some people love it.