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Saturday, 15 March 2014

I missed you

My name is Aimée and I am a terrible blogger.

It has been a year since my last blog post. I am a blog failure. Time to set things back in motion. So, I should spare you the excuses and just crack on yes?

Let's start with a post to make you hate me a bit. Or, possibly to inspire you to book your 2014 holiday. When you have read this you will want to book a trip to Vietnam immediately.

3 weeks in Vietnam September/October 2014
Ho Chi Minh City - Hoi An - Halong Bay - Hanoi - Phu Quoc - Ho Chi Minh

This was a long awaited trip. It was whopping 13 months since our last proper holiday (honeymoon back in June 2012). We managed to stick it out all summer,  resisted killing all the friends and colleagues flitting off on holiday, and by the time we got to September we really needed it. It was well worth the wait.

We started out trip in Ho Chi Minh City, previously know as Saigon and still known as such to the locals.

We conquered crossing the roads - which basically meant coming to terms with just walking out into the traffic and letting it flow around you (this was a relatively quiet junction).

We got stuck in to the food.
And took a crash course in the history of Vietnam.

We departed Saigon in high spirits and already planning our return visit. We arrived in Hoi An in the pouring rain.

In continued to rain pretty much solidly for the next 2 days. This happened.

This was a river with roads running along either side. It became just one huge muddy river. Not that these kids seemed to mind.

 The little bridge got totally blocked up by water hyacinth and loads of guys had to come in and hack it all up.

But whilst we never made it to the beach,  The rain didn't stop Hoi An being a beautiful place to hang out. We became very familiar with Vietnamese coffee and beer and the local tailors. We also took a cooking course with one of the local restaurants Morning Glory

If you ever do make it to Hoi An, you must must go with the space in your suitcase. Oli and I both came home with beautifully tailor made wool winter coats and I could quite happily have had all sorts of things made if we'd had more space... Did I mention they as also make SHOES?

Next stop Hanoi and on to Halong Bay and the best upgrade we have ever (and probably will ever) had. Whilst the mini bus trip from Hanoi does not rank highly in my list of reasons to go to Vietnam, our 3 days/ 2 nights cruising Halong Bay with Bhaya Cruises does. Long story short, we had booked to be on this boat:

We got this one. To ourselves. We had a butler and crew. I kid you not. Smug doesn't even cover it:

Oli and our Butler/personal guide

Halong bay is stunning. Go there. But beware the cost of drinks. Food on the boat is all provided, but drinks cost extra and they are not cheap. We are talking London expensive, not even just Vietnam expensive! My recommendation - stock up on beer before you leave Hanoi and smuggle some booze on with you. The covert beers drunk on our balcony in the evening tasted so much sweeter for having not cost us the earth.

We had a few days in Hanoi before flying back South via Saigon to the island of Phu Quoc for a bit of R&R.
On Phu Quoc we stayed at the beautiful Eco Lodge Mango Bay 

So there you have it. A very brief round up of our Vietnam trip.