The Internet is back and I’m ready to tell you all about my latest Southeast Asian adventure!
Our trip began in Hanoi, where we met Alex’s mom. We had one day of sightseeing in Hanoi before getting on the overnight train to Sapa, which is where we would begin our three-day trek through northern Vietnam.
Hanoi is, in a word, crazy. It is hands-down the busiest, loudest, most chaotic city I’ve ever visited. We actually received instructions from our hotel on how to safely cross the street, though this was merely a formality because the truth is that there is no safe way to cross the street. Crosswalks, when they do exist, are largely ignored and traffic lights are a mere suggestion. This is to say nothing of traffic circles, which are simply wide open spaces with no lanes, rules or regulations.
Alex brazenly strolled out into traffic with no trouble, while Ronni and I had a few more reservations. Slowly, though, you become accustomed to the chaos and realize that you will get nowhere unless you do walk out into traffic. Oddly enough, it was safer to step out in front of larger vehicles, like trucks, because they were more likely to stop for you. Motorbikes were scarily unpredictable.
From there, we headed to the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. It was interesting to learn how Vietnamese women have traditionally held the power in choosing a husband (or at least, their families did) and that the groom moves into the bride’s household after marriage.
The rest of the day was spent walking, walking and walking some more. It was a great way to see the city, but we were utterly exhausted by the end of the day. The combination of getting up early for our flight, wandering all day and being surrounded by people and noise did us in. Before we knew it, though, it was time to get on the overnight train and begin our trek the following day.
I would recommend Hanoi for a quick visit, maybe one or two days. Any more than that would personally be too much for me, but I also tend to get overwhelmed in busy places like that. I much preferred Sapa, but that is a post for another day!