I took this photo standing at the top of Cat Ba Island.
I had so much fun traveling throughout Vietnam. I spent time in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Da Nang, and Hoi An. I saw so much of Vietnam in only a few short weeks.
I spent the most amount of my time in Hanoi. Hanoi is an incredible city with amazing food and history. There are a ton of different historical cites to check out in Hanoi (and I didn’t go to as many of them as I should have), but the Imperial Citadel was particularly interesting. The Citadel, like so many other places in Hanoi, and Vietnam in general, clearly shows the last 1,000 years of history. Some of the ancient pieces of the citadel still stand, but the landscape is also dotted by French colonial architecture, as well as war planes from the Vietnam War. Another aspect of the citadel that was pretty interesting was the archeological digging that they are still doing in the area.
The food in Hanoi is also pretty incredible. There are so many delicious places to try, but my favorite places were RoyalTea for bubble tea and refreshing fruit juices, as well as Huong Lien Bun Cha. The latter serves a traditional Vietnamese food called Bun Cha, which is a delicious noodle and grilled pork dish. This restaurant is particularly cool too because it is the same restaurant President Obama had lunch in just a little over a year ago during his diplomatic visit to Vietnam.
The monkeys at Monkey Island were so cute!
Ha Long Bay is also another incredible place to visit. I was lucky to be able to take a three day cruise around the bay. A long cruise isn’t necessary, but to really see Ha Long Bay, it is essential to get on a boat. One of the most amusing stops on the cruise was “Monkey Island,” which is inhabited by a bunch of sometimes-friendly monkeys. It was also really neat to stop at the islands, where I was able to climb up to the top of them to see the incredible view. The caves were pretty amazing too. Ha Long Bay is a beautiful and worthwhile place to visit.
This is the view of the Imperial Citadel of Hue before entering.
In Hue, I visited the Imperial Citadel, which was also pretty amazing (but much newer than the one in Hanoi). The food in Hue is also spectacular- Hue Noodle and Nem Lua are two delicious dishes to try. The day was unbearably hot, so I ended it with a short walk along the Perfume River with some delicious Che, which is a traditional Vietnamese dessert of crushed ice, coconut milk, and various jellies and textures.
Da Nang was my next stop on my adventure throughout Vietnam. This modern city looked more like a resort town reminiscent of Southern California, especially with the gigantic tourist resorts that are under construction. Marble Mountain is a unique stop to visit. It is incredible for both its natural beauty and religious significance. Da Nang is a very relaxing place, which was nice after the awful heat and chaos of Hue.
Hoi An, lit up at night, is so beautiful.
I was also lucky to see Hoi An, which is especially spectacular at night. During the day, I toured My Son Sanctuary, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The history and preservation of the site were amazing. Hoi An itself definitely felt more rural and toursity. It was harder to find good street food and interesting things to do within the city during the day, but the night market and view of the river with the lit lanterns was extremely beautiful. On the down side, Hoi An was incredibly busy when I was there.
My Son Sanctuary was a beautiful icon of ancient history.
Traveling through Vietnam was so much fun, and I am so lucky that I got the chance to see all the beautiful cities and incredible historical sites!