Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City via bus from Phnom Penh was a harrowing experience, to say the least. Thrilled to have successfully crossed the border still as a united group of three, with no place to stay, we decided to spend a few extra dong on a nice hotel and extravagant dinner of tapas and wine. We spent our time there touring the city, eating lots of street food, and visiting the Cu Chi tunnels and the War Memorial Museum for our requisite dose of history.
From HCMC, we traveled up to Hoi An, a beautiful little city known for its Old Town and special food, such as the white rose (shrimp dumpling). In a whirlwind fashion, we then bussed up to Hue, where we stayed in one of the most fun hostels (home of the Legopener passion fruit cocktail, or Lego Peners if you're Alex) and experienced the most extreme, humid heat of the entire trip. We sweated our way through tours of the city, citadel and dragon boat ride to nearby temples, which resulted in a necessary exodus into the Perfume River. We made our way to Hanoi, our final city of our six month tour, where we traveled to and from Sapa and Halong Bay. For our tour of Sapa, we connected with three British travelers for a memorable homestay in a nearby hill town. We happened to spend the night during a holiday commemorating ancestors, which naturally resulted in a raucous party, Hmong-style. (Ie copious amounts of rice wine and all manner of food, including congealed pig blood sprinkled with peanuts and wine. No big deal.)
Our trip to Halong Bay was much more tame, incredibly scenic, and involved spending the night on a boat. Our final days in Hanoi were spent living it up, enjoying everything Vietnam has to offer: great food, nightlife, a multitude of markets and, of course, a water puppet show. After months of being on the road, the trip came to a quick end, though we spent a long period of limbo in the Hong Kong airport that included lots of eating and 4D movies (Clash of the Titans, anyone?).
At this point, it's hard to believe we've been home almost as long as we were gone...Stay tuned for Best and Worst of the World.