vietnam Archives - Away Lands
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Who knew beaches looked like this in Vietnam?

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One of our first stops back in October was Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam (fun fact, the only place in Vietnam you can visit as an American without buying the $135 Visa.) We spent our first few days on the North of the island at Bamboo Cottages, fighting through the rainy season. We had heard how tropical and wonderful Phu Quoc could be, but October is not the ideal time to see it. For our last couple of days on the island we moved to Famiana Resort, and then a miracle happened – the skies opened up, the water cleared overnight, and we found ourselves on a vibrant tropical island – it was incredible how much the view changed overnight!

 

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Cruising Through Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

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Ha Long Bay is a wonderland, like nowhere else in the world. The limestone islands are similar to the ones we saw in Thailand and the ones we hope to see in The Philippines – but they are endless. The scene goes on for miles and miles – in a way you can’t fathom from the ground, even with the drone up thousands of feet, you can’t reach the end of these islands. The waters are glassy and calm and a dark jewel green – and the way the low sun reflects off of it, is just a little different than any place we had ever seen.

At the very end of our journey criss-crossing South East Asia, we flew into Hanoi and took the trek out here to see this wonder of the world, and experience incredibly worth the drive. We spent a couple of nights aboard a wooden cruise ship with Paradise Vietnam – an ultra-luxury experience all in itself.

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A Week of living Sustainably in Vietnam

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After a week spent in transit and in cities (Singapore, and then Ho Chi Minh), we were so excited to finally get out to an island – our one true love is, without question, the tropics. We took a quick hopper flight to Phu Quoc Island, off the coast of Vietnam at the Cambodian border and found a little piece of eco-paradise. Our stay at Bamboo Cottages was enlightening – this area of the world, and Phu Quoc especially, has a huge problem with trash – the influx of tourism in the last 15 years and underdeveloped waste management services have left huge amounts of waste, with no where for it to go. One of the main missions of Bamboo is create a zero waste establishment, and help clean up the island at the same time. The resort is 100% solar powered, and I appreciated all of the little choices they made to eliminate trash – reusable glass water bottles being one of the first I noticed, since I hate that I use so many plastic bottles when I travel. This was the first tropical place we had ever stayed without Air Conditioning, which took some getting used to, but a small price to pay for a week of helping being pat of the soution.

Unfortunately, rainy season is REAL in Vietnam – we got rained on every single day, but when the sun did come out, the turned turned bright blue (I hear during January/February it is the same glistening aqua water as there is in Thailand) and the sunlight came through the palms so beautifully.

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Wild Saigon – Backpacking in Ho Chi Minh City

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As we talked to a couple of people during our first stop in Singapore, we had heard Ho Chi Minh City compared to Bangkok more than once, but somehow didn’t quite believe that it would be true. I’m not sure exactly what we expected – I think something a little less hectic and dirty, and a little more pastoral and adorable. However, we should have listened – a few days in Ho Chi Minh was exactly like Bangkok – humid and heavy, crowded, chaotic, impossible to cross streets whizzing with motorbikes, and so much to look at everywhere. But unlike our disaster of a day in Bangkok last year, we had so much fun here. We booked a simple little hotel right on Bui Vien, also known as Backpacker’s Row – a few blocks that cater to travelers that come through Vietnam full of hostels, cheap restaurants, bars, spas with $5 massages, and street vendors everywhere. Chaos!

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