By BERN MORLEY.
The beauty of travelling on an Intrepid Travel trip is of course, not having to think beyond the moment. Our days in Vietnam were as planned or as free as we wanted or needed them to be. Every day had a purpose or a plan, yet if we, for whatever reason decided we’d rather lie by the pool in one of the ever increasingly lovely hotels, we could. Although no one did this of course, there were simply too many experiences we didn’t want to miss out on.
I have two highlights from my Intrepid Travel Good Morning Vietnam Trip. No, wait I have three.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Intrepid Travel. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in her own words.
Halong Bay. Google it and prepare to be insanely jealous. We slept on an overnight ‘Junk’ boat amoungst ethereal limestone islands that have been carved by time. Words cannot do this place justice. Even the photos remain stubbornly devoid of the actual magic. We kayaked through the jutting caves, through crystal green waters and fed monkeys on the side of mountains. There was a tense moment where it looked like Sam and I were about to get run over by an oncoming cruise liner but we were fine (no thanks to Sam the massive slacker). Really though, that just became a story to tell at dinner that night as we ate freshly caught seafood and drank ridiculously cheap cocktails.
Water Buffalo riding. On our second last day in Hoi An we had an optional activity – Bike Riding. For some reason, this appealed to us more than any other activity. Crazy – not like we’ve never rode a push bike before right? Not like this. This activity saw myself and my husband ‘dinking’ the boys and negotiating the somewhat chaotic Vietnamese traffic. It was hairy and yes, I’ll admit, pretty effing scary, but such a thrill to make it out of the town and to be riding our little pushbikes through grass tracks and rice paddies. That’s where we came across the man and his water buffalo. Set up? Sure, who cares – I could never put a price on the look on my boy’s faces as they got the ride of their lives on this gentle giant’s back, believing for a brief moment that they were in fact, real life cowboys. Special mention here has to go to Sam who although doing zero peddling, moaned about having “a stitch”.
Dinner with a local family. During one of the nights in Hue, we had dinner with a local family. We went to their house and were treated to cuisine prepared by 3 generations of the family. The Grandma was..just…the coolest. She had black teeth due to her betel nut addiction (which she encouraged and managed to get a few of our party to try) and fell in love with the kids. In fact, all the Vietnamese have a great affection for foreign children. Often touching their arms, trying to strike up a conversation.
There were so many highlights. We would all I am sure, if asked, pick different times that struck at our hearts, minds and bodies. There were little to no low-lights. The kids got sick a few times but nothing more than expected and it was fleeting. It was hot, but it wasn’t unexpected and with mostly everywhere air conditioned or not too far from water, we were never uncomfortably hot. I never felt unsafe and in fact, wandered the streets of Ho Chi Minh alone for hours with little to no idea where I was. I knew that a cab would take me back to our hotel for no more than a dollar if I needed, so it was almost exquisite to get lost for a while.