Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vietnam Vacation: Day Two

The view of Ha Long Bay is beautiful.
[The previous day, we had arrived in Hanoi and checked into our hostel before exploring the Old Quarter. We mostly ate and hung out while overlooking the big lake. It was a lot of fun, but we were ready for some new experiences]

The next morning, we woke up ready for a new adventure. We would be leaving for Ha Long Bay where we would be staying for the majority of Sunday and Monday. We waited in the lobby of the hostel and were finally taken to a large van that already contained a few passengers. For the next 15 minutes, we picked up new people until our van was full, about 18 in all.

The drive took almost four hours. It was a bit frustrating to have to be sitting for so long, but it also allowed us to see a great deal of the Vietnamese countryside. We saw a great deal of construction, some factories, many small towns, fields of many kinds of fruits and vegetables, rice paddies, cows, goats, and a bunch of gas stations. Most of the natural surroundings were beautiful. I wish we could have stopped along the way to check some things out.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vietnam Vacation: Day One


[In my last post, I discussed all the steps leading up to the vacation: how to exchange money, how we booked our flights and hotels, got our visas done, and packed up.]

In my excitement to write about the preparation to Vietnam, I forgot to say how we chose what we needed to do when we got there. I looked at many sources, including blogs, Foursquare reviews, TripAdvisor, and Google Plus place reviews. After initially wanting to spend a night in Saigon, we eventually decided Hanoi was the city to spend time in and we would rather relax in Phu Quoc at the beach than deal with another busy city. That is why we only decided to spend 12 hours there.]

Also, we used Google Maps to mark down all the important places to go. We usually use Google Maps and share it between us, but we found out that with the new Google Maps app updates, we would no longer be able to access them on our phones. That really took away a lot of our use for the app unfortunately. It also meant I wasted a bit of time having worked on that map for a couple months. Oh well. Supposedly, access to those private maps will eventually come back to the app. I hope it is soon. Those are a big help.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Preparing for Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Each year I get two weeks of vacation, one in the summer, one in the winter. That does not seem like a lot, and it is not, but I enjoy my job anyway. However, I really needed this vacation. We had decided to check out Vietnam on the recommendation of one of Jackie's coworkers. He really loved the place. Over the course of the next few months, we started to set up our trip.