From the overwhelmingly packed streets of Hanoi to the quaint boardwalks of Hoi An, our group has experienced a handful of vastly different lifestyles during the time we've spent here in Vietnam so far.

After leaving Sapa, we began making our way south towards the city of Hanoi, where we stopped for a 3 day excursion through Halong Bay along the way. The luxurious junk boat cruise through the towering limestone cliffs provided us all with both breathtaking views and a much needed rest from the long days of traveling and trekking we had just gone through. Though, it wasn't all leisure and relaxation. We spent a large majority of our time visiting beaches and kayaking through the caves and lagoons scattered around the area.

Upon arrival at our hostel in the old quarter of the city of Hanoi, we were greeted by overcrowded streets flooded with motorbikes and fellow expats. Learning to navigate through the winding alleys that spread throughout the city in a web-like fashion was troublesome at first, but after a while we familiarized ourselves with the area and quickly grew fond of all that this place had to offer. We spent most of our time here exploring the many different markets, restaurants and caf├ęs scattered throughout the city and enjoying the bustling nightlife.

The days at Hanoi flew by, and before we knew it we were off to our next destination, Hoi An, which couldn't have contrasted to a city like Hanoi more. The first thing you'll most likely notice here after being in Hanoi is how much cleaner, emptier, and more organized the streets here were in comparison. Walking through the town along the river and taking in the pastel colors of the French influenced architecture was an amazing experience in it's own; stopping by one of the many tailor shops to get clothes made and paying visits to the beach only made it that much better. Needless to say this town quickly became a favorite among the group, with many leaving wishing they had the chance to spend more time there and already making plans to go back.



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Author Brendan Posted

Program Southeast Asia Departure Fall 2008