After finally recovering from our 4 day journey, 24 layover in Hong Kong and a 13 hour time change we were ready to rock and roll... spring roll that is. Northern Vietnam is home to hands down the greatest spring rolls on earth (pretty sure I ate them for almost every meal). Between spring rolls and Vietnamese coffees we were ready to roll (🤷🏼♀️) and our jet lag was far (east) behind us. After Danang we flew to Haiphong and took a car to Halong Bay (flight was an hour and the drive was another 1 1/2 hours). I researched Halong Bay cruises endlessly and finally decided upon Paradise Cruises for a 2 night/3 days cruise. We saw fishing villages (people actually live on the water with their families and animals), hiked different islands and explored caves. The sun rarely shone and it seemed to drizzle for days but it was such a gorgeous and calm place it didn't seem to matter. Bringing our 3 year old along was absolutely no problem and they had life vests for her and she participated in all the daily tours and activities. We had planned to take a seaplane from Halong Bay to Hanoi but due to inclement weather it wasn't possible and instead took a fantastic private car/van. It was much less time than the 3-4 hours I kept reading about, in fact we even stopped twice for shopping and food and still made it in under 2 1/2 hours. Hanoi was the icing on our Vietnam cake. The sights, the smells, the people.... cities like this are the reason I fell so deeply in love with traveling and all things that go along with it. The struggles of reaching these far away places all seem to be worth it once you are riding on bike taxis and eating street food. Which honestly I didn't get to eat much of because the doctor who administered our Typhoid shots made me a nervous wreck! We stayed at the Sofitel Metropole Hotel which has to be one of my favorite places of all time. It's like a little slice of Parisian Alice in Wonderland in the middle of a bustling Far East city. The swimming pool alone is reason enough to stay at this picture perfect hotel along with some of the best food in Hanoi. The things I miss the most are the Springs rolls, coffee and most definitely our nightly bike taxis through the busy streets of this magical city. So long for now Vietnam.... but I'll be back... hopefully sooner rather than later.
Eat - Hanoi Social Club, Street food in Hanoi's old quarter, Opera Club Novel (spring rolls), Le Beaulieu French restaurant
Wearing - Gucci Tshirt, Levis white jean shorts, black crane shirts, Everlane trench coat, Veja sneakers, Nomadic State of Mind rope sandals, JW Anderson skirt, Roseanna yellow knit, Zara pants
Packing list for Stella- ziplock bags filled with lots of small toys and figurines (plus we buy small trinkets along the journey), sticker books, iPad just for the airplane ride and in case they don't have English television (I don't do electronics normally so this is a treat for her and makes long airplane rides a breeze). Also I pack mostly clothes that can mix and match which is pretty easy in our case because everything is usually neutral colors.