I've never been to Asia before, and going was definitely culture shock. I remember arriving (after 3 days of traveling) and being excited and exhausted at once. I was so overwhelmed and hot, in awe and also confused by everything I remember thinking I wanted to go home.. hah! The heat is an issue, you can't traditionally read or understand anything around you, and the smells... dear lord the smells. The people however are super genuine and beautiful. The Vietnamese people in particular. There is an essence in them that you never knew you could see until you're inundated in their culture. All it takes is one smile from a stranger (me) and the Vietnamese people light up and instantly consider you family - all in a facial movement. I felt at home while I was paying homage, and understood a lot more about my father (Vietnam Vet) and his love for the Asian culture than I ever knew I could.
Despite the first day being hot as balls, confusing, and overwhelming; I managed to navigate the city and found lunch, shops, and museums. By the second day I was ready to go and signed up for a trip to Ha Long Bay by myself. I found my soul on that bus ride. That whole trip actually was pretty intense for me in a lot of ways without me realizing it until after. I came to a place where I found confidence in being alone and not being afraid of what the world tells you to fear. Fear traveling, fear leaving your home, fear the people and government and country, fear the culture, fear everything. When you travel you understand how much of that taught fear is actually bullshit. You realize you're proud and excited and surprised by becoming fearless in the state of travel.
Below are some experience photos from my first few days in Vientam. Walking around Hanoi was insane, and busy, and non-stop-action-packed-jammed-up-craziness but I kind of loved it.
Once night hits, things don't stop. Work of all kinds, people are at it around the clock keeping the city going all hours of the day and night.
Day trip to Ha Long Bay was amazing...
Went from Hanoi to Saigon (Ho Chi Mihn city - I prefer to say Saigon..)
From Vietnam to Cambodia, to see the architectural monument, Angkor Wat!
Our Cambodian hostel was very colorful and fun to hang out with other people by the pool, and to eat and drink at the restaurant / rooftop sandbar - but the bathrooms were super gnarly and shitty. But hey, it's Cambodia, you get waht you get right.
one of the only days we did makeup and went out:::
Not too much time in Cambodia before we headed to Thailand! Bangkok, Chang Mai, and Phuket.
City life in Thailand wasn't my favorite, Bangkok is a huge, smelly city with more traffic than it's worth. After the shopping we pretty much moved on.
Chang Mai was probably one of my favorite days.
Phuket is amazingggggg - had a blast in the city, and especially the mopeds!
In some ways 2.5 weeks felt really really long, and I couldn't wait to be home, but in other ways it definitely wasn't enough. We usually are pretty good at traveling on a budget, making the most of our short times away from our jobs AKA THE MAN, and jamming as much surface area as we can, but it would be nice to go back just do one spot for an extended time. Hmm maybe some day when I've read everything under the sun, I can afford to reread the books I've already explored so to speak (except about travel).