Symbolizing good luck and happiness, the colour red can be found just about everywhere right now in Hanoi, and most notably on Hang Mã street. Some friends took me there the other night and we walked around as they told me all about their Tết traditions.
Even before this night, I would have said that Hang Mã street was one of my favourite places to walk around in Hanoi. It is always filled with decorations to suit the season and is full of activity. Seeing the street covered in red for Tết made me love it even more!
Over the past few weeks, the streets of Hanoi, particularly in the Old Quarter, have been beautifully decorated to prepare for the New Year.
Here’s a glimpse at what it looks like!
This area has been full of activity with friends and families walking around, stopping to take pictures, and simply celebrating the coming of the New Year. I myself have spent every night this week here, walking around and enjoying the atmosphere.
Once winter hit Hanoi, I decided to hit the tarmac and fly to southern Vietnam. Some friends and I travelled to Mũi Né and Ho Chi Minh City to ring in the New Year. Now that I am gearing up to celebrate New Years for a second time (Vietnamese New Year which goes according to the lunar calendar), I wanted to remind myself of how wonderful it was the first time around.
We started our trip in Mũi Né where we enjoyed squishing sand between our toes and cooling off with a swim in the refreshing sea.
We visited a fishing village, full of activity and vibrant colours that stood out so beautifully against the water in the morning sun.
We drove along the coast, enjoying the view and every breath of fresh air that we don’t have in Hanoi.
And then we ended up here.
These are the white sand dunes (we also went to the red sand dunes later the same day). It was truly like we stumbled upon a desert. We spent a good amount of time just walking across the dunes, in awe that something like this could exist naturally there. After a visit to the Fairy Springs we were on our way to Ho Chi Minh City.
We spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Ho Chi Minh City. HCMC is so incredibly different from Hanoi. Where Hanoi is very traditional, HCMC is modern and somehow even more full of activity. And, it is home to a Baskin-Robbins so that certainly won me over. We walked around the city at night on New Year’s Eve, enjoying the elaborate decorations, and then headed back to our snazzy hotel to countdown to the New Year.
We made grilled cheese and KD—a perfect way to start the new year!
For Vietnamese New Year I will be traveling to Thailand and Bali! Although I am sad to be missing the first days of the New Year in Vietnam and all the celebrations (I didn’t think at the time that I would have Vietnamese friends to spend the holidays with!) I am certainly excited to spend the time exploring more of the world.
I, along with the Vietnam INDEVOURS and some new friends, visited Ha Long Bay, one of the 7 new natural wonders of the world. It is a truly breathtaking place that everyone should visit at some point in their life if they have the chance.
Leaving early Saturday morning, we arrived in Ha Long Bay some three hours later. I was instantly blown away by the unspoiled natural landscape and its perfect blend of blue, green, and grey. Our boat slowly made its way across the bay, allowing me to take in every square inch of the beauty that lies within its hundreds of small islands.
I got to explore a limestone cave that I totally geeked out about (I used to study rocks and had a pretty sweet rock collection, so needless to say, it was amazing to see the rock formations up close!). We also got to go kayaking and swimming.
While floating in the bay, I watched the sun set over the pristine island seascape. At that moment life could not have been any more perfect. Everything was so peaceful. A pretty big change from the past month I have spent living in Hanoi.
It all felt so surreal. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and venture out I still can’t believe I’m actually here! I am so thankful for the amazing opportunity that I have to be in Vietnam, and I want to spend more weekends like this exploring all that it has to offer.