Vietnam was in every part fulfilling as I could have possibly dreamed it to be. I fell in love with a continent so warm and healing before, I knew Vietnam would be just up my street. Arriving in Hanoi to bustling streets, full of not only colour – but a swarm of overwhelming authenticity was a true sense of happiness.
|Overlooking Perfume River|
You know when you imagine a world so different to your own, shut your eyes and wish you were there – this was my exact feeling upon arriving in Hanoi. But, I didn’t once look back. Because, my time in Vietnam was precious, I knew that every minute was valuable. I wanted to see every corner possible.
|The streets of Hanoi|
No amount of colour or pattern could paint a better picture than the quaint little streets, sea of scooters, and stunning quirks of the city. Every corner of Hanoi told a different story, from Ho Chi Minh’s presidential palace, to the abundance of fruit sellers – mangosteen to Dorian fruit. It was tropical paradise. I was in every way my element.
|Everlasting beauty: Ha Long Bay|
A trip to Hay Long Bay a few days later, gave me the Lonely Planet feeling I crave most. The one I stalked on Instagram for months, and played out in my mind so many times. I felt and lived it. It was entirely beautiful and awe inspiring, but I couldn’t help but feel I had already seen it. Like when you accidently find a Christmas present that’s meant to be a surprise. I wish Ha Long Bay had been a complete surprise for me.
|Dragon Fruit heaven|
A 10 hour overnight train to Hue taught me that not every journey is cushioned – sometimes the bumps along the way make all the difference. I slept for just a few hours, but felt a sense of overwhelming happiness to have arrived by train at the next part of my journey.
|Ga Ha Noi, Hanoi Railway Station|
Hue was a quick 24-hour stopover, but a motorbike ride out into the countryside, made my heart beam. The rice fields were poignant, as were the buffalos. It was the truest reflection of working life in Vietnam.
|Beautiful Hoi An by day.|
Arriving in Hoi An was a complete surprise. I had unwrapped a present so invaluable and precious, that my imagination was blown. I think anyone would find it impossible to not fall in love with such a beautiful old town. No amount of heat, or sweat could stop me professing my love for Hoi An.
Hoi An was very much two different worlds, day time and night time were so different. Every street was lit by row after row of beautifully coloured lanterns. The food was a necessity as always in Asia – spoilt by incredible choice.
The streets were alive and everybody was sharing genuine joy, love and happiness. I closed my eyes and it was a like stepping into my very own fairy-tale. The shopping at the night markets was obscene, in the sense that I absolutely wanted to buy almost everything, yet window shopping never felt so good. Not to mention the dress making. Hoi An was quite simply my happy ever after.
If Vietnam taught me one thing, it is to just live – and enjoy the surroundings around you. Don’t spend forever looking for the picture perfect, don’t let anything override the moment and quit glossing over what’s right in front of you because it’s more than likely you have already found it.