I much preferred Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Hanoi is so easy to walk around, especially the old quarter, unlike Saigon, where you fear for your handbag’s life. Our first day we went for a look around the lake. At certain times of the day they do Water Puppet shows.
Our Hostel in Hanoi was amazing and I would recommend it to all travellers – Hanoi backpackers hostel on Ma Mey. Through them, we organised a trip to Halong Bay. We spent the day kayaking and caving.
On our last day in Hanoi, we visited Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum where the communist leader is preserved and displayed. It felt a bit creepy entering the darkly lit room at first, but he just looks like something out of Madame Tussaud’s.
Next we flew to Luang Prabang in Laos. We loved it there. The little tourist strip is sandwiched by two rivers, the Mekong and the Nam Khan. On our first whole day we headed down to the waterfalls. Before we reached there, our tuk tuk stopped at a small roadside village. The village had different family members, adults and children, trading handcrafted goods. You’d have to be made out of stone not to buy anything. I bought some friendship bracelets.
When we reached the waterfalls we were simply blown away. The water is crystal clear and there are several tiers, the top waterfall being the most breathtaking. It was one of our favourite days of the whole experience.
On the exit from the waterfalls, there was a wildlife reserve for Asian black bears. We were lucky enough to see four baby bears.
One of the best things to do at around half past five in Luang Prabang, is to climb the 200 steps of the Phu Si Temple, and watch the the sunset.
Every night in Luang Prabang, stalls fill the streets to host the best night market in Laos. They sell everything from scarves and t-shirts, to lanterns and bags, to jewellery and souvenirs. It’s the best place to get your haggling game on and get some bargains.
The next day we went to Elephant Village. A place that looks after 11 female elephants. We were trained by a mahout (Elephant handler) how to mount the elephant’s neck. Then we went for a ride with them in the river and later we bathed them in the river whilst on the elephant’s neck. An amazing experience – the elephants are such gentle, lovely animals.
Our favourite place at night was Utopia. A bar that ovelooked the river. It had a laidback chilled vibe to it with futons and cushions to relax on and shoes left at the door. There is nothing like this back home!