COUNTRY 21: Vietnam – A Timeless Charm And Yes, A Different Orient 

 “A frog living at the bottom of the well thinks that the sky is as small as a cooking pot lid.” – Vietnamese Proverb 

Ho Chi Min City 

After exploring The Kingdom of Cambodia, off our family rode a bus crossing border to the Vietnam’s capital Ho Chi Min City, popularly known as Saigon. 

Arriving by land to the country’s capital, we need not wonder what’s the most common of transportation in the country!

The gazillion motorcycle aside, there’s something about Vietnam that we can’t quite pinpoint. It’s in the air, the food and the accommodating smiles and nods of the locals. Our travellers’ hearts and feet felt at home in a strange yet very familiar land. 

As part of our worldschooling and our love for city tours, we happily stayed in the crowded city for few days exploring the country’s war museum. Most of the tourists are Americans. We maybe  politically wrong here, but we felt that they are not so proud of what happened during the Vietnam War. In the eyes of our traveling kids, war will always be wrong and exerting violence on anyone or any country is an unfair, if not futile,  use of resources.

We have lots of thoughts on our museum visits, some of them include words like “barbaric,” “horrid,” “bullies,” and we’d rather not articulate our sentiments in this Vietnam blog. (We will, of course… in a separate blog.)

Worldschooling at War Remnants Museum – not a fun topic but made interesting by all senses involvement in the museum
THE PERFECT TRAVELING DAD, we kid you not! Who else can have a serious father-and-son discussion while baby-wearing the youngest traveller!

After we had enough of wars and museums, of course, Vietnam culinary journey galore. Oh we did eat a lot of Pho! Yuummm! Street food, restaurant, hotel, airport… burp! 
Night Market in Vietnam Means Culinary Journey

Ha Long  Bay 
UNESCO World Heritage Natural Wonder, Ha Long Bay is a spectacular, almost surreal experience for our family. We stayed in a cruise for two days and one night in Ha Long Bay surrounded by natural wonder of almost 1,600 limestone islands and islets covering an area of over 1,500 square kilometers. Extraordinary experience waking up to beauty, watching both sunrise and sunset. Majestic scenery we only used to see in movies (Bond… James Bond! among others, of course.) 

Experiencing Ha Long Bay Cruise Style!
A Well Deserved Beer With A View
Exploring Ha Long Bay Islets And Caves With Kids – We’re there
Tai Chi Before Breakfast
Serenity! This kid is wild and free, like all kids should be
Tomb Raider!
One of our favorite family photo – inside Sung Sot Cave! Gotta love exploring cave with kids. Those stalactite and stalagmite gets more exciting
This view is worth the steps! All thousands of them.

With heavy heart and heavy feet, we left Ha Long Bay to Hanoi, The Paris of SouthEast. It’s true! The city is very posh, classy, cosmopolitan like Paris. Yeah, yeah,  we feel that we know Paris… We are not dreaming of Paris anymore. Only the places we’ve never been to, and the places we’ve been to. Basically, dreaming of the world, exploring in our dreams. 
Now, back to Hanoi. We experienced living like local. Waking up 5AM, we felt we were really early but we were so wrong. Seemed that everybody was already up and exercising, mostly tai chi and ballroom dancing in the park! What an experience! Imagine, if this is the lifestyle that everybody gets embedded in the deepest of mind’s molds. Happy, healthy and disciplined people and an awesome world to thrive in.

Tai Chi and Dancing in the Park at 5AM
Probably one of the strongest coffee we’ve ever tasted! Step aside Turkish Coffee, there’s no going back from Vietnamese Coffee
Stuffing ourselves with fresh fruits and food during our last night in Hanoi!
Vietnam is in our hearts! Definitely a precious pearl of the orient with its unique charm and glory. We’ll be back, we know, we barely explored this country and we are craving for more!

Let’s all go to Vietnam! After all, we believe that life is a pilgrim, kids included, and Vietnam is good start to find ourselves.

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