The final country on our Around the World adventure was Vietnam. We spent eight days in this beautiful country and visited four very unique locations: Hoi An, Hanoi, Sapa, and the stunning Ha Long Bay. There are a few more images than usual in this post, but represent only a glimpse into this stunning country.
Hoi An is a beautifully maintained 19th century trading port and UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its lanterns and the place to get custom made clothes and shoes made within hours.
The lanterns of Hoi An.
Inside one of the temples. These coils are actually slowing burning incense and the yellow tags list the names of donors and what they wished for when they lit the incense. People wished for good luck, good fortune, or even a baby boy.
To market, to market…
Sweet lady in traditional dress headed to market. This isn’t a costume for the tourists, it’s what the locals normally wear.
A not so sweet lady also headed to market. She yelled at me for not giving her money.
I could have filled a whole book with images of what the Vietnamese can fit on a scooter. This is an example, but by no means the largest or heaviest of items we saw strapped to the back of a motorcycle. The craziest items were an adult pig (quite alive), and a full sized refrigerator and dishwasher. Our guide had a photo of a full grown cow laid sideways on a motorcycle (and again, alive). In this photo, note that all the chickens are also alive, including the ones hanging upside down. And on the other side, there’s another three baskets that you can’t see.
Onto to Sapa, a small town high up in the mountains of northern Vietnam. It’s known for its terraced rice fields and surprisingly, North Face clothing. Why? This is one of where much of the North Face clothing is made. Who knew?
Misty morning over the rice fields.
Sapa is also home to several of Vietnam’s ethic tribes which include the Black Hmong, Flower Hmong, and the Red Dao.
This very shy Hmong girl’s clothing was made by her mother from hemp and cotton, accented by cross stitch patterns. The women harvest the hemp, spin the thread, dye it, weave into cloth, then cross stitch detailed patterns. The amount of work to produce their colorful clothing was incredible. (Note her wellies- many of the Hmong women wore them and for good reason.)
These ladies crowded around me, hoping I’d buy something. I did. The two ladies with the red head scarves are Red Dao (pronounced Zow), and shave the front of their heads for beauty. The others are Hmong. They wear silver to ensure good health.
And finally, Ha Long Bay on the northeast coast of Vietnam.
Sunrise over Ha Long Bay.