I visited Hanoi northern capital of Vietnam twice during May and June 2016. It was hot hot hot and oppressively humid. The air was heavy and it reflected in the speed people moved in. But even so if they thought they had someone who might buy from them they came alive waving hands and raising their voices whilst negotiating hard. They’re there to make as many dollars from the tourists as possible.
Relaxing days sailing around Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay to explore the scenery. Discover the waters of Bai Tu Long Bay still relatively untouched by the many daily junks now crowding the waters. Visits to the fishing villages and seeing how life is living on the water and how the families survive. Daily kayaking for those intrepid explorers or just relax on board on the sundeck.
Sadly we found Hue (pronounced H-Whey) quite disappointing after the friendliness of Hoi An. We arrived in the rain giving everywhere a grey overcast look. The town had an downtrodden feel to it, like it’s been forgotten about and deserted for brighter shinier places. It’s full of history as this was where the Nguyen dynasty of Emperors lived. It was the national capital from 1802 to 1945. But even though it’s now an Unesco World Heritage site, there seems to be a struggle to maintain what remains.
It’s a huge impressive city complex still surrounded by a moat, full of water lilies and koi carp and thick stone walls. Once inside there’s a computerised video showing what is thought to be the former glory of The Citadel with it’s ornate palaces and shrines you really get a feel of the magnificents of the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City which once was the Emperor’s home.
Hoi An is a lively, colourful town with mixture of influences. It’s on the water with lots of canal cut throughs. The ancient town is a mix of French colonial influence, temples, Chinese shophouses, and Vietnamese tube houses.