The first time we ended up in Vietnam it was by the process of elimination or as I prefer, good fortune.
Our friend had recently returned from Thailand and we really wanted to go there but award tickets just weren’t working out. We decided to stop trying to force Thailand to work and expanded our search to other countries in Southeast Asia; Vietnam rose to the top of the list. Getting award tickets was a piece of cake (kismet!) and we started planning right away since we had about six weeks to figure it out. As usual, the planing process energized and excited us and we couldn’t wait to get there.
Decisions and Logistics
Vietnam is a long, slender country that shares land borders with China, Laos and Cambodia. The South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand bracket the rest. While there was so much that called to us, we quickly realized that it didn’t make sense to try to see the whole country on one trip so we decided to focus on the Northern half of Vietnam focusing on Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An with side trips in each of those areas.
After a twelve-hour layover at Narita we arrived in Hanoi around midnight and processed through immigration and customs and were ready to try to find our driver.
The exit doors opened and Vietnam rushed in around us. First impressions were the humidity, the activity and the voices. It was after 1:00 a.m. and throngs of people were waiting as the crowds exited. We glanced at each other and smiled, then we started looking for our driver. Aside from being fatigued we were practically vibrating with excitement.
A Feast for the Senses