The next leg of our trip was in Siem Reap, Cambodia. We were only here for two days (wish it could have been longer) but got to see a TON of temples. Out of all the temples I’ve seen throughout Asia, the ones in Cambodia stand out to me the most. I just think the architecture of these temples is so impressive and unique. There are actually over 300 temples in Siem Reap and we saw every one of them! Just kidding…we probably saw about five or six of them, which was the perfect amount. I started to get “templed out” by the fifth temple.
The final stop on our trip through Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City is situated in the south of Vietnam and features many relics from the Vietnam War (or as some Vietnamese call it, the US War of Aggression/American War). This city is the biggest city in Vietnam with a lot of western influence. During our time in Saigon, we got to see different war remnants, cruise the Mekong Delta, and enjoy the nightlife of the city (I was with my mom, so nothing too crazy happened while we were out 😉 ).
The third city on our trip was Hoi An—a beach town in the middle of Vietnam, about halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Like Ha Long Bay, Hoi An is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During our two days in Hoi An, we explored the ancient town, relaxed on the beach, took part in a local cooking class, went on a bike ride through the countryside, and even rode water buffalo!
The next stop on my journey through Asia with my mom was Ha Long Bay—a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s roughly 135 miles from Hanoi. Ha Long Bay is a world renowned geological area, featuring thousands of limestone karsts and isles. As you can see from some of my pictures below, it is quite remarkable.
The beginning of my trip with my mom (Mich) began in Hanoi, Vietnam. Aside from the unusual, cold weather and the bed bugs in the first hostel I stayed at, Hanoi was a great city to visit. Hanoi is a bustling city in Northern Vietnam. Everywhere you look there are different shops, cafes, restaurants, and motorbikes.
Hello there! Remember me? You probably don’t since I’ve been gone for so long. I thought I would get back into blogging right when I got back from my two-month vacation, but I ended up being much busier than I expected this past month in Chongqing. I’ve put off blogging for so long that I am actually a little overwhelmed with all the stuff I have to tell you about.
The day was Sunday, January 24th, in Hanoi, Vietnam. I had just awoken from a good night’s sleep, despite being in a 16-person dorm room at the Hanoi Rocks Hostel, to discover something atrocious–BED BUGS. At first, I didn’t realize I had a bed bug infested bed, but then I saw a little bug crawling on my sweatshirt and started to worry. I checked the seam of my mattress, and sure enough, there were two bed bugs and some blood stains. I went down to the lobby right away to inform the staff, and they didn’t seem to think it was that urgent of an issue. After bugging them (no pun intended) enough about it, they finally agreed to check the bed out, clean my belongings for me free of charge, and comp my room for the night.
My favorite part of my first winter break trip with the boys was going to Harbin, China. Harbin is located in the far northeast of China, right below Russia. If you haven’t heard of Harbin before, all you have to know is it is ridiculously cold, it has a lot of Russian influence, and it has an annual, world-famous ice and snow festival during the winter months. Our primary reason for traveling here was to see the ice and snow sculptures. (Please excuse my language and derpiness in the video below 🙂 )
In my previous post, I said that I thought Shanghai wasn’t as good as I remember it being. Beijing, on the other hand, was much better than I remember it being three years ago. Maybe I had a better experience this time around since I never had to take a cab in Beijing (cabs are the absolute WORST in Beijing) since our hostel was conveniently located within walking distance of the subway. The pollution also wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be…we could see blue skies! We still wore our face masks most of the time though to be safe.
Returning to Shanghai after three years was definitely a weird experience. Up until the time I moved to Chongqing, I thought that Shanghai (where I had studied abroad my Sophomore year of college for a semester) was the best city in China. After returning to Shanghai for a few days on vacation, however, I realized Shanghai isn’t really a true “Chinese” city. Shanghai seemed even more western than before, which is to be expected—major cities in China are only becoming more and more western over time.