September 28, 2013

Did You Know...

What's up bloggy people?!?!

We're back in SF! Confession: We've been back for over two weeks!

Don't worry, we still have a ton of travel updates to share with you and those will be coming soon, we (kind of) promise. We also have a lot to tell you about what it's been like to return, what our lives are like now, and what's on the horizon.

In the meantime, all of the pics from our trip (at least the international parts) are uploaded! Did you know that you can view them at any time from our blog?

Just click on the Pics link in the menu bar on any page of the blog.

From there, you'll be taken to a page with links to all of our trip photos.

Just click on any photo or description and you'll be taken to our Flickr page with all of our albums. So, even though we haven't written yet about Laos, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, or can still check out our photos.

We hope you'll keep reading our updates and, in the mean time, check out our photos.

See you soon with our wrap-ups about Vietnam!

September 27, 2013

Last Stop in Vietnam (Hanoi, Vietnam)

People - we LOVED Vietnam. Loved it! ADORED it! We're ready to go back. For this reason, our time in Hanoi was bittersweet because it was our last stop. The dive boat in Thailand (read here) and Vietnam were the only two places where I actually felt myself mourning for leaving. But, alas, with flights awaiting us from Bangkok to Australia and because we still wanted to visit Laos, we had to push off from Vietnam.

Chowing down on some spare ribs (I think) in Hanoi
We actually visited Hanoi twice. First, we took a train from Phong Nha (read here) to Hanoi and spent a few days enjoying the city. After that, we took a bus to the mystic Cát Bà and Ha Long Bay region (read here) before returning back to Hanoi for three more days of urban exploration.

On the train from Phong Nha to Hanoi. This guy crawled up in our bunks to take photos with us. Love the friendliness!

September 25, 2013

Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

Don't worry...this isn't another post about bags of cats. Cát Bà is the name of the next destination we visited in Vietnam. I hope you had a chance to check out Steph's post about Phong Nha. It was definitely one of the best parts of our trip. After we left Phong Nha, we took a train up to Ha Noi and spent a few days there before bussing it to Cát Bà Island. We'll tell you more about our time in Ha Noi later, as we actually visited it twice and want to share it with you all at once.

When we decided that we were going to Vietnam, we kept reading about Ha Long Bay. Ha Long Bay (meaning "Descending Dragon Bay") is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been a popular tourist haunt for years due to the limestone karsts jutting out of the ocean. It creates an otherworldly scene, especially if there is some mist rolling in off the ocean. It's easy to understand where the name comes from. The typical tourist thing to do is to go on a 1-3 night boat trip around the Bay. Since we had already done an overnight boat trip in India (read here), we decided to skip the overnight option and do some day trips instead. We've mentioned several times that the best choices we have made traveling were based on the advice from other travelers so, based on the pointers from other Vietnam backpackers, we decided to head to Cát Bà Island instead of the busy, touristy Ha Long Bay. Cát Bà has the same karst formations and topography as Ha Long Bay, without the mass tourism, and actually borders Ha Long Bay, so we got to see it anyway! We booked lodging at Cát Bà Homestay, which is one of the great choices we made on the trip.

Floating Fishing Village, Cát Bà Island, Vietnam (our view from a kayak)