• Day61

    Final Thoughts on the Trip

    November 9, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Final Thoughts on Vietnam -
    The Vietnamese people are the friendliest people I have ever encountered (besides, maybe, the Thai people). Every interaction we had was pleasant and everyone we met was helpful. While we occasionally had some fears in Europe (pickpockets, terrorists, riots, etc...), that fear was pretty nonexistent in Asia. The food, which is probably half the reason we went to Vietnam, was incredible. We ate so much pho, vermicelli, spring rolls, soup, and other beef, chicken, noodle, and rice dishes and it was pretty much all amazing. We ate everything from 25 cent pork on a stick from street vendors to 25 dollar oyster and whole fish meals at fancy restaurants. I drank fresh fruit and smoothies with just about every meal and we drank cheap beer everywhere we went. The hotels we stayed in in Hanoi were some of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in. We could've stayed in hostels for a couple bucks, but we "splurged" and stayed in 5 star hotels for $20-30. We probably spent less per week in Vietnam than we did in a couple days in Italy. As for the different places we went in Vietnam - Hanoi (the capital) was awesome. It was crazy busy and loud and full of traffic. But it had so much to do - eat, drink, shop, visit museums, hang with locals, hang with tourists - anything you would expect in any major city. Hanoi was probably my favorite big city of the entire 60 day trip. Sapa, right on the Chinese border, was beautiful. The hike that we went on was one of the best hikes I've ever done. Unfortunately, this was the only city we had bad weather, so we didn't get to experience too much. It was also the most expensive place we went in Vietnam (though still incredibly cheap). Finally, Halong Bay - one of the seven natural wonders of the world was absolutely amazing. Cat Ba Island, where we went first, was definitely in the top 3 or 5 places of the trip. The boat trip we did was incredible and the motorbike ride around the island was one of the highlights of the trip. The next place we stayed, in a neighborhood outside of Halong City, was definitely the least touristy place we went on the entire trip. We didn't see a single other tourist (or English speaker) for 2 days. It was a little difficult but also really cool to just sit down at a restaurant and do our best to communicate but really to just take whatever we could get. The Vietnamese children would look through the glass at us like we were in a zoo. It was a pretty crazy experience. But again, everyone was so friendly. We only got to experience Northern Vietnam on this trip but we definitely want to go back at some point and see the whole country.

    Final Thoughts on Thailand -
    I love Thailand. So much. We are already trying to figure out the next time we can go. We basically only went to Thailand for the beach. We wanted to end the busy trip lounging in the sun for 2 weeks and that's exactly what we did. While Bangkok was cool, the cremation ceremony of the Late King really prevented us from doing anything. I was able to see and do much more on my previous trip to Bangkok. This Thailand trip was all about the islands. I can't say enough how amazing Shantaa Resort on Koh Kood was. That resort was perfect. We will absolutely make it back there at some point. The food, the beach, the villas, the water sports, the people, the gardens, everything. It was absolute paradise. We loved our little sea bungalow on Koh Chang, as well, but nothing could quite compare to Shantaa. If we go back to Koh Chang, we would probably stay on the busier White Sand Beach, just because the quieter beach couldn't quite live up to what you grow to expect in Thailand. But we really did have an amazing time there, as well. Anyone who is hesitant to travel to Asia, don't be. The Thai beaches are the best in the world. The people are so friendly that you wonder why everyone can't be that way all the time. The food is amazing. And you can see and do so much for a fraction of what you would spend in the Caribbean. Just go. You won't regret it. We'll be back as soon as possible.

    Final Thoughts on the Trip -
    There's not much to say that I haven't already said. Tim and I went on the trip of a lifetime. He is the most amazing travel (and life) partner I could ask for. We managed to spend 60 days traveling the world with nothing but 2 backpacks and each other and that's all we needed (and we're still getting married!!). I think we can both agree that our favorite places on the trip were 1) Koh Kood, Thailand, 2) Capri/Positano, Italy, 3) Cat Ba, Vietnam, 4) Southern Spain (Cadiz, Seville, Granada), and 5) a tie between basically everywhere else - Venice, Tuscany, Rome, Hanoi, Koh Chang. The food, the beaches, and the boat trips were the highlights. Scuba diving was probably the greatest I've ever come to facing my fears. We'll get certified at some point, but we're not in a major rush to get back down there. The #1 moment of the whole trip was probably swimming in the Blue Grotto. And one of the other best moments of the trip was getting home. I'm not sure we found anywhere that can top Richmond. But I'm excited to keep looking!!
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    Tim Corallo

    All about that bun cha!!