Rebecca Ezrin is a journalism junior studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. With many class field trips and personal trips planned, her adventures are virtually endless. She aims to share her authentic experiences and what she has learned. This past weekend, she paid a quick visit to Vietnam.
Pictured: Hanoi Rocks Hostel, a popular hostel amongst young backpackers. Since the recession hit in 2008, tourism in Vietnam has skyrocketed.
The streets of Hanoi are vibrant and packed with tourists and locals.
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, is 1,006 years old. It is the second largest city in Vietnam with a population of approximately 7.5 million. The city lies on the right bank of the Red River, which flows from Yunnan, China, through Northern Vietnam to the Gulf of Tonkin.
Pictured are the busy streets of the Hoan Kiem District, aka the Old Quarter in Hanoi. Similar to Chiang Mai, there are no traffic laws. In Hanoi, however, the drivers will not hesitate to drive straight into pedestrians if their path is blocked.
Vietnamese Egg Coffee. This drink is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee.
Tourists prepare to board a ferry from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island. Cat Ba Island is the largest of the many islands comprising the southeastern edge of Ha Long Bay.
Pictured is Woodstock Beach Camp Hostel, which is located approximately 20 minutes from the main town, in a non-touristy area.
Our tour guide prepares to embark on a three-hour tour through Lan Ha Bay, which is on the eastern edge of Cat Ba Island.
Four men at work fishing.
We arrive on Monkey Island and are greeted by dozens of monkeys, notorious for stealing personal belongings if they are not being closely watched. Monkey Island, officially known at Cat Dua, is privately owned and lies just a few miles out of Cat Ba town. The monkeys that live on the island were brought there for tourism purposes.
Ha Long Bay is best known for its scenic rock formations and limestone islands.
Our boat approaches a floating home in order to receive packaged lunches. Floating villages are a well-known attraction in Halong Bay. Each village contains several hundred people. Their food and water is brought from the mainland and their primary income is based on fishing and tourism.
Once on the floating home, a family shows us around. Under their home, they have captured a rare and extremely valuable fish. Instead of selling it, they keep it as a family treasure.
Following the three-hour tour, our boat returns to the harbor of Cat Ba Island.
A ferry and bus take us the five-hour journey back to Hanoi, where we fly out the next morning to return to Chiang Mai.