Hanoi, Sapa, and one last night in Bangkok...

I’ve been back in Vancouver for quite some time now, where all the usual distractions of life at home have kept me from finishing the final posts from my trip.  In the name of simplicity, and to prevent any further procrastination, all the remaining photos from my trip have been put here in one post.  It’s big, get coffee.

After leaving the foggy coast of Halong Bay, I arrived in Hanoi which is just as lovely as I had heard from so many people.  The Old Quarter was a delight: it was very nice to see such a big capital reject the usual push towards modern development and hold on to so much of its old charm.   When not hindered by a pesky flu, I ate as much delicious street food as I could possibly consume.  Restaurants spilling out onto the streets with little plastic chairs could be found on every corner.  If I lived here I would simply never cook again.

Further north, the town of Sapa and its surrounding villages was by far the largest concentration of traditional hill tribe populations that I've ever seen.  I've seen many hill tribe villages before and they usually consist of a small group of families living in a simple remote village, but here entire towns are bustling with their surprisingly well-preserved culture.  The people here live in a strange balance between modern and traditional lives: women dressed in intricate hand made clothing and jewelry sell roots and mushrooms harvested from the surrounding forests, but commute by brand-new motorbikes. I’m also pretty sure I saw one of the local men wearing an oversized 2Pac t-shirt, so maybe things are changing faster than I originally thought.

I savoured my last lazy overnight train back to Hanoi - I’m not sure how long it will be before I am rocked to sleep like that again.  After one last bowl of noodles I caught a quick flight to Bangkok where, as always, I enjoyed the final moments of my trip before heading back to the life that awaited me back home.