Hanoi: the bustling, chaotic streets thereof, the Confucian Temple of Literature (way more fun than it sounds!) and a bunch of museums, including the National History Museum, the unexpectedly poignant Hua Lo Prison (aka the “Hanoi Hilton”), and a lovely Womens’ Museum that shows how Vietnamese women have been both fierce and feminine over the years. Plus some miscellaneous Hanoi temples that may not assault the eyes the way, say, the average Thai Wat does, but are still worth a look.
Ha Long Bay: a landscape unlike any other, with the junk (boat) that was our home for three wonderful days, a floating village complete with pearl farms, and a beach BBQ we’ll never forget, where the scenic beauty was only slightly marred by the presence of a different kind of junk in the water.
Sa Pa, in the hilly north: its natural beauty, Hmong villages (some authentic, some touristy), waterfalls, and the highest point in Vietnam: Fansipan (or as we called it, Mt. FancyPants), which was worth seeing as much for the glimpse into Asian culture as for the spectacular views.
Hue: the ancient capital, with its Imperial Palace, tranquil pagodas Tu Hieu and Thien Mu, exquisite tombs of the Nguyen emperors, and a nearby “marble mountain,” home to the most amazing cave we’ve seen on this trip (and there have been many!)
Ho Chi Minh City: we zoomed in and out of the city formerly known as Saigon so fast, we barely had time for a motorbike tour (video coming soon!) and a sobering trip to the War Remnants Museum.