In twelve days (!) Brian and I are off on a grand adventure, our belated honeymoon to Vietnam and Cambodia. AAH! I'm so excited and a little nervous and not quite sure what to expect. I imagine more noodles but less public nudity than our mini-moon but really, who knows! Anything can happen.
So why Vietnam? Good question! While wedding planning, B & I decided to hold off on a big post-wedding trip for a number of reasons, mainly just to take advantage of Brian's amazing two week spring break and to extend the amount of time we can drag out newlywed attention. My boss super awesomely granted me two weeks vacay in the midst of a bananas season and I'm extremely grateful for this time but also extremely anxious about leaving the office for that long.
Cut the cord, Liz. You're not saving lives here, the world will spin on without you.
(End anxiety interlude here.)
We knew we had two weeks in late March, which is a kind of crapshoot, weather-wise, in most of the world and wanted to go somewhere totally new to both of us so we pretty quickly settled on Southeast Asia...somewhere. We had the grand idea to do Thailand and Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia but then realized that as long as two weeks seems when you're crafting your out-of-office memo, it's not actually that much time to travel about the world. A number of our friends had recently been to Vietnam and loved it, so we decided to spend the majority of our time there with a quick hop-skip-jump into Cambodia to see Angkor Wat.
As we get deep into our planning, we're realizing it might be a little nuts to go into Cambodia for less than 48 hours, but Angkor is one of the most gorgeous and well-regarded heritage sites in the world, it seems silly not to take advantage of being so close.
Here's our full itinerary, if you're curious, which I'm SO sure you are:
Whipped that fancy little graphic up allll by mah-self. Thanx Google Maps.
We leave Saturday the 14th at 1 PM EST and arrive into Hanoi at 10:10 PM on Sunday the 15th. I may be rounding up a bit but the flight is approximately 89 hours, including a layover in Seoul, and we cross through 61 time zones. We did get sleeping pills from the travel doctor but sleeping pills make me so nervous! The longest I've ever flown is is about 8 hours from NYC to Barcelona. I think I had a glass of red wine and a Tylenol PM. I remember I put on that Valentines Day movie, the Love Actually wannabe, and I kept falling into these sleeps that seemed deep and long - I'd dream and everything! - only to wake up and realize I'd only been asleep for like 15 minutes and that goddamn movie was STILL ON. It was the most disorienting thing. I still feel woozy every time I see photos of Ashton Kutcher.
We'll spend a few nights in Hanoi, then spend a night on a boat (!!!) in the Halong Bay which I"m incredibly excited about. I've heard it's kind of touristy and not as exciting as it seems on the web but helloooooo, gorgeous:
I'll put up with a few tourists if it means even a percentage of this awesomeness. The tour we're signed up for includes kayaking among the islands and hiking up one of the cliffs to see the sunrise. I am so excited!!! I'm also a little concerned about apparel. We're trying to pack in just carry on luggage (full post on that to come next week!) and the weather's to be pretty warm everywhere we go, but it may be brisk in the Bay and I don't know what to do about footwear. Should I buy water shoes? I really want to buy water shoes but Brian thinks it might be overkill.
Help me! What kind of shoes to people wear to kayak and maybe climb a mountain????
After Halong Bay we visit Hue, the old imperial capital and then Hoi An, a cool little city towards the south of Vietnam that's known for hospitality and is right by the beach. We're taking a cooking class (!), maybe doing a bike tour and I'm hoping for a lazy beach day, too. It's also Anthony Bourdain's favorite city in Vietnam...for whatever that's worth! After Hoi An we bop over to Cambodia and then back to Hanoi for one more night before flying home.
The time difference is even weirder on the way back. Our flight leaves at about midnight on the 28th, with another layover in Seoul. We leave Seoul at 10 AM on Sunday, March 29 and land in JFK at 11 AM the same day.
WHAT???!! Time is such a strange human construct, guys. What a world.
Anyway! I am obviously super stoked for the trip. We have some great tips from friends of ours who've been and have been devouring travel blogs (Kate and Natalie are two of my favorite bloggers, both have been super helpful and this and this keep it real on some of the more difficult aspects of Vietnam travel), but I'm wondering, have you ever been to any of these places? If yes, is there anything we just must see/do/eat? I'm ALL ears for suggestions. What kind of shoes did you wear to Halong Bay? Did you ever get royally scammed? HOW BAD was your Traveler's Diarrhea???? I have a mean stomach in the best of situations so I'm anticipating some pretty gruesome intestinal shenanigans while we're in SE Asia... but I ain't scared. I can take this. Maybe I can even poo off my remaining winter padding.
Gross, sorry. New blog, same filter: NONE.
If you've got any tips, lemme have 'em! I can't wait to share stories and pictures of this trip with y'all. What's more fun than hearing about someone else's vacation? Um, nothing. Next up: my packing list. I'm trying to do two weeks in one tiny duffel...while still looking fly. Is it possible?! We'll find out, I guess!
xoxo Liz Ho