I was very privileged to get to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia a few years ago. If I had to sum the trip up in one word it would be AMAZING! Having never been to Asia before, the cultural differences hit you from the moment you land. Our small group covered a lot of ground in 10 days:
Overnight the storm was supposed to hit, my roommate and I set an alarm so that we could get up at 2am and see if it had. The major winds didn't end up hitting until about 10am, then lasted for a few hours until the eye of the storm came over us. The storm lost all momentum once it hit land, so we never saw the back half of the storm. In all, it was classed as a category 4 typhoon, and hundreds lost their lives in the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. The damage was visible to us the next day as we made our way north to Hue. What I found most amazing about the whole experience was seeing how the Vietnamese people just picked themselves up and went about their normal life as best they could. Neighbours worked together to put houses back together, mattresses, clothing and rice were all laid out to dry, and the markets were back to being busy.
Because of all the delays, we were late getting to Hue and missed out on seeing this historical town. Such a shame as we would have gotten to see the Perfume River, Royal Tombs and the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Did I mention that the number of scooters on the roads is outrageous? It wasn't uncommon to see a family of 5 all piled on board.
In closing, I absolutely loved this trip. The sounds, smells, sights, food, and people are all unique and made this trip what it was. I loved Vietnam so much, that I'm taking my husband there this coming April 2010. I can't wait to be back!