PHO`bulous Vietnam

 A couple weeks back me and my husband, Charlie, and two of our close friends decided to venture to Asia. It was mine and Charlie's first time to visit Asia. We started in Hoi An and continued to Hanoi/Halong Bay. First off, the food here is so delicious. I, of course, tried to be very careful of street foods and restaurants I chose to eat at because I knew there was a higher chances of getting sick but I was so excited to get to experience the food and culture. This may come as a shock but I had never tried Pho back in NYC or anywhere for that matter. Well, I tried it.....and it was so tasty and flavorful. I was so excited that my first taste of Pho was with the OG gangsters of this food. The next thing that I was obsessed with food wise was the Vietnamese coffee!!! I was pretty much cracked out from this stuff 24/7. The coffee itself is strong and smooth but then they add condensed milk and well thats a game changer folks. From the spring rolls to the Pho, Vietnam definitely knew how to capture my heart through food. Onto the next adventure, I decided that an 8 hour motorcycle trip through the country would be so great....It was great but possibly the scariest most terrifying thing I have ever done. I had my own bike like a badass and insisted on riding through the countryside myself. All 4 of us did the tour and we had a guide, if you could call it that. First off, didn't realize how crazy traffic is. No traffic lights, no rules, no lanes, just hoping I didn't die. The guide was going about 50 mph the entire time and I was quietly chanting to myself "You go girl, you got this! You are brave." Now as far as experience, it was once in a lifetime and it was absolutely beautiful. We ventured all the way up the highest mountain pass called, Hai Van Pass. It was so green and so lush but scarier than hell to drive up and down. We saw temples, visited little local shops, and really got to embrace the surroundings of Hoi An. After our tour and once the sun set, we walked to the downtown area of Hoi An. The streets were painted with a dancing glow from the beautiful lanterns that filled the sky. The streets were bustling with vendors and restaurants and reminded me a lot of the french quarter in New Orleans. I really enjoyed the ambiance here and the people watching. Me and Charlie were only in Hoi An for a couple of days so off to Hanoi we went. We really only stayed in this area because it was the closest big city to Halong Bay. Halong Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site and is filled with giant limestone rocks that dart out from the water which make for a magical adventure. We landed in Hanoi and the following morning headed to the ocean so we can see this wonderful site. We decided on a private cruise because the other cruises would pack people in like sardines. We just did a day tour but most people do an overnight cruise so they can see more of the area. Halong Bay is stunning and I would highly recommend it. We hiked inside a GIANT cave and sailed through what looked like a scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean. It was peaceful and relaxing and I am so happy I made the trek out that way. The next day we ended up taking a city tour that way we could see a little bit more of Hanoi itself. We got the chance to stop at the famous restaurant that Obama ate at. The walls are literally covered in photos of Obama's face and they only serve one dish called the "Obama Special." It was so great and this place was obviously popular with the locals because there is 6+ floors of just seats and tables and almost all levels were full. Before our flight to Cambodia, we sipped on some more Vietnamese coffee and ate a tasty matcha cake and took in all the surroundings of the Old Quarter in Hanoi. This country is scenic, beautiful, adventure-filled, and worth visiting. I loved how it took me out of my daily life and gave me a different perspective on living. Thanks Vietnam!

(below are some links to the cruise I took and hotels I stayed at)

Cruise in Halong Bay

Hotel in Hoi an

Hotel in Hanoi

XO,

Ashlee Rose