It’s been a while since I wrote about my 6 month solo backpacking adventure but I’m determined to document the entire adventure before it fades too far into my memory. Continuing where I left off, which was in Bangkok, Thailand. I flew off to Hai Phong Vietnam, where I spent the Christmas holiday, met many wonderful new friends and got a much needed taste of home.
Vietnam was a last minute decision. It was December 2018, I was in India, I had already decided I would go to Thailand afterwards because I found a ridiculously cheap flight from Mumbai to Bangkok, but I didn’t know where I would spend Christmas on the road. I figured it would be in a hostel somewhere in Thailand, or I’d leave to Taipei, Hong Kong, maybe Manila? While I was pondering this, my friend back home in the States asked about how my trip was going and also suggested I stay at her Dad’s house in Vietnam for the holidays since I was ‘nearby’. He runs an English school for locals and most of the students and the volunteer teachers were around my age.
That sounded like a great place to spend Christmas so I applied for my Vietnam visa online and booked a flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Hai Phong, Vietnam.
I loved my time in Hai Phong, I still have all the Christmas cards everybody wrote me before I left. It was such a warm and special destination on my trip because it felt like I was visiting old friends and not like I was just showing up there for the first time. I remember thinking about how I could plan a route to loop back here once I wrapped up my trip in Asia and started heading East to Africa or Europe (I never ended up continuing east, but I didn’t know that at the time). Out of my entire trip, Hai Phong is the place I remember with the most fondness because it’s the place I smiled and laughed the most.
I stayed in Hai Phong, Vietnam between December 19th - 26th, 2018. I left the day after Christmas and took a bus to Hanoi. Once I got there I had to haggle for a ride to the airport and it ended up being the scariest ground transportation experience I have ever had in my life (scariest flight experience is still flying out of Lukla nested in the Himalayas). I spent an hour clinging onto the back of a tiny motorbike going an average of 120 mph down empty city highways in the middle of the night. Miraculously I arrived at the airport in one piece. All I could think about the entire time was how dead I was going to be if we hit even the smallest bump or pothole in the road.
My next stop: Tokyo.