Vietnam was the hardest country of my year-long break in 2008. I deliberately kept it to one of the last because I had a hard time there and it was the only country where I had many, many moments of completely not enjoying myself. In fact, I didn’t use up all my visa-free days and cut short my trip to go home, I was that tired. Yet despite all the difficulties, Vietnam was the place that I found myself talking about the most, it was the place where I had the most amazing experiences, where I came across the most breathtaking scenery, and the freshest, tastiest food. It was also the place where I found my own as a solo traveller.
It took some time for the memories to settle down and for the rose-tinted glasses of hindsight to work its magic. Now when I look through the photos I have the warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia. The anger, frustration and disappointment of having been cheated and mistreated have all but faded. The me that boycotted all things Vietnamese and wrote open letters to the Vietnam tourist authority has given way to a me that perhaps forgiven the past and wouldn’t mind giving Vietnam (especially the food!) a second chance.
Still, it’s good to document as much of my Vietnam experience as possible. I hope you enjoy the good, bad and hair-raising as I take you through my Vietnam trip two years ago in 2008.