Near Sapa, in the village of Bac Ha, you can find the most important ethnic market in northern Vietnam. There all the locals stop to sell their livestock, vegetables, food, tobacco, clothes or any item of need. The Vietnamese spend the day cutting their hair in the various stalls set up for it, or they bet in a butcher shop if they are capable of cutting several pieces of a single cut. Others concentrate their visit in commercial tasks, check the cattle, choose the best cow, dog, chicken and make the purchase or sale after negotiating a good price. The clothes in this area are a little more peculiar than in the rest of the country, they wear more colorful fabrics, colorful cloth caps, forgetting the typical Vietnamese hat that so many tourists buy as a souvenir.
In contrast to Sapa, we go to the coast. In this place is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, HaLong Bay. A set of mountains, coming out of the sea, that form an impressive landscape. The local legend reads that the Jade Emperor sent a family of celestial dragons to help them defend their land. These dragons spit jewels and jade, which became the islets that we see today. It is essential to walk its alleys on board a ship and sleep in the middle of nowhere with immense peace.
The cities of Vietnam, however, are those that endure the intensity and chaos of the country. It is impossible to describe the feeling of crossing a street in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, no matter how small, with words.
You have to be, you have to live it, just by looking face to face at the bikes you can find the way to cross. Or the best trick, if a Vietnamese happens, I pass. That yes, the satisfaction you get to get to the other side after passing the sea of motorcycles is, comparable to its cuisine, an infinite pleasure.
From the breakfast Pho to the hundreds of different types of rolls you can eat, Vietnamese cuisine is one of the strengths of this country. Maintaining the Asian style of its noodles or rice, Vietnam uses its dried fish as a base to create some of the best sauces. And the differentiated touch of its neighboring countries is the lemongrass, an aromatic herb that contributes a characteristic flavor in most of its dishes.
It’s amazing how in the middle of a city like Hanoi, among the intense traffic of motorcycles, you can find a small island of peace. A railway line crosses the entire city and does so by dividing houses, streets, and parks. Children play between the tracks, garbage is piled up in the middle of the supposed “street”. The Vietnamese play grouped and chat knowing perfectly that the train only passes twice a day.
One of the most authentic means of transport to travel to the country is the train. A route that crosses Vietnam from north to south, finding places like Tam Coc, Hue to Ho Chi Min. Immense natural landscapes and towns are full of light and color. The mountains maintain their characteristic shape and the valleys are filled with rice fields, a landscape worthy of being admired with tranquility.
Hoi Ann stands out from the rest, being a very picturesque town, where in addition to enjoying its colors or photographing its thousands of lanterns, you can get lost in its bicycle streets in hand to discover the local life at full capacity.