I will be visiting Vietnam from 27 December 2022 to 25 January 2023. This is a bittersweet part of my return to Southeast Asia since I have not been back in over a year. I lived there from 2020 to 2021 during pandemic times and was fortunate in 2020 to be able to visit and re-visit many places. Prior to that I would always go back to Vietnam when I needed a refill of spirit, soul, or heart.
Each place was a story in itself and I got to wander around so many places from Hanoi to Can Tho. I lived in Hanoi which became my home in many ways. I love the city and have missed it since. Without further digression, here’s some basic information on my Vietnam.
Vietnam is a finger of land along the ocean as you can see from the map.
This trip I only have 30 days, so I will reach two places. I decided on the places based on ease of access. Starting with Saigon with flights from Cambodia.
Above is the beautiful Opera House in District 1 in Saigon. The variety between old and new is rather noticeable in Saigon. In the background of the picture is the Vincom Center Mall. A nice place to cool off in summer. AC is nice!
I’m not a big fan of Saigon. Have lived there, left there and have gone back many times to see friends and travel to points south and north. The main thing about Saigon for me is it is an easy entry point from Cambodia. This time, I will fly in from Siem Reap in the evening. The flight takes about 2 hours.
I’ll stay for three nights down in District 1 and get to see a few people hopefully. Tom lives in Saigon now but I met him in Hanoi a few years ago. We will get together for food and beer and hopefully some coffee. Lily will hopefully come up from Can Tho to see me. She was going to travel to Hanoi but this became impossible for her so instead we will meet in Saigon for dinner.
For my few weeks in Hanoi, I will be staying in the same house I lived in before that my good friend Van manages. The home is in the Tay Ho District. Tay Ho is probably known as the expat district. West Lake is right there. One of my favorite playgrounds for food, beer, walking. I used to live about 5 minutes from the lake and the wondrous cafes and little coffee shops that dot the lake. We would meet often for morning coffee and sit watching the lake. In the evening it is the sunset show at West Lake. I would always stop for food and beer at one of the many coffee shops and cafes along the lake.
There are people in the Hanoi places too. Van lives in the old quarter. She is family to me and I am always welcome for meals at her house. Paul and Duyen have been my friends for some years. We will hopefully do some meals at their home with Duyen cooking for us. She is a world class chef and always cooks internationally for us but always with some tempting side delicacies of Vietnamese food.
Hanoi is also a city of little scenes of life that I truly love. I wandered many times finding those without really looking. Each little thing, like below, has this wonderful cultural milieu of the city and people and neighborhoods.
More to come
And then there’s more of the story to come… This just gives you the tip of the story of going to Vietnam after an absence of over a year. I will be writing and taking photos all of the days. Perhaps the blog will get a new category. I will also have a photo album but some of the photos will always come here first.
I’ve already thought of a second trip in 2023 because there are so many places yet to reach. I want to spend time in central Vietnam and get to Da Nang, Hoi An, and Hue again. Each of the places holds so much more to come for me.
The first trip though takes care of an immediate need I have. I simply must be in Vietnam in early 2023. One of the big things about the trip is that the Tet Holidays start on 22 January 2023. I really wanted to be at Van’s house then.
My spirit and soul and heart will not be full until I touch Vietnam again.