As the world continues to open up, travel is a way to connect us again: with the people, the culture, the food and ourselves, and I’ve certainly found them all in Vietnam.
Kathryn Romeyn is a travel and design writer based in Los Angeles and Bali. We would like to introduce the translation of her article in Travel Leisure magazine about her trip to Vietnam after the pandemic.
As the pandemic slowly recedes, many parts of the world are flooded with tourists. Across Vietnam, when I experienced this June with my husband and 15-month-old daughter, the feeling of peace and sweetness was still pervasive.
Western tourists are slowly returning to a place known for its flavorful cuisine, diverse vegetables and herbs, quaint towns, dynamic cities, beautiful beaches and distinctive culture.
We go from North to South, loving Vietnam more and more deeply every day. One can imagine the capital of a country with more than 97 million people will be bustling, but in Hanoi it is the opposite. To me, Hanoi is like the setting of a romantic period movie with colonial architecture covered by lush, towering trees.
Photo: KATHRYN ROMEYN.
I couldn’t help but admire the orange sunset in Hanoi. Meanwhile, at 7 a.m. in Hanoi it’s a spectacle of its own, humming with tranquil energy as locals gather around the square, playing badminton on the sidewalks, dancing by Hoan Kiem Lake, meditating and pray at the temple. Seeing this scene gives them a sense of optimism.
Photo: KATHRYN ROMEYN
Not to mention the “thrilling trip” on an old Vespa and lunch with bun cha at Dong Xuan market. I wish I had more days to explore Hanoi because I feel like I’ve only skimmed the surface of the city’s history, vibrant beauty, and food.
On our next stop – Hoi An – I also wish I had more time.
Hoi An itself is a ravishing old city with charming pedestrian-only streets richly decorated with handmade silk lanterns.
Photo: KATHRYN ROMEYN
We arrived in Hoi An on a Sunday evening with a full moon and the city came alive with the sight of boats sparkling with rainbow lanterns gliding along the river giving me a special feeling, like pagodas and temples glow under the night sky.
Incidentally, the dishes we selected represent the dominant flavors of the regions: the bold North, the spicy Central, the sweet South, and the simple Mekong Delta.
The locals were very friendly when sharing stories about Vietnam’s food culture. The heavenly flowers, crispy pork belly and duck, rolled with fresh vegetables.
Our 10 days were spent with dear moments, filling my heart with warm people. A 10-day tour in Vietnam is the best way to reconnect not only with yourself but also with another culture through food, beautiful scenery and warm, generous people.