We’ve now been here in Hanoi for 3 months and what a time we’ve had. As well as settling down, I’ve found a job working as an e-learning consultant and I make a little here and there doing internet work and Elena has been busily learning to watercolour. It’s been such a relief to be able to take control of our lives and not have to work 9-5.

Since getting here we’ve also been on a few trips around the North of Vietnam. We wanted to see how local people take holidays and so we arranged a couple of trips to the countryside through people we know around town and ended up travelling in groups of mainly young hip Vietnamese. The groups that we went with organised everything amongst ourselves, from hiring motorbikes to accommodation.

SAPA Mu Cang Chai 1

The first trip was to a place called Mù Căng Chải. Mù Cang Chải is a rural district of Yên Bái Province, in the Northeast region of Vietnam and has some of the most beautiful rice paddies in the world. It’s not as famous as Sa Pa, but is just as beautiful I’m told, with the bonus that not that many tourists go there. As it’s not as famous as Sa Pa, we could only get a postcard of Sa Pa to send out and I hope that this works to convey the beauty of the landscape to whoever receives it.

Here are our pictures from our trip to Mù Căng Chải.

One word of warning though, to anyone who wants to take a trip like this. Although it sounds very cool, travelling with Vietnamese on motorbikes, we found one thing didn’t agree with us. It seems the Vietnamese are way more fond of sitting on motorbikes than us. The trip was mainly spent on a motorbike watching the scenery flying by. Elena and I love walking and spending a day on a motorbike wasn’t really our thing at all. After the trip to Mù Căng Chải, we decided to try again and joined another trip, this time to Hà Giang.

SAPA vertical

Sadly, that trip was spent almost entirely on motorbikes riding through landscape dotted with limestone karsts and we didn’t really get many pictures, but came back with memories of having very sore bottoms. The best picture we got on this trip was of our friends motorbike being loaded onto the top of bus after she got fed up sitting all day on her arse on the bike.

Danielly's bike getting the bus home

Suffice to say, we’ll be organising our own trips in future.

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An e-learning professional and physics teacher by trade, Andy discovered late in life that he rather likes art. He set up my REAL wall and mailart365 to make and send as much art in the post as possible but spends far too much on postal costs

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