Category Archive: Vietnam

Halong Bay and Hanoi, Vietnam

Halong Bay is overrated.  Yes it’s beautiful, with countless limestone towers jutting up dramatically from the water.  But the hype goes too far.  Fodor’s describes it as “mind-blowing.”  Lonely Planet calls it “a… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 3

“Why you no bring your girlfriend?” the Hmong women asked.  “She no friendly?” “Sure Marie is friendly,” I said.  “Why wouldn’t she be friendly?” The women, laughing, reminded me that when I’d visited… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 2

When I visited Sapa in 2010 I brought my Hmong friends prints of the photos I’d taken of them in 2006.  Some of the other Hmong women heard I’d done that, which prompted… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 1

If civilization collapses, the Hmong who live around Sapa will be just fine.  They’d be inconvenienced, of course – many of them now have electricity, mobile phones, and motorcycles, and some earn their… Continue reading

Hanoi, Vietnam

“What is the best way to lead a meaningful life?” the Vietnamese student asked me. Wow, I thought, that escalated quickly.  His first two questions had been “Where are you from?” and “How… Continue reading

Halong Bay, Vietnam

How do you follow up an amazing, too-good-to-be-true experience like the one I just had in Sapa? Simple answer: karaoke typhoon booze cruise. I knew that wherever I went after Sapa would be… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 5

On my last morning in Sapa I had a quick breakfast at the hotel before heading out to meet Vi.  I was worried she would still be upset, but – just as Ge… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 4

Vi, My and Chu masterminded the plan for my third day in Sapa:  buy food at the local market, hike to a village called Ta Phin for a picnic lunch, then hire motorbikes… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 3

At the end of my first day in Sapa, my Hmong friend Chu asked, “What you do tomorrow?” “I don’t know,” I told her.  “What do you think I should do?” “We trek… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 2

My six Hmong friends grew up in the same village – Ta Van, a three-hour hike from Sapa – and when I met them four years ago they all lived at home and… Continue reading