I'm about to leave Vietnam (22-hour bus journey, God help me!) where I spent a couple of weeks with Ginger Paul. We had a great time and although for some mysterious reason he kept saying I'm impossible and other things I cannot possibly repeat, I'm sure he adored travelling with me. Didn't you GP? :-)
Apart form joking, it was as pleasant as travelling with Ellie in Cambodia (so GP you're rigth at the top there, happy?). It's really good to see friends after 8 months around the world. Thanks for coming GP!
I was a bit worried as I heard horrible stories from other travellers about Vietnam and Vietnamese people. I was even tempted to cut it out of my trip, but I'm glad I didn't.
Halong Bay and Sapa are among the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Hoi An is very pretty and great for silk shopping :-) Didn't particularly like Hanoi, but I suppose it's just another chaotic Asian city.
As for the people, they are certainly less friendly and less genuine compared to people in Cambodia or Laos, surely much more money oriented, but not nearly as bad as I had heard.
Before Vietnam I spent a couple of weeks in Laos, which is wonderful. I think it's still the least touristy country in SE Asia and the nature is absolutely breathtaking. I was also lucky enough to be in Luang Prabang for New Year (they celebrate it in April as it marks the beginning of the rainy season) and got soaked for 3 days, as they love to dance in the street throwing buckets of water (yes even coloured water). But it was fun and there was a great atmosphere.
It was a bit of an adventure to travel overland to Vietnam (3 days and a ridiculous number of buses), but I suppose it's part of the game :-)
Soooo over all SE Asia was great and I'm soon off to Indonesia where I'll meet Wendy. Cannot wait to see another lovely friendly face! Wendy, are you ready???