VIETNAM

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After our quick stop in Beijing, we headed south to the buzzing city of Hanoi, Vietnam. Hanoi is an energetic city steeped in history with a Southeast Asian culture with French influences. Motorbikes dart through the narrow streets of the Old Quarter while locals enjoy a breakfast of pho bo (beef noodle soup) and egg coffee. We had three days to absorb as much of Hanoi as we possibly could. Like most travelers we spent our time in Vietnam eating and taking in the sights. Hanoi is known for its tasty, fragrant and inexpensive cuisine and you can't miss the exceptional street food. The best food can be found in many of the stalls lining the bustling streets of the city. Many of the stalls specialize in one particular dish and serve the food on small tables with tiny blue stools that look like they belong in a child's playroom. A few dishes we tried were,  traditional beef noodle soup, Vietnamese barbecue, Banh Mi and lots and lots of spring rolls.

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When we weren't busy eating, we were exploring the streets of Hanoi. The heart of the city is the buzzing Old Quarter. The streets are narrow and congested with cars and motorbikes. The sidewalks are lined with shops, restaurants and cafes. The best way to get a feel of this chaotic city is to roam the streets taking in the sights, sounds and smells.

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If you're in Hanoi, taking a day trip to Halong Bay is a must. We only had time for a day trip but I would highly recommend doing an overnight cruise. The day we went to Halong Bay it was  a bit foggy with cooler temperatures. The bay had an ethereal beauty with the karst limestone islands peeking through the fog.

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Next stop, Thailand!