Islands.

My friend got to our hotel in Ho Chi Minh City at two in the morning. Before she got there, I booked a little day tour around Mekong Delta, and we’re scheduled to be picked up at seven in the morning. So what did two girls who haven’t seen each other in years do?

Of course we stayed up until the sunrise.

I was waiting with a pack of beer, bags of chips, and all the stories and gossip I could remember. We were exchanging stories all night, and while I was accompanying her on her smoke break, we noticed dusk slowly turning into dawn. The sounds of roosters greeting the morning sun was drowned out by the motorcycle engines passing by and the voices of drunk tourists and locals walking around with bottles of Tiger beer in their hands.

We stayed in District 1. The Backpacker District. That meant loud EDM music blasting until four or five in the morning. Crowds on the street, while scooters tried to weave their way through – hell, there was a minivan at one point, honking its way through this busy pedestrian area.

After deciding that it isn’t going to be a good idea to go through the day without resting at least for a bit, we took a quick 45-minute nap and ate pho for breakfast. Luckily the place we were going to was a bit of a drive from the city so we were able to sleep some more on the bus there.

It was my first time in Vietnam, and also my first time eating dragonfruit. The Malaysian women at our table were so confused when they heard me ask my friend what the “white dotted fruit” was. I honestly like watermelons better than this – at least melons have flavour. I devoured the mangoes though. Nothing can ever beat Southeast Asian mangoes… especially authentic Philippine mangoes.

At one point of the tour, we stopped at a coconut candy shop factory which also sold coconut wine and snake liquor. Yeah. Snake liquor. At a candy store. Why not, it’s Asia, they make their own rules.

One of the women who worked there offered a couple samples to the crowd, but only two men took the chance. Judging from their faces after taking the free shot, I will never drink from that pitcher of liquor filled with dead reptiles. No, thank you.

After a hectic two days and a half in Ho Chi Minh City’s crazy, busy, scooter-filled streets, we got on a plane that took us to beautiful Hanoi. The air felt colder, but more peaceful. The city centre was still busy, but not as crowded and intimidating as the country’s capital.

It wasn’t until a month before our actual trip that we’ve agreed to go to Hanoi. It was part of the original plan, but we quickly took it off the itinerary when we realized we might not have time for it, since we were already going to the islands in Thailand.

But if we kept it out of the itinerary, we would not have seen this beauty.

It reminded me a lot of the Hundred Islands of the Philippines. To be fair, a lot of this whole trip reminded me of the Philippines since it is in the same region of Asia. And a few annoying people on my Instagram kept commenting “Oh it’s just like the Philippines, you should have just gone here!”

No bud, what I should do on my trip you weren’t even considered to be a part of IS UP TO ME. I love that it’s a lot like the Philippines and how much it reminded me of the country I grew up in, but I would very much like to spend the same amount of money somewhere new. Bye. /endrant

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