Exploring Asia

Posted July 26, 2017

Hi all, I’m sharing some photographs and highlights from my recent trip to Asia. I visited Beijing, China in late May, then we traveled to Hanio, Halong Harbor, Danang and Hoi An in Vietnam. Asia was not necessarily on my bucket list, but I loved it and would love to go back someday. I found the people gentle and warm, the food fresh and good and the shopping fantastic! It was hot, so I’d recommend going at a cooler time of year, but we had a great time anyway.

Forbidden City, located in the center of Beijing, China

This is one of the many places at the Forbidden City, located in the center of Beijing, China.



Anne at Forbidden City, located in the center of Beijing, China


Forbidden City, located in the center of Beijing, China


Forbidden City View

View of the Forbidden City from the nearby hill in the park.

Great Wall, China

We drove a couple of hours outside of Beijing to hike the Great Wall in a more remote area.


Great Wall, China


View from one of the many towers of the Great Wall, north of Beijing

View from one of the many towers of the Great Wall, north of Beijing


Beijing Highlights:

  • Transport – Cars and scooters and everything in between! Lots of electric vehicles, so it’s quiet.
  • Metro/Underground – The people all dress nicely, trains come every 2 minutes, there is always a bike waiting at the other end.
  • People – gentle and respectful
  • Food – incredible variety, fresh ingredients
  • Shopping – OMG, you can buy anything! We both had glasses made in about an hour for less than 10% of what we usually pay.
  • Forbidden City – Wear comfortable shoes – it’s bigger than you think!

Hanoi, Vietnam

Female fruit seller in Hanoi

The Vietnamese work very hard. This is a typical female fruit seller in Hanoi. Most people work from about 8 am to 10 pm.

Rope shop in Hanoi

Shops in Hanoi and elsewhere are often categorized and located by the items they sell. Here is a shop that sells only rope.

Dried Mushroom shop in Hanoi

This shop specializes in dried mushrooms.

Thread shop in Hanoi

Thread shop.

Locals sitting on street in tiny chairs

The locals eat on the street and sit in tiny chairs. The food is extremely fresh. Fresh produce is purchased twice daily.


Scooters are the transport of choice – very loud!

I’ve never seen spathiphyllum growing like this! I have 2 of these “peace lilies” as house plants.

This is a beautiful park around Hoam Kiem Lake. They close off the surrounding roads on weekends and locals stroll the park area.

View from our hotel overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake in central Hanoi. Apricot Hotel.


Hanoi Highlights:

  • Beautiful lake and parks
  • People – Very hard working – they eat and nap at their stalls. They are friendly and amazingly have  “moved-on” from the Vietnam war which they call the American war.
  • Transport – The motorcycles are loud! Miraculously, they don’t hit you when you cross the road!
  • Shopping – Even less expensive than China.
  • Must visit – Vietnamese Womens Museum – This covers the war, modern day working women, religious sects and traditions (many seem quite primitive but are practiced today).

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Its amazing the progress made over night on construction projects using only the most rudimentary of tools.



This is beautiful Halong Bay.



Overnight cruising is the best way to see Halong Bay.


Ha Long Bay Highlights:

  • Must See – Take a higher end cruise – it’s worth it!

Hoi An, Vietnam

Daily market in Hoi An.

Selling shrimp.

Live roosters too!

They make these beautiful silk lanterns in Hoi An. They also make beautiful custom clothing overnight.

Local boats at the river in Hoi An.

Night time strolling.


Hoi An Highlights:

  • Shopping – Bring photos of an outfit and have it made for a fraction of the cost at home. The seamstresses are VERY good! Prices are LOW on almost everything – clothing, luggage, camping gear, etc.
  • Eating – The indoor market is a great place to get fantastic smoothies and other fresh items
  • People – Very friendly

Danang, Vietnam

This is the beach in front of our beautiful hotel in Danang, Melia Danang.


The pool at Melia Resort. This resort was an incredible value.


Danang Highlights:

  • Resorts – Beautiful, new and a great value
  • Beaches – Beautiful but can be mixed areas that are not as cleaned up.


Must Read: Last Night I Dreamed of Peace, the diary of Dang Thuy Tram


This is a diary of a young female Vietnamese doctor, Dang Thuy Tram, who went to the south to run a clinic to support the war effort. It took her months just to get to the south. This is her actual diary and has heartfelt prose that communicates very different perspective of the war.






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