Compression socks anyone?
Today we flew from Utah to Seattle to South Korea and finally ended up in Vietnam. Yes, 25 hours of flying and we finally made it! The airplane food was surprisingly decent, and got us in the mood with some rice and chicken. I think my legs might be swollen for the next year. FYI if you ever travel to Vietnam make sure you get your VISA situation all figured out before you travel, because they are hecka strict. Walked out of the plane and into 100% humidity. GOOD MORNING VIETNAM. (actually it is night here, but still confused #jetlag)
Day 1: Hanoi, Vietnam
Today was like Thanksgiving dinner, but Vietnam style. We ate just as much as we walked. We explored the city (almost got hit by 1,000 cars and scooters) and luckily none of us got killed. There are no sidewalks in downtown Hanoi, and cars do not stop for pedestrians. Today most of us melted like popsicles on a hot fourth of July day. It was, no joke, 106 degrees plus 100% humidity. YEAH. Our photographer and videographer, Jake and Andrew were so sweaty they looked like they just took a shower! We finally broke down and bought some exotic fans so we wouldn’t pass out. From banana plant fields, to old bridges, temples, to night markets we did it all. Think we are gonna be fit after this trip because we walked more than the pioneers. Oh, and of course we took 2 million photos, because we are instagrammers. We ate some pretty cool things today including: egg coffee, pho, rice, rice and more rice. Also GUESS WHAT? We got to buy turtles and released them into the bay for good luck. Hopefully, that luck will bring some rain. Because HOLY MOLY it is hot here.
Day 2: Road trip to the Ba Vì Mountains
NO SLEEP because we just had to get up to go to the Hanoi flower market at 5:00 a.m., and man was it worth it. It was so amazing to see all the variety of flowers and the amount. Then we jumped on the bus for a three hour road trip to the mountains. Let me just tell you, the drive was stunning, but nothing was more entertaining than watching Suzy Shuttack, Mallory on the Moon, and Courtney Steves get cray cray on the bus. Everywhere we looked would’ve made a beautiful photo. We stopped for lunch in a local village and ate some rice, banana salad, and more mystery food that I can’t remember the name of. We arrived at our INCREDIBLE five-star resort, the Emeralda, in Ninh Bình (NING BING). Ninh Bình. Ninh Bình. Ninh Bình. Say that 10 times and you’ll be happier than when you started. We ran through some lily pad fields snapped 1,000 more pics and headed over to the river to raft through the peaceful mountains. Let’s just say the pictures and drone shots we got here were so epic. Almost as epic as the number of mosquito bites we received. By the end of the night we were exhausted and all we wanted was french fries. Good thing the restaurant we went to let us eat rice and french fries. That night, after editing and sharing photos with all our influencer friends till 2:00 a.m., we walked back in the dark. And a little creepy snake greeted us on our pathway. Thank heavens for iphone lights.
Day 3: Bich Dong Pagoda & Dragon Mountain
Today was epic, and probably our favorite day. We gave all our friends some polaroid cameras and we spent the entire day exploring the mountains and beautiful pagodas. Define pagoda: a Hindu or Buddhist temple or sacred building, typically a many-tiered tower, in India and East Asia. Bich Dong (pronounced Bitch Dong hahaha) was incredible. The word serene doesn’t describe the views. All of these buildings were breathtaking, but the backdrop and scenery surrounding it seemed fake. There were a lot of people here, so taking photos was hard. We had to wait a lot to get the perfect photos, but trust me, we did. Then we travelled through some beautiful rice paddy fields to Dragon Mountain. Man, 500 steps STRAIGHT UP the mountain. These influencers were LITERALLY hiking in sandals (some in platforms) and dresses for 500 steps. Remember how I said we were getting way fit? Well this was game time. If we weren’t already super sweaty for the photos, this did the trick. But the view at the top of the mountain was breathtaking. We sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” took 2 million pictures and headed back down. I’m pretty sure the other people there thought we were pretty self-absorbed because we literally took thousands of pics in the same spot. The bus was quiet tonight because literally no one had energy.
Day 4: Pu Luong Retreat
Back on the bus heading to the jungle!!! WAHOO. This time Suzy attempted to do the splits on the bus, that was quite a site to see. Most of us got car sick today because we literally were doing switchbacks and going 60 mph up a mountain for like 3 hours. So that was fun (said sarcastically). But again, so worth it. The resort we stayed in was a DREAM. We overlooked rice paddies and had an infinity pool with a view of the paddies and the gorgeous mountains. There were frogs croaking, mosquitoes biting and a whole lot of laughs. The food was delicious, and it really felt like we were in the middle of the jungle. We all got super muddy as we explored the rice fields (some of us fell in the mud trying to get the perfect shot) and we swam in the infinity pool. We had to dodge a tractor while we were taking photos because HELLO we are in rural Vietnam. The views were so stunning and gorgeous I had to slap myself to remember it was actually real. That night the POWER WENT OUT! We didn’t have any way to charge our phones/laptops/had no wifi. This is every influencers NIGHTMARE! Much worse, if you wanted to get back to your bungalow you literally couldn’t see a thing, it was thick darkness so again--iphone flashlights for the win!!
Day 5: Back to Hanoi
What goes up, must come down. Back on the bus for some more whiplash and car sickness, but man we had fun. We made it back to Hanoi and bought a bunch of cool things at the night markets and ate more delicious food. Some of us got massages, some of us got tattoos. But most of all we realized that we were all new best friends. Although the trip is coming to an end, everyone is stoked with all the new photos/content they got and all the new friends they made.
Back on the plane, back to the future 20 hours travel this time but we didn’t miss a day. We had to literally run from our Vietnam/South Korea transfer because we only had 30 minutes. BUT WE MADE IT. Everyone was so exhausted, we could barely stay awake for an hour of the flight. Jet-lagged but happy we made it back. :)