Sunday, January 24, 2010

When a Friend Moves to a New Country, Go Visit: Phllippines and Vietnam

My friend moved to the Philippines a few years ago. She was unsure if anyone from the States would travel 24 hours to come see her. As I was planning my summer vacation, I thought to myself- what perfect opportunity. When your friends move to a new country- it is a great way to get to know a new place. Sometimes it is not the place you were planning on visiting next. You should ignore your rigid plans and follow your friends. They have an insider's view of a country that you may miss when traveling on your own or even with a tour group!

I flew into Manila. We toured a couple of days in the capital together in order for me to adjust to the time difference and lost of a day! We went to the old city, a couple of malls, the movies, an organic market, and her favorite restaurants in Manila!

We then decided to travel to Hanoi, Viet Nam. A 2 hour flight from the island. We flew in and stayed in a small hotel in the center of town, close to everything. We were in walking distance to a park with a lake, museums, shops of all kinds and tons of galleries! We ate pho, visited Ho Chi Minh's art museum and history museum. We then took a tour of the many contemporary art galleries that are filled with beautiful pieces of art! We even saw a traditional puppet show.

We then wanted to take a tour of Ha Long Bay. We took a boat out into the bay for a couple days. Went swimming, hiked into caves, and visited a national park preserved by UNESCO. We ate delicious sea food the entire time and even watched, Indochine at night on the boat.

Upon our return to the Philippines we headed to an island called: Boracay. We got there in a middle of a typhoon (aka hurricane)! We read our books in hammocks. Before the storm cleared we spent the day at a delicious spa retreat down the road called Mandala Spa. When the rained ceased we swam and walked the white, sandy beaches.

You want a unique trip? Visit Viet Nam and the Philippines. If your friend moves to a new city or country- plan a vacation to visit them. It won't disappoint!

How far have you traveled to visit a friend? Post it here!

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