Driving through the streets of Hanoi upon their arrival in Vietnam, Katie, Aimee and the Little Blue Backpack could barely hear themselves above the noise of moped and car horns. In fact, their time in Vietnam would almost always be accompanied by a soundtrack of beeping, they just didn't know it yet.
It is famous for making lanterns amongst many other things.
Little Blue liked that people seemed to be big fans of Vietnam already - with big stars on their t-shirts to show how much they loved it.The girls and LBB did lots of exploring in the busy capital, learning how to negotiate the crazy traffic by never stopping on a road and praying constantly that they would manage to hold on to their lives. There were lots of narrow streets with hidden treasures including this bright, post-it covered coffee shop.
The city was a great place for Little Blue to get his history cap: from the citadel ruins to little historical gems like a replica of a traditional "tube house" on Ma May Street.
Steps, steps, steps, everywhere.
There are even bunkers used in the American (Vietnam) War.
The Little Blue Backpack and his girls embarked on a new form of transport to get them to Hue, a city almost 700 kilometres away - a sleeper train! It was bumpy and noisy and not exactly the best night's sleep they'd ever had but it got them there safe and sound. Hue (pronounced like hey, hay, whoay hooayy) was much quieter than Hanoi but just as chock-a-block of history.
Little Blue was fed up of walking and decided the girls should treat themselves to a moped ride to see the sights.
So, with someone much more competent than them in the driver's seat, the girls got to explore almost everything Hue had to offer in one day.
From the Japanese bridge...
...to one of the various emperor's lavish tombs complete with protective stone army outside.
Hue also had its own citadel, or imperial city, which has been largely preserved over centuries. The sunshine really showed it off.
Next stop on the whirlwind tour was Hoi An - but how to get there? They'd ticked off speedboats, buses, taxis, planes and sleeper trains so there was only one thing for it...
Even if Little Blue had to be strapped to the front of the big ol' hog he still got to enjoy the spectacular views of the countryside... and Aimee...
There's them purdy views.
The crazy cool motorbike tour took them along the winding mountainous road to Hoi An. Probably one of the loveliest places they visited, it had an interesting ancient town, charming souvenir shops, the most delicious restaurants and beautiful white sand beaches.
After a leisurely week of cookery classes, beach days, cocktails and puddings the trio travelled on to Dalat. Here they explored the local area and everything this little town produced for the rest of Vietnam: flowers, weasel poo coffee (yes it's a real thing, luckily LBB didn't have to try any but the girls seemed to love it), the casual snack of fried crickets, and silk!
Little Blue paid a visit to a big blue happy Buddha friend.
The last place they visited on their tour of Dalat was called the "Crazy House". It opened in 1990 and is actually a guesthouse created by a slightly crazy lady - they imagine - called Đặng Việt Nga. LBB couldn't get his head around it; luckily the girls had a head for heights and a disregard for health and safety so happily trotted around.
A few days in Dalat had them missing the sea after their little taste of it in Hoi An, so they hopped aboard yet another bus and journeyed to Mui Ne. A tiny seaside down framed by incredible sand dunes.
Little Blue was rudely awoken one morning at about 4am and taken in a bumpy jeep ride to see the sun rise on the famous white sand dunes. It was glorious. A real Lion King moment.
Our little group continued the tour of Mui Ne to the "fairy stream". It was rather pretty, but in the end it was just a really long stream we could walk along.
Nice piccies though eh?
To end their glorious month in Vietnam, Katie, Aimee and the Little Blue Backpack spent a few days in Ho Chi Minh City - sometimes known as Saigon. According to Katie's photos... Little Blue didn't make much of an appearance out and about. However you can trust that he had a cracking time in the big city. They'd been warned they wouldn't like the noise and dirt of HCMC but as the city slickers that they are, they bloody loved it.
More tales to come...