Although we've enjoyed our travels in Vietnam, we had both agreed that this is probably not a country we'd probably ever return to visit. The main reason is that it's hard work getting constantly bombarded with requests to buy things or services and it got to feeling like everyone was on the "take". Clearly, people are just trying to make money, but it can get tiring and put us on the defensive.
Not wanting to come back may have changed for us after seeing Halong Bay. Loving the outdoors as we do, we can honestly say that Halong Bay is among the most spectacular landscapes we've ever seen. Pictures won't do it justice, but if you only visit one place in Vietnam, this should be it (in our humble opinions).
We'd booked a 2 night cruise on a traditional "Indochine Junk" called Red Dragon. The boat was beautiful, the food unbelievable (8 course lunches & dinners of seafood and veggies!) and we lucked out with our group - only 3 couples. The other two couples (Susan & George and Judy & Greg) happened to both hail from Melbourne, Australia and were delightful. Our group was laid back, funny and just ideal in every way. Apart from eating lots, we also had time (not quite enough) to kayak, swim and gaze out to the horizon - wanting to pinch ourselves because it was just that impossibly beautiful. A highlight was a morning kayak, swim and white-table-cloth bbq lunch enjoyed on a secluded beach. This was without question the highlight of our time in Vietnam.