Xin chào Vietnam by Anke Nunheim

The land of the rising dragon with its lush green hillsides, beautiful coastlines, dynamic cities and multifaceted culture was shaped by many influences and devastating conflicts, thus one can encounter traces of this turbulent history everywhere. And if you’ve expected something like a Thailand holiday, you’re mistaken.

I found a country between capitalism and communism, Chinese influence in the north, Indian and Hindu culture with Cham temples in the south. The business-minded and even indestructible inhabitants are always up for a joke and welcome you with charm and frenzied hospitality, although I was never sure if they just laughed with me or at me. It was the tumultuous and sympathetic capital Hanoi, also called ‘the old lady in the north’ which deeply impressed me. There I tried to cross a 10-lane road with Buddhist serenity, while anarchy, and the right of the loudest honking ruled and where I found myself surrounded by meters high towering structures on scooters. Early in the mornings I fell out of bed to join grandmums and -dads between the noisy bustle for the morning tai chi in the park. I sailed through the beautiful Mekong Delta and the bizarre limestone formations of Halong Bay. The Delta was still fogged while we glided by the unreal and ghostly landscape on a Duschunke. Thanks to the currency of Vietnam (Dong) you can quickly become a millionaire, stumble upon the best cuisines in the world along the way and drink a proper scorpion or snake liquor afterwards. Dzô! Here are my pictorial impressions from my trip cross-country.

Text & pictures by Anke Nunheim