Last month fourteen Purple Dragon staff and managers from four countries made the trip Vietnam's capitol. A few of us had not visited Hanoi for a long time. Some of us had never been there before. It is still one of the most colorful and exciting places we know.

Hanoi is a bewitching city that only improves with time. Trendy shops and restaurants have sprung up all around the city. Yet, the essential beauty of the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake never seems to change. The world's best breakfast is still served at the historic Metropole Hotel, and the "bia hoi" (fresh beer) found everywhere is still cheap and delicious. We did all of the tourist things of course, including visits to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature. The water puppet show was dazzling, even for those of us who have seen it twenty times before. Did we shop? Shopping is impossible to avoid in Hanoi, which has all kinds of handicrafts, from paintings to textiles and lacquer to jewelry.

Our overnight excursion to Halong Bay was the highlight. We had a big teak boat with ten private cabins all to ourselves.  What a place for a party! The seafood was fresh and the weather could not have been more perfect.

Unfortunately, any visit to Northern Vietnam always seems too short, so all of us plan to return soon. Won't you join us?

-- All of us at Purple Dragon
Visit Burma
Visit Cambodia
Visit Laos
Visit Thailand
Visit Vietnam
Visit China
Visit India

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Our Bangkok guide Woodie took the photo at the top.

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