Hey guys welcome back to my YouTube channel, it’s Madi here, featuring Sammi.
To start off student directed travel, we had to wake up bright and early to catch a sleeper bus to Hoi An. The bus ride took us 13 hours and we arrived at our hostel later that evening. After a group dinner Claire, Audrey, Bryley and Harrison went to the night market where they got gelato.
The next day, we had a free morning to explore the city. Hoi An is known for tailoring so Paulina, Claire and Kylie bought custom dresses and Joe got a custom leather jacket. In the afternoon, the group went to Marble Mountain while Sammi and Madi stayed back to explore the lantern market and work on their presentations. The hostel we stayed at provided family dinner and the group attended. The food was way better than anyone imagined.
The next day, we took a 6 hour train ride and an hour long bus ride to Phong Nha. During the bus ride, we sang Christmas songs and Bryley and Paulina taught us the dreidel song. On the 28th, we took a beautiful boat ride to the Phong Nha cave and the Thien Son cave, which had 500 steps to the top. Harrison thoroughly enjoyed the caves. On the way down Claire, Kylie and Madi saw monkeys.
We headed to the airport to catch our flight to Hanoi. We ended up having ramen at the airport as our Thanksgiving dinner. After a flight and a bus ride, we got to our hostel late that night. The next day we took 2 buses and a boat to our hostel on Cat Ba Island in Halong Bay.
After settling in, Audrey, Sammi and Madi did their final presentations for PSU classes. Later that night, everyone got dressed up for a belated Thanksgiving dinner. At dinner Paulina and Madi planned a gratitude activity, where everyone got in their feels. Everyone went back to the hostel to get a good night’s rest before waking up early the next day for a cruise.
Our first stop on the cruise around Halong Bay was a floating fish farm. With Kate being a fish lover, she had so much fun at this stop. We also had two swimming stops, where everyone jumped in off the boat. We also had an hour and a half kayaking tour through caves. Joe and Harrison destroyed Sammi and Madi by splashing them with their paddles. Lucas’s love of rocks really came through while cruising through the rocky islands. The whole day on the boat Bryley was freezing. (To Bryley’s mom: Bryley would like to formally apologize for making fun of you for being cold all these years. She now understands completely. The world is an icebox.) After the cruise, everyone was pooped and got a quick dinner then stayed in and watched movies.
To start the month of Christmas and Hanukkah off, we left Cat Ba island and headed back to Hanoi. Since there is a lot to do in Hanoi, the rest of the day was a free for all. Claire and Bryley went to the Women’s Museum, while everyone else explored the city and bought souvenirs.
On the last day of student directed travel, we got a mini tour of the city while walking to the Hoa Lo prison. To end our day we attended a water puppet show and had our final group meeting.
We are all so grateful for the connections we have made and everything we have experienced on this trip. We want to say thank you to our families for loving and supporting us and to Kate and Lucas for all of the hard work they have put into this semester.