Dinah

Dinah Jefferies’ Silk Merchant’s Daughter Holiday

In 2015, Dinah Jefferies approached Experience Travel Group to organise her research trip for her next novel. Set in 1950s French Indochina, travel expert Nick tailor-made her an itinerary through Vietnam exploring the best silk workshops and colonial architecture to help her get a better understanding for the context of her story. Here Dinah provides a review of her trip, from exploring the capital Hanoi to exploring sleepy rural corners of the country.



hanoi

Hanoi at 1000 – Celebrations in October 2010

We left the busyness of Hanoi for a couple of days in Sapa. This mountainside retreat was originally built for the French as a cool getaway in 1922 and after some years of neglect has in recent years undergone a real revival and is now a key tourist destination in Northern Vietnam – and with good reason. You feel as though you have arrived in a different country, so alien is the climate. It was a welcome relief to actually feel chilly and to need to wrap up warm after the heat of Hanoi and Halong Bay. The town is a pretty place and with lots of nice restaurants and cafes, as well as its legendary Sunday market, it is a great place to wander around and spend a few hours.



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Hanoi and Halong Bay

Hanoi is a very different city to Bangkok. One of the first things you notice is the architecture which is very French in style. Shutters and balconies on tall thin buildings painted in vibrant colours. The other things you notice on the drive from the Airport are somewhat stereotypical. Numerous paddy fields and the Vietnamese “Non” hats made of palm leaves and bamboo. It takes you back to the movies!