Today I’m writing to you from a lovely beach city named Hoi An in the middle of Vietnam. I’m sitting on our hotel room’s balcony, listening to the birds chirp as the sun goes down. A group of young boys are playing soccer in the street and Kristina is inside the nice air-conditioned room. I don’t blame her… It is HOT here! The temperature is around 100° F (38° C) with the real feel around 110° F (43° C) due to the humidity and sun.
You might recall from the last Our Journey update that we were deciding where to go next. Well, we decided to skip Laos. It would have been nice to see another country, but that’s not our purpose. We are here to uncover the best and that takes time.
In fact, we are going to use this post to help you understand why Off Path Travels stands out from the crowd. And that has a lot to do with our travel style and our commitment to staying true to ourselves and you, our audience.
If you’re here and like our work, please consider supporting our mission by becoming a Patron of Off Path Travels. We just launched this and couldn’t be more excited to connect with you on a deeper level. For less than the cost of a Chipotle burrito, we can continue to bring you unbiased material. Plus you can get some great insider-only content! Check it out!
Gaining More By Doing Less
Does it sound weird for travel bloggers to admit skipping a country, as we did with Laos? Aren’t we supposed to be going to 100 countries within 100 days or something ridiculous like that?
Nope. Not us. And we think it’s vital to take this approach.
You see, when you visit our pages and read our blog posts, we want you to KNOW that you’re getting great information. Sure, we could just pop around to the top Instagram or TripAdvisor locations. But does that really bring much to the table?
We think not. Instead, we have made it a priority to spend as much time as we need in each location to discover the real side of life here. To uncover the places that stand out from the rest. To go beyond other bloggers and TripAdvisor forums, finding unique areas to visit when you come.
And that’s why we spent a month in Chiang Mai, Thailand, then skipped Laos, and will be in Vietnam for more than 3 weeks. By doing less, we can bring you more.
First Impressions of Vietnam – Staying True to Ourselves
We left Thailand and flew directly to Hanoi, Vietnam. The capital of the country with a long history and a vibrant, busy city center. We stayed in the heart of it all – Old Quarter – and had a blast.
The horns were never-ending. Sidewalks are full of small cafes and a million scooters. And life moves quickly here. One moment it’s quiet and calm. Then a keg gets tapped in the street, a band pops up out of nowhere, and the street fills with dancing tourists.
We saw many sights in Hanoi and discovered a lot of great places which we can’t wait to share with you. Then we went to Cat Ba Island.
Here, we learned another lesson. We thought Cat Ba might be a bit different than nearby Ha Long Bay, which is infamously touristy.
Unfortunately, we arrived right when the Vietnamese schools were let out of school for summer break and discovered that Cat Ba transforms from a sleepy fishing town in the winter to a full-scale tourist hotspot in the summer. Packed to the brim. We also saw some other issues we’ll address in more thorough posts about the area, so we spent a quick three nights in Cat Ba and moved on.
And that was good for us. We want to make sure we stay true to presenting the real side of things. And without being too optimistic nor pessimistic. We’re not trying to sell you on some false story. Sometimes we will stay a long time and other times we’ll leave quickly. We’ll move on once we know what we have to say.
We are now in Hoi An, a wonderful beach community that’s about halfway down Vietnam’s long coastline. We’ve decided to spend about two weeks here to dive in deep. This is a place worth telling others about and we can’t wait to tell you why in posts dedicated to it.
New Levels of Traffic and Business
People from over 60 countries visited OffPathTravels.com in the last 30 days! How neat is that? This traffic keeps us motivated and helps us make major decisions about where to go from here.
Some blogs take the easy road: they sell out. Put as many ads up as possible, sell any product that will pay them to list it, and start cranking out clickbait blog posts.
That is not us. That’s where our Integrity Pledge comes into play. In short, we are committed to being honest and truthful to you. You’ll be able to read more about this on our About section in the near future.
The absolute best way for us to do this is for more people to join our recently-launched Patreon page. Show your support by becoming a Patron and help us continue to search for the best of the best on a full-time basis, without having any bias at all. Plus, you’ll get a lot of insider-only content and information through the Patreon page.
Please consider becoming a Patron for Off Path Travels!
Time for us to head down the street to old town Hoi An for a quick meal for under $2 USD! Then we’ll be up early to take some awesome sunrise photos on the beach and spend the rest of the day tucked away in the hotel room (away from the heat), typing away to bring you the best of the best in travel.
Until next time,
Kristina and Michael