Together with Sean Chua of SimpleChemConcepts.com we took a 9 days educational trip to Northern Vietnam, Hanoi.
It was an eye opener for us to be in the countryside, seeing terrace cultivation, outlines of mountains and mountains, experiencing the beauty of UNESCO world heritage site - Ha Long Bay. I did a video as well.
Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS5dL9j2iJo
It's a drastic change compared to city life. People's lifestyle in the Sapa villages are less developed, slower. Children there are seen to be playing with traditional games like marbles. They were left to play on their own by the streams, on the soil.
However, the first thing I was overwhelmed is the traffic in Hanoi city: endless honking of the motorcycles. We hardly use traffic lights to cross the busy roads, we simply walk across quickly. It's amazing how the locals travel around the busy roads. Traffic is a big part of our experience in Hanoi!
A common sight in Hanoi is that you will find locals, young and old sitting by the road side for a cup of tea, eating a bowl of noddles (known as 'Pho') or just catching up with one another. We have a few experiences too. You got to be willing to exchange air con with road side air and don't expect cleanliness that of Singapore!