Thang from Vietnam was chosen as the "Win back your trip" winner. He visited Cuba with his parents for just 3 days. He won back the cost of his trip for posting a video on Instagram. Being a filmmaker, he took some great video footage of this colourful country. Read his account of the trip below with a sample of his stunning photography.
I've been away from home since I was 14. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to travel all over the world, from all over Asia, to New Zealand, Europe and America. But nowhere in the world was quite like Cuba.
My folks came to visit in Atlanta this previous March and my mum had always wanted to go to Cuba. We're from Vietnam so historically, the Cubans played a pretty big role in our politics. At the core of it, we were just super excited to be able to visit a country that's been less than accessible to the world for the last few decades.
And it was like hopping on a time machine to travel back to a different time. Being a filmmaker, I feel as if I walked on a cinematic movie set of a period piece. The people and culture remind me a lot of Hanoi, Vietnam, where I grew up, chaotic but incredibly warm-hearted.
My friend Sophia went several weeks before and had told me to find a homestay there as that was the best way to get to know the locals, the culture of the country. So I did after finding the Homestay website. Oscar, the guy that I stayed with, is such a cool, kind human.
Oscar and Vivian
We arrived in Cuba in the utmost hectic way, we lost our luggage, missed our ride, not being able to find our accommodation for a good hour. But as soon as we found the place, the rest of the trip was just an easy ride. We got to see Havana in all shapes and sizes, we found the luggage with the tremendous help from Oscar and his family. I cannot not mention mama Coco (that's what I call her), we have a language barrier but we bonded in a very special way. She is the sweetest human. They cook breakfast, dinner for us and nothing like the homemade food from mama Coco. It feels like home.
Our trip was short but stacked with fun and warm experiences and we owe that experience to the people we stayed with.
"It's always the people who make a place special. I can't wait to go back there."
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