I finally had a vacation after months of just work and no holiday.
We were scratching our heads on where to go before we chose Hanoi as our next destination because Ha Long Bay, voted as one of the 7 wonders of nature is nearby there. We saw pictures of the place and decided that was where we needed to go for a break.
Airasia is the normal airline to go for budget flights but unfortunately, Airasia only has 1 flight per day and it's 6am in the morning =.=
So we had no choice but to go to Skyscanner to choose for better flights.
Vietnam Airlines is a bit more expensive but at least it flies later. However, there's only 1 flight and it's at 7pm meaning we lost a day in Hanoi just for transportation.
Oh well, it's okay because it's the most convenient and we reached Hanoi Noibai Terminal 2(International) safely. There's food and free flow of drinks(include alcohol) served as well =)
As for airport transfer, we heard many stories about taxi drivers cheating passengers at the airport by charging way higher so we decided to arrange with our hotel for airport transfer. We stayed at Old Quarter, Hanoi which is the city centre place and where most tourists stay and the taxi costs 18USD.
The hotels at Old Quarter were very cheap. You can stay for less than RM100 per night. Although it's cheap but the accommodation are good and if you managed to get a good hotel, it's great value for money! And since it's at Old Quarter, everything is there.
It was already late at night when we arrived so we managed to just walk around the streets for awhile and get some supper. And you will realise that cars honk each other like there's no tomorrow and you can never cross the streets if you wait for the cars to stop. You will have to just cross and the cars are supposed to avoid you and bear with the honk sounds from day to night LOL
The next day, we were off for our trip to Ha Long Bay very early in the morning. We have also pre booked the tour and they came to our hotel to pick us up. The bus took 3 and a half hours to reach the port where we will need to take a boat. The bus driver was really reckless and I guess all drivers there are reckless =.= Sitting in the bus can be really scary lol
We reached the port and took the boat to our ship. It's my first time in a cruise for 2 days 1 night =)
Glory Legend ship for the night.
We paid 115USD each for the cruise.
The room was not bad.
The view from our room's window.
After checking in, we had a welcome drink and lunch was served.
Vietnamese springroll among other Vietnamese food.
At the upper deck, you can see gorgeous scenery of thousands of limestone in Ha Long Bay.
The itinerary for the day includes a boat ride to a nearby fishing village,
We took a boat ride around the fishing village and this is where you can see the limestone much nearer and clearer.
Fishermen literally just stay in their small hut surrounded by water. Must be really hard to get daily groceries if they need it.
Then you could kayak around as well but you need good co-ordination with your partner to kayak hehe
You could take your own sweet time kayaking around to really take in the beautiful scenery!
Night activities include teaching us how to make Viernamese springroll.
Fried Vietnamese springroll.
At night, after dinner, it's free and easy and you could go to the upper deck and chat around with newly made friends in the cruise and enjoy just sitting on a ship surrounded with limestone. There's also squid fishing and some movie screening if it interest you. The people there were very friendly and there's some happy hour promotion so you can have drinks while chatting. Only thing was mineral water was not cheap on board and we didn't bring our own water bottle so purchasing it on board was quite pricey. Further, they have 4 seasons and this time around is the end of summer/early autumn. The weather was still very humid and we were sweating most of the time >.< I think the best time would be around winter in Nov/Dec.
The next day, we did some tai chi exercise at 6am in the morning.
After breakfast, we went to visit a cave.
We had to walk 400 steps but some are big steps so it was okay haha
Once you go up, you can't go back down because going down is using a different way. So, it's important to not back down halfway.
The cave was very beautiful and it was H-U-G-E.
Sometimes, I wonder how these natural wonders managed to be such gorgeous creations. Truly a work of art from God.
After lunch, we checked out and took the boat back to the port and bus back to Hanoi. Another reckless driving journey but nevertheless reached Old Quarter, Hanoi safely. At night, there's a street market around so we explored the market and ate so much!
Korean street food in Hanoi haha
Banh Mi basically something like Subway with pork.
Pho which is Beef Noodles. I really love this and it's their staple food. The soup is yummy!
Vietnamese Coffee. Definitely not my cup of coffee because it's super thick and super sweet.
Bia Hanoi aka Hanoi beer. Very cheap! Cheaper than some food there.
Then we walked to the Lake which was also nearby.
Shops which looked like a ship hehe
We went to a rooftop skybar and had drinks there.
My lemonade smoothie was so refreshing after a humid day!
The traffic in Hanoi is just noise pollution LOL
We had a really good time in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. 4 days 3 nights were just nice because we managed to see what we wanted and ate what was the most famous there. Just be careful of the traffic there and when crossing the road and probably the best time to go for a cool weather would be the end of the year. I find Vietnamese people are not that friendly. Vietnamese Airlines have the most unfriendly air stewardess LOL
But going to Hanoi without going to Ha Long Bay is like not going there at all.
So be sure to visit Ha Long Bay even if it's just for a day trip.