Edit Blog Post
Published: March 10th 2023
We arrived in Hanoi after a gruelling 23 hours of travel time. We left Vancouver at 10 am and arrived in Hanoi at 11:05 pm but the time we spent on planes and sitting in Tokyo airport amounted to the 23 hours! Yikes! We slept well that night and got accustomed to the new time zone quickly.
In 3 short days we tried to capture the highlights of Hanoi; the Ethnology Museum, Tran Quoc Pagoda in West Lake, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, the One Pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature. Unfortunately we missed seeing the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton). The Ethnology Museum captured the history and ethnic background (54 recognized distinct ethnic groups in Vietnam) of this lovely country. The people we met were all so friendly and helpful. It was so quaint to see the Vietnamese sellers loaded down with their wares - carrying 2 baskets balanced on poles or strapped to their bicycles. They competed with the insane traffic that overwhelmingly had scooters overloaded with people and goods (see photos below)!
We are enjoying the Vietnamese cuisine and it is so much less expensive than Canada! A meal with a beer for
2 is typically about $40CAN. Wine is pricey - especially Chardonnay! So trying new drinks. The egg coffee (even if it sounds weird!) and the cold coconut coffee is to die for. "Bun Cha" restaurants offer this great Vietnamese dish for only $4 to $5 CAN!
The Pagodas and Buddhist Temples are so lovely and meticulously cared for. The Temple of Literature grounds were so beautiful. It is so peaceful and serene - what a perfect learning environment that dates back to the teachings of Confucious. Thankfully the Vietnamese filled the grounds with sand and built cement walls around the complex during the war to protect it from American bombing. It would have been such a loss to humanity and history if this place was destroyed.
Our timing was good as we caught the Saturday night market where a whole street was blocked off with a huge stage setup by Hoan Kiem Lake. We caught a great military band and strolled among a few of the numerous vendors. The next day we returned to walk around the lake and enjoy some wine from a 2nd floor restaurant. People watching was so much fun (see the girls posing on
their bicycles in the photo below)! There are always young students approaching you everywhere to practice their English. Ron was surrounded by a group of teens on his walk around the lake. They rewarded me with a rice doughnut for talking with them for a while!
We booked a two-day 1 overnight stay on the Halong Glory (Pelican) Cruise. What a lovely ship, built with varnished wood everywhere. Each room had a little balcony so that you could enjoy the ocean rushing by. But we spent most of our free time (which was very limited) on the top deck enjoying the Vietnamese sun! A very busy itinerary that left you feeling like you were on a much longer cruise. Hiked to the top of Ti Top hill (400+ steps) which offered an incredible view of that area of Halong Bay (see the 2 photos below). There are over 3000 islands towering over you as you sail through this lovely area. Sadly it was marred by garbage in the water. When swimming at Ti Top island the was cold and not too clean but I did it anyway. I also loved kayaking at the bay where we stopped to learn
about how cultured pearls are farmed. Next morning we visited this huge cave(s) that went on and on and on (completely developed with steps throughout) - but spectacular with incredible views from above (see last 3 photos) and it was only an easy 200 steps!
The drinks onboard were so incredibly expensive so we took advantage of the happy hour 2 for 1! We were very tempted to buy a bottle of Chardonnay off the lovely lady who rowed up to our ship with her boat laden with liquor and other goodies (see photo below). PLEASE NOTE: I WILL NOT be offended if you don't want to receive these email travelblogs, so please reply to email@example.com to opt out and I will remove you from the list. We all get way too many emails so I totally understand!
Tot: 0.192s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 9; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0705s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb