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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 28th 2015

Hanoi day 1. In the Cathay Pacific lounge, waiting for the Dragon Air flight to Hanoi, I round a corner and run into Michael and Joni Marek, good friends friends from Hollywood.They are on their way to Saigon. Pretty good small world story. Who wudda thought? Lots of travel stuff, none of it unexpected and while memorable to us, probably not very interesting to others, but I’ll quickly summarize; brand new airport, lots of men and women in Vietnamese military garb (green uniforms with hats with the red stripe), but not carrying guns, evidence that this is a poor country as we rode from the airport to the hotel, and extraordinarily interesting traffic and driving customs. Our tour isn’t starting until today so we had the afternoon at leisure. After lunch by the pool at our ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 28th 2015

Hanoi Day 2 Being on a tour with a full-time guide means that one has a full day and misses none of the “important” sites. On the other hand, the guide's important sites may not be ours, but being that we didn't research this trip at all, we were at his mercy. Our day today started with a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. This is a really big thing here. There is quite a cult of personality and our guide, Tang, spouted the party line quite well. Apparently, Ho Chi Minh wanted to be cremated but since he founded communism int Vietnam, his body was the property of the state, just like everything else and they had other ideas. Communist countries liked their big mausoleums. They learned from Lenin’s and Mao’s that it’s a good ... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 24th 2015

I am very glad to be here. Images of the 'American' War were etched on my brain at a World Press Photography exhibition I went to as a school student in the seventies - you know the ones: naked children escaping napalm in front of impersonal US soldiers. I never thought I would visit the country back then. And when I lived in the US in the eighties and saw how it impacted so many families, Vietnam was still a war zone (disposing of Pol Pot). I could not have imagined the country ever opening up. Above all with this tainted view one could not have conceives how beautiful this country is. We started in Hanoi which people describe as hectic and quite frankly after Delhi is a rest cure. The Old Quarter streets are narrow ... read more
Egg and beer with a fellow Hanoi food tourer
A game of Chinese chequers in progress
Prayers at the central temple in Hanoi

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 23rd 2015

The arrival into Hanoi was a lot smoother than Bangkok, though the cheesy Asian music on the flight and the colder temperature (15C) were both a bit of a let down. However, getting 2000000 dong out of the atm was a major plus. First and probably only time of being a millionaire! We were advised by the 'Tourist information' centre, who shamelessly advertised extortionate tours, that the easiest way to the Old Quarter was to grab a minibus. So we jumped in with a non-english speaking Vietnamese man who charged us 40000 dong. We were one of the first in the van and so smelt a rat, but the bus steadily filled and off we went at tremendous speed and with the driver basically leaning on the horn the entire way. This horn action was to ... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 19th 2015

Hi everyone We hope you are well and managing to stay warm. Pleased to report that all's fine and dandy with us and we have had a truly wonderful time in Vietnam. Definitely a country worth adding to your list of places to visit. We have totally enjoyed the very warm and friendly hospitality of the Vietnamese people, gaining an insight into their fascinating culture, been blown away by the awesome scenery; soaring mountains, stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, emerald green rice paddies and bustling cities. To top it all off the food and drink has been fantastic. Following our little Christmas sorjourn in Mui Ne we caught a coach back to HO CHI MINH CITY where we spent New Year and got back into the swing of being travellers again. Boy this is one city on ... read more
Reunification Palace, HCMC
New Year's Eve, HCMC
New Year's Day, HCMC

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hai Phong January 14th 2015

Aaaaaah la baie d'Ha Long! Apres 5heures de voiture en quittant Ninh Binh, nous voila arrive au port pour embarquer sur notre bateau direction la Baie d'Ha Long. Le bateau appartient a Ethnic Travel: Nous sommes 8 a embarquer sur ce beau bateau en bois. Que de jeunes etrangers. Hugo et moi sommes recu seul pour un repas en tete a tete alors que le bateau quitte le port. Assez romantique j'avoue. nous arrivons au bout de 1.30 parmis les grandes formations rocheuses spectaculaires!. Nous redoutions le mauvais temps et une mauvaise visibilite, mais l;e temps etait splendide, et la mer calme. Le bateau jette l'encre et nous prenons des kayaks pour visiter une grotte. Sauf que le notre est casse et nous recuperons un gros canoe. On avait les fesses trempees et devions redoubler d'efforts ... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Ninh Binh January 13th 2015

Apres, de longues heures de routes, nous sommes arrives a Ninh Binh, au lodge de la compagnie d'Ethnic travel. Le lendemain matin, nous avons visitee les montagnes de Ninh Binh egalement appelee la baie d'along terrestre, en effet elle se caracterise par de grandes montagnes de marbres vegetalisees et isolees au pied desquelles s'etendent des lacs 9payage similaire a celui de la baie d'along. Nous avons pedalees parmi ces merveilles, classes a l'unecso et dejeune chez l'habitant (Notre hote qui a egalement gueri chloe, atteinte d'une severe otite, avec une mixture de gingembre et d'alcool de riz appliquee sur le visage, les bras, les mains et le dos a l'aide d'une piece percee. Nous avons serieusement doutes de ce remede qui a toutefois fait ces preuves quelques heures plus tard) puis nous avons repris la voiture ... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 12th 2015

This morning we were down for breakfast by 9am – whoops, had a bit of a sleep in. Breakfast was pretty good here with eggs, ham, fried rice, salad, toast, fruit, noodles, pho, juice, tea and coffee. After we finished we headed to “Hanoi Street Food Walking Tours” as recommended by a friend to book in a street food tour. We were greeted by our guide, Hien at 11am and set off on foot. Our first stop was to have Bun Cha – it was a absolutely delicious dish of soupy sauce with a pork pattie, pork belly, rice noodles, green papaya, carrot, lettuce and herbs. Yum, Yum, Yum!!! Next stop was “Papaya Salad Street”. This street is the shortest street in Hanoi and serves up the best Green Papaya Salad I have ever had. It ... read more
our hotel...Icon 36 was a great spot
Zav carrying some fruit like the local ladies
Barber shop on the street, Hanoi style..

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta January 11th 2015

Bonjour, Nous re-voila enfin apres quelques jours sans nouvelles (faute de connexions suffisantes). Nous avons donc entamesun circuit avec guide via une agence (ethnic travel), depart pris a notre hotel a hanoi. Notre jeune guide (qui se prenomme Hoan) nous mene dans une confortable voiture dans la campagne aux environs d'hanoi. Les decors changent radicalement, en passant d'une circulation chaotique, a de larges routes sinueuses, dans les montagnes et moins fequentees. Le temps de deguster quelques cannes de cannes a sucre (jus sucre tres frais) et nous voila repartis. Apres 4h de route, nous arrivons a Mai chau,village qui se situe dans une vallee entouree de montagne. Nous degustons un tres bon repas local (haricot/ spring roll/ legumes ...), puis enfourchons nos velos le temps d'une courte promenade au travers des rizieres non cultivee sous quelque ... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi January 10th 2015

Apres plusieurs reflexions sur notre prochaine destination, nous avons pris le parti de nous envoler vers Hanoi, et ce malgre une meteo moins clemente. A notre arrivee sur le tarmac de l'aeroport, c'est un ciel gris et pluvieux avec une temperature de 15 degres qui nous accueil. Nous rejoignons hanoi emmitoufles sous nos impermeables. Hanoi ressemble a ho chi minh, beaucoup d'agitation, une circulation tres chaotique, mais une population toujours tres accueillante et sympathique. Le temps humide et froid nous enrhume, on est un peu hs tous les deux. Nous decouvrons de nouveaux payasges, goutons a des plats locaux delicieux (soupe, porc sautes, cocktails lassi et des bieres a 5000 dong le demi : 19 cents d'euros !!!!!). Chloe se repere a merveille dans ce dedale de rue animee, j'avoue que j'ai un peu de mal ... read more
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Lac d'Hanoi
Breakfast




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