Hanoi and Ha Long Bay

On 27 February 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

Arrived in Vietnam after 1 month in Myanmar and a connection in Singapore airport, I knew that I had to be efficient in this country having only 12 days there with a lot to see.

imageSo I put my bag in Hanoi at the Backpackers hostel which as it’s name says it, is full of backpackers with good advices. Except the great spirit and the cheap price, I met really fast one girl that I found after that in the street with 3 other travelers with who I finally spent all my time (Beth, Julia and Lola).

The 1st day, discover of Hanoi under the clouds and a small rain. But after 1 month of sun in Myanmar, I haven’t noticed these fresh temperatures which were actually pretty nice. So we went in the streets of the city, discovering the 36 streets area (each street having it’s own specialty), the market, the lake and its temple, the mausoleum, the different museums. In the middle if this, I discovered the local food with the girls just sitting in the streets on some small chairs and we had an excellent Pho, local noodle soup really famous. The evening, we tried another place and then went to the other hostel of the same owner to have some drinks (or how you can think you’re in a trendy bar of London or Paris with loads of fashion young people in the middle of the Vietnam, a real cultural chock for me after 5 months without seeing this!!!).

imageThe next morning, we planned a tour in the must-see place of this country, Ha Long Bay! We booked a tour with the Sinh Tourist agency (the real one, careful of the fake ones!!) for 2 days / 1 night on a boat. After 3h30 of bus, here we are at the harbor. We are 16 to stay on this boat Elisabeth. To join it, we take another small boat that we will also use to visit the caves.

When we get on the boat, we discover really nice rooms. After a short welcome speech, weimage leave in the Bay. Despite the huge number of tourists who visit this place, I find the place pretty peaceful with not so much boats on the sea. The season is not the best, it’s cloudy and raining a little bit but the closer we get to these rocks, the more it’s get calm and beautiful around us. There is no fog so the view is really nice. So then I discover this fabulous place, wen if you see thousands of pictures of it, this is nothing compared to the reality really impressive! Of course I’m pretty sure it’s even better with a nice sun and a blue sky compared to the fact that I was with my coat but I really appreciated every single minute of it seated on the boat, upstairs, watching everything with silence and having fun with the girls!
At around 3:30pm, we stopped to visit the “surprising cave. Inside, it’s true, some nice things to observe, especially with the lights that they put but because of all the tourists inside, I didn’t really appreciate it. On another hand, there is one real interest to this cave: the view on Ha Long Bay! You can recognize the famous posts cards…
imageOn the cave we started to hear some discussion that turned true when we came back on the boat: ba news, a small typhoon was coming from China on the Bay so the boats couldn’t stay there for the night and everybody had to go back to the harbor to sleep in a hotel. The next morning, we were supposed to take another small boat to go into the Bay and do some kayak into some other caves. But after a quick thought, we all agree that the sea will probably be too hard to do some kayak or at least to appreciate it (if we can make it!) so we decide to go back to Hanoi. Everyone on the boat chose me as the speaker for the group between the agency and the tourism office to obtain some more refund and see what options we had. After one hour on the phone with different people, I have everyone’s agreement for what they want to do. 13 are coming back to Hanoi, the other 3 stay. Small deception but we forget about it when we turn in the radio and listen to -M- on RTL2, one of my favorite French singer, really nice surprise that we share all together by having fun. This story finally got us closer at final and we shared a lot. So we end by laughing with each other, sharing some food, singing and eating. It was really cool on te minibus, everybody was happy and at final I got a better refund for everyone. So the 4 of us got back to the hostel and we got a nice diner with a hot chocolate for me (thanks Lola!) to thank me. Great day, nothing can change this world wonderful that I saw today, no matter the change of plan!
So it was not planned but new day in Hanoi before going to Hue. After a big breakfast, we goimage with the girls discovering the French quarter (which is only French by the name and some fancy shops as Cartier!) and another lake. We go to a coffee, eat in the street, chat, we hang out… An that’s already the time for me to eave them…but knowing that I’m gonna see them again one day! I go back to the hostel to play piano for a hour, after 5 longs without playing it’s quite pleasant, and let’s go to the bus to Hue with an Israel / Italian couple met in the boat the day before.
A great beginning in Vietnam for me :)

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