It has been a while since I’ve written about any of my travels. But as they say, better later than never, right?
After volunteering in Vietnam as an english teacher, I continued my adventures nearby Hanoi and had so much fun with one of my friends, who came over for holidays.
First day was spent mainly between the shopping streets of the Hanoi Old Quarter. It offers French-colonial architecture, a rich food culture and a long history.
I loved the way the streets were organised. There were separate shopping streets for toys, clothes, home supplies, jewerly etc. However the flower section was a bit odd, as I couldn’t find any real flowers, they were all plastic.
Eventually we made it to Dong Xuan Market, which reminded me the shopping streets of China. You can buy there everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Except the only problem is that you can’t really bargain with vietnamese. They will not chase you between the streets and convince you to buy their products. I guess the culture is a bit different here.There’s also a problem with english, it took me a while to explain sellers that I’m looking for bikinies.
Make sure you travel to Vietnam when it’s a bit cooler and not as humid as it was in September. But as it wasn’t my first week in Vietnam, I was already used to sweaty face and clothes but I really can’t imagine how those people are living there.
Otherwise I really loved all the food they were selling on the streets, happy faces and kind gestures. The vibe of Hanoi is warm and welcoming.
Evenings are really romantic in Hanoi and you should definitely have a walk by the river nearby the Old Town. There’s heaps of couples enjoying their little snack and wine just near the river, photoshoots taken of just married vietnamese and random students in search of tourists to whom they could practice a bit english. At first I thought they are just trying to sell sth but turned out that this is just an ordinary thing there. Vietnamese really want to practice their english and they find that the best way to do it, are tourists on the streets, who have plenty of free time anyway.
Another great thing to see is Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. Just make sure you buy the tickets a couple of hours or even one day before the show as they get sold out pretty fast. It’s a really unique show with a pool full of water on the stage where the whole action takes place.
There’s many museums and places worth to see in Hanoi but due to the humidity and limited time we had to make a choice. Tuk-tuk ride to the Temple of Literature was challenging in this traffic as it really didn’t make any sense how these people survive on these roads. But luckily, we did.
Halong Bay is sth everyone wants to see in Vietnam. It’s a beautiful natural wonder in northern Vietnam near the Chinese border. The Bay is dotted with 1600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1500 sqkm. Sound pretty amazing, and yeah, it’s worth it! I did some research before buying the ferry tickets and everything. Turned out that Cat Ba island is located nearby Halong Bay and has tours with pretty much the same views. The only difference is the price. You will pay way less for the ferry, bus and accommodation.
I really enjoyed our trip to this small island. The best way to get most out of it, is to rent a scooter and drive all way through the national park and mountains.
Don’t forget to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets at Canon Fort. It take around half an hour to walk up the hills, but the view is totally worth it!
Kayaking is a must thing to do if you want to see all these limestone islands. We booked our tour with Asia Outdoors. It was a bit more expensive but worth each penny. The staff spoke fluent english, the tour included history and facts about the floating villages. There’s around 50 families who have been living in these houses based on the water for hundred of years with fishing as the main income activity. Those that live there rarely even need to visit the mainland and they even have small school.
After Cat Ba island we planned to see the rice fields and village life in Sapa. But unfortunately I had to change my plans and postpone my Asia trip to the near future.
Still, I’ve made a lot of research about all the other great places to see in Vietnam. So don’t hesitate to ask, I will always be here for you.
Thank you my lovely readers!