A Travellerspoint blog

Hanoi

sunny 29 °C

We ducked in and out of Hanoi using it as our base to travel around the north. We stayed in the old quarter which was bustling yet charming (for a while). However, we sampled the some of the delights on offer at the famous Fanny’s Ice Cream (they even have an ice cream plate which looks exactly like a sushi tray).

In all honesty, we’d take Saigon over Hanoi any day where we were always made to feel welcome.

Posted by JnKbigtrip 11.09.2011 21:13 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Halong bay

Via Hanoi

semi-overcast 25 °C

We shared a traditional style junk boat with 14 others to cruise around the magnificent Halong Bay. Being lucky with the weather we were able to spend much of the afternoon kayaking and jumping the 10m from the top deck into the water. John even decided that a couple of tips (and tipples) from a fellow passenger made a front somersault a smart move. To be fair, he nailed it.

We also visited a cave and even managed to catch a few (tiny) squid under the stars.

Posted by JnKbigtrip 11.09.2011 21:11 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Bac Ha

Via Hanoi

semi-overcast 19 °C

Bac Ha is a market town in the mountainous region of northern Vietnam very close to the Chinese border and the more frequently visited town of Sappa. Train being our preferred mode of transport we decided to stick with it even when we were informed at the station that only hard seating - the lowest class on offer - was available. Thinking back to our hardy days of travel aboard Indian busses hurtling along dirt tracks at 105km an hour we thought we could handle it – how wrong we were. We shared a miniature wooden park bench style seat for 10 miserable hours, felt terribly sorry for ourselves and quickly cancelled our return ticket upon arrival.

Our bad transport choices continued when we were wooed by a retro Russian motorbike on which we shuttered and stalled all the way up the mountain. Still, it looked good (when we weren’t kicking it by the side of the road).

We went to the Sunday Market along with a sprinkling of tourists to see the Montagnards who had come down from the hills to sell there wares.

Posted by JnKbigtrip 11.09.2011 21:09 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hoi An

sunny 30 °C

Hoi An is just lovely. It has it all, riverside cafes housed in French colonial buildings, vast stretches of rice paddies and a beach just down the road. We hired bicycles on the first day and went to the beach for a swim and a beer later watching sunset. We also drove to the Marble Mountains to see the caves and appreciate the spectacular view out over China Beach and Danang city.

We also had another opportunity to drink large quantities of Hanoi Vodka with Marcus, Guilleme and Frank having found them again. I still have only flashes of the drunken antics of the evening but remember the resulting hangover very well. The worst yet and for some reason we always do these things to ourselves when we have a mammoth journey ahead. Will we ever learn? No

Posted by JnKbigtrip 11.09.2011 21:03 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Nha Trang

sunny 31 °C

This is Vietnam’s no.1 seaside destination but instead of coconut trees and beachside huts this is a big city and a lot of the beach front is now covered with fancy resorts. Luckily for us there are still a lot of nice budget hotels just back a little from the front. We had amazing weather while there, it was well into the 30s everyday and we found it a very pleasant place to be, checking out the local markets and swimming on the lovely beach.

It’s a small world! I bump into a couple of friends whom we met in Thailand over a month earlier and it seems to shrink further as I meet the Irish lads we got to know in February during our stay in Goa. It’s fair to say few beers were shared and spilled!!

Posted by JnKbigtrip 11.09.2011 21:01 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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