Vietnam has been amazing! As good as the other countries have been, it will be tough to top the “foodie” tour we did in Ho Chi Minh City. This time, we have about 70 pictures to post (and that’s after removing some and not including the water camera.)
So we arrived late in Hanoi and took a taxi straight to the hotel. It was located in the old quarter, right in the midst of all the action. Anticipating an early morning, we showered and went to sleep.
Day 1: At 7 am our guide, Ti, punctually arrived to take us on our day tour to Halong Bay. The trip was 4 hours long, but we stopped halfway for a 20 minute break. Along the way Ti taught us many things about Vietnam. He told us about Vun la, which is a holiday to celebrate the ancestors. Vun la is held in July 15th (according to the lunar calendar) and it would be on the next day during our stay in Hanoi. He also told us about the different cities that we drove through, and what they were known for.
We noticed many tombstones in the rice fields, Ti told us that after a war with Japan many Vietnamese people starved to death due to lack of food. And so when planting rice, many bodies were found in the fields. The tombstones were placed there in order to pay respect and a proper burial to the dead.
We arrived in Ha Long Bay at noon. We were quickly directed to board our boat, which ended up being a private ride for us since it was low season.
The waiters presented us with a Vietnamese wine selection to accompany our meal. Here are the pictures.
The famous chicken rocks. I find the “male chicken” to be a lot prettier. After eating and cruising for a bit, we went to this floating village. The James bond film Tomorrow Never Dies was filmed here. We took one of the bamboo boats to see a secret lagoon.
Then we climbed up to explore the Thien Cung Cave. We had lots of fun guessing the shapes of the stalagmites and stalactites. On our return trip, Mr Ti’s boss really wanted to meet us and gave us a small souvenir, as well as treated us to dinner at a very local Pho place, this felt like an Anthony B0urdain moment for sure. There is Mr Ti!We decided to walk back to the hotel…not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into. Crossing the streets in Hanoi has to be one of the scariest things I have done! but we survived!
The next day we had schedule a tour with Hanoi kids, which are college students who offer free tours in Hanoi, in exchange they get to meet foreigners and practice their English.
I’m not quite sure what’s going on here…
We saw many different types of homes which varied by ethnic groups in Vietnam. We also learned about the many different languages and ethnic groups that exist in this amazing country. Some friskier than others judging by the picture below…
We rushed back to the hotel to meet with K. for our tour of Hanoi. First we stopped for some ice cream to cool us off.
Then he took us around town and gave us the history, my personal favorite being the one about Hoan Kiem Lake.
The opera house.
Typical 19th century home in Hanoi.
We saw a group of young girls taking photos in wedding dresses and asked K. about it, and he said that somer girls take photos in wedding dresses and post it on social media to show what a beautiful bride they make in hope to attract a husband. Ryan responded by saying that in America that would chase the men away.
I joined a massage chain by the lake on the way back.
And then we headed to the water puppet show, which was amazing. I wish we had a few more days here!
Next on our agenda was Ho Chi Minh City. We booked a foodie tour with XO tours, a group of ladies drive around the city in their mopeds! I was very skeptical, but I’m glad I trusted Ryan’s judgement. This was fantastic! Nga and Ngan kept us very safe and entertained. Here are some of the food we ate.
Ryan tried “jumping chicken” (frog), I skipped it.
The next day we went to an Indian restaurant, which was surprisingly one of the best Indian food we have had.
Okay friends, next is Cambodia!