Monday, August 27, 2012
It was a Friday on our second in Hanoi, the day which we would be doing a bit of sightseeing before we left for Ha Long. The hotel’s breakfast was great – we had a variety of choices and the food tasted good. And since we were not coming back to the hotel to get our things, we checked-out really early that day.
Our first destination was Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This is the final resting place of Vietnamese great father or uncle Ho President Ho Chi Minh's stilt house. Since it was a Friday, the place was closed. This place is closed on Mondays and Fridays only. Also, it will be closed in October and November. The day was really hot and sunny. Glad that the place was closed and that we do not have to join the queue to enter the mausoleum.
Instead, we went to visit Ho Chi Minh's Vestige in the Presidential Palace Area. This relic complex has become vital memories connecting to President Ho Chi Minh's 15 years of living and working from December 1954 to September 1969. Visitors will see the presidential palace, fishpond, orchard, cars, the house of 1954 and especially the historic house-on-stilts of Ho Chi Minh which symbolizes his living way of simplicity, modesty, gentleness and dedication for the nation and the people.
Our last sight-seeing before lunchtime was Temple of Literature. This temple is the oldest university in Vietnam, constructed in 1076. There are five courtyards include beautiful gardens, walls inscribed with the names of scholars, several altars and a small museum. The place was packed with local Vietnamese graduates that day. I guess there was a graduation going on and the students came here celebrating their graduation.
After lunch at Lion City, our journey to Halong started. It took us one afternoon to reach our destination though we made a short stop in between for a break. We were relieved that we are not staying at Golden Ha Long Hotel as we read a lot of negative reviews on that hotel. Instead, we stayed a night at New Star Ha Long Hotel, a new hotel in town.
After our dinner at a local restaurant, some of us went for a Vietnamese massage and man, I prefer Thai Massage a lot more. Since there was no activities after, the boyfriend, his friend and I, as usual, took a walk around the hotel in search for local food. We had roti kebab and seafood by the roadside before we called it a day.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Another year had passed and this time the boyfriend’s company had arranged a company trip to Hanoi, Vietnam. Compared to last year, those that are coming from Penang will not have to take a night bus to Kuala Lumpur. We took flights instead.
We landed Hanoi about noon time and after we met up with our local tour guide, we were sent to our hotel. The traffic in Hanoi is nowhere better from what I had imagined. Very jammed and crowded, dominated by motorcyclists. It took us more than an hour to reach our hotel.
Checked-in at Demantoid Hotel, we had a few hours to spare before our first activity. Since we had not taken our lunch, I wanted to go all out – to try the local food at a local restaurant. However, the boyfriend’s friend had already made his order at KFC so, sadly to say, our first meal in Hanoi was KFC.
After lunch, we decided to take a walk around for a bit, also in search to buy a few sim cards before we went back to our own rooms. We were supposed to gather and meet the local tour guide at the hotel’s lobby at 4.30pm. We had our dinner at the local restaurant at five before we went to watch an hour water puppetry show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
Unfortunately after the show, we were sent back to the hotel to call it a day. Of course the boyfriend and I were not satisfied. We decided to walk around the streets to find some local food. We found Classic Motor Coffee – the guys had coffee while I had a beer.
We continued walked around and we found a restaurant, Pho G, super close to our hotel. Should have come here in the first place. They serve local fried beef noodles and it was good. Unfortunately we were stuffed from what we had at Classic Motor Coffee. Therefore, we ordered one plate and shared it among ourselves.
Seeing the night was still early, we walked a bit further and found this dessert shop, Lan Kwai Fong. We had a few smoothies and the smoothies were rich! Not the cheap watery ones.
Since our stomachs were stuffed with all the local food, we were fulfilled and willingly to call it a day finally!
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
It was finally our last day on Redang Island, which none of us was looking forward to. Our days on the island passed by so fast that we were not prepared to face our last day together on this island.
From being strangers to acquaintances and now we are friends. To be honest, I am really happy that my boyfriend met them but at the same time, I am unhappy that I have to divide his time. However, I managed to get to know the partners of his friends so at least I can spend my time with the ladies while he go and spend his time with the gents.
Oh, and guess what? The guys made some new friends and this new friend has now joined their club as well. I guess people with the same interests will never be able to run away from each other.
We had our lunch before we left Kuala Terengganu. Since it is a daytime, the number of vehicles on the roads are more compared to when we were driving in the middle of the night. Therefore, it took us longer hours to drive back to Penang Island.
We stopped by Temenggor Lake before we continued our journey to Gerik to have our dinner while watching Olympics’ final match. Of course we were cheering for our Dato’ Lee Chong Wei and thanks to that we forgot our hunger. We waited for our food for more than an hour.
It was about 9-plus when we decided to continue our journey after we had finished our dinner. The boyfriend and I got home about 11pm. He told me that this trip was indeed a three-full-day trip.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Most of us were more energised the next morning. After breakfast, the guys had a short game of ping pong before our first snorkeling session for the day at Marine Park. I was told that there were a lot of beautiful fish and corals. We enjoyed feeding the fish though.
After lunch, there was another snorkeling session at Kampung Dalam. This time I planned not to get into the water. I decided to be the photographer. However, I missed out a lot of things. Some of my friends told me that they saw a big turtle. Some of them said they saw a very big coral. Damn! I could only mourn for my loss.
After tea break, the guys went to rent a volleyball to have a few games of beach volleyball. They even made a few new friends. Me? I became the photographer. When it was already seven, we went back to the resort to have our dinner and got ourselves ready for party that night.
That night, we went to Summer Point. It is located at the other side of the beach where our resort is. Actually I planned to call the night early but fortunately, I did not. I went back to where to group was and joined them at the dance floor. And of course, not to be missed the photography session. Since the next day would be our last day on Redang Island, we went all out that night before we called the night together. Glad I did left the party earlier.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
It was finally the moment that, I personally believe, everyone had been waiting for. The excursion to Redang Island was finally here. However, we ain’t getting there by flight or bus. We drove to Kuala Terengganu!
Yeah, all 15 of us in 6 cars drove to Kuala Terengganu together. It was not an easy journey as the road is not as wide as North-South Highway and it was really dark. Plus, the boyfriend were not able to take a nap after work at all. Though we made a few stops, we managed to reach our destination by six in the morning. Unfortunately, we did not encounter any wild elephants crossing the road. I was hoping for that to happen!
After we had our breakfast at a restaurant, we proceeded to the jetty. It was not difficult to find the place but due to a lot of one-way streets, it was not easy either. Fortunately, I brought along a GPS with us so we managed to find our way there.
It was about one and a half hour ride from the jetty to the island. We checked-in before proceeded to have our lunch at the canteen. The gents later had a short game of beach volleyball before all of us went back to our own rooms to rest and getting prepared for our first snorkeling session at Pulau Paku Besar.
The resort really spoiled us. After we came back from our snorkeling session, there was an hour tea break awaiting us. One and a half hour after tea break, there was dinner. We decided to take a walk along the beach to digest the food we took from tea break to prepare ourselves better for dinner later.
We passed by a lot of other resorts on Redang Island. There were more people on the other side compared to where our resort located. Also, we went to check out the famous More More Tea Inn, the famous spot where a Hong Kong film, Summer Holiday, was set. However, the place is currently a gift shop that offers a variety of souvenir items. We took a lot of photos before headed back to the resort for dinner.
The boyfriend and I ended the day really early. We were knackered so we went to sleep right after dinner while the remaining ones chillaxed at a bar nearby with drinks and snacks. Of course we made it up to everyone the next night.