Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 3: Halong-Hanoi

Our third day of the trip was a long day. It was very sunny and high humidity level. That morning we went to the wharf after breakfast.


Our local tour guide rented a cruise for our group and only our group boarded the cruise. This kind of cruise is only for a day-trip purposes. As for us, it was a 4-hour ride only.

There are tourists who actually stayed a few nights on a cruise. I was recommended by a friend that it's best to stay 2 days 1 night at on a cruise as the views of sunset and sunrise are magnificent at Halong Bay.


We stopped at Thien Cung Cave. It is also known as the cave of the heavenly place that is famous for its stalagmites and stalactites.

The weather was really hot so upon reaching the entrance of this cave, it was a bit cooling. However, when you were inside the cave, you sweat non-stop. It may not be stuffy inside the cave but due to high humidity level, we sweat a lot.


Halong Bay is a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a popular place for tourists but it is good to know that large parts of Ha Long Bay are officially protected from development. The islands vary greatly in size and shape as well as structure. Ha Long Bay is also one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.


After the cruise ride, we went to Era Café Museum. Vietnam is famous for its coffee and therefore, that was where we bought all our coffee.


We then departed to go back to Hanoi. When we reached Hanoi, we saw this bridge, Long Bien Bridge. This is a historic cantilever bridge across the Red River that connects two parts of the city of Hanoi, Vietnam. It was originally called Paul Doumer Bridge. The bridge was built in 1903 by the architects of Daydé & Pillé, a French company. Only bicyclists and motorcyclists are allowed to use the bridge.


Since the traffic was quite jammed as it was a weekend, there were a lot of motorcycles on the road. We saw interesting and unique Vietnamese motorcyclists on the roads.


After dinner, we were sent back to the hotel and that was the end of the whole trip. Since I had made my own research and was not satisfied with having local food through this tour, I decided to make my own trip to a famous local restaurant in town, KOTO. The food was amazing though it was a bit pricey. I had bun cha that night and it was really good.

KOTO is known as Know One, Teach One. Every six months KOTO recruits up to 30 street or disadvantaged youth aged16-22 coming from difficult life circumstances. These include poverty, abandonment, orphans, abuse, youth involved in exploitative employment, neglect, conflict with the law, parents with addictions, parents with mental health problems and a range of other troubled backgrounds. KOTO taps into a wide network of sources to identify target youth and the trainee recruitment process usually takes up to three months depending on the number of applications received.

The next day was mostly spent at the airport and flights. To be honest, this whole trip was not worth the money we paid. I will definitely want to go back to Vietnam again but that would be Ho Chi Minh.

No comments: