5D4N Hanoi- Halong Bay (Over night on Junk)

On 20 December 2010, Chan and me travelled free and easy to the above destination. We bought the land tour at SGD285 per pax from Neway travel service Pte Ltd.
Our journey started from Changi airport. We travelled by Vietnam Airlines ($383/pax), transitted in Ho Chin Min before arriving to Hanoi.
We did a brief city tour in Ho Chin Min city, tried the local ‘fur’ (beef noodles soup) in a local market. We arrived and were picked at Noi Bai airport, Hanoi late afternoon to be transferred to The Jasmine Hotel in Hanoi Old quarter.
We moved freely that evening. The city was very congested. The road was very narrow, and packed with two-wheelers and four-wheelers, horning each other. On both sides of the road, there were food sellers and food eaters, either squatting or sitting on stools to enjoy the local cuisines. We are avid traveler who stand firmly on, ‘when you are in Rome, behave like a Roman.’ as such, we appreciated and explored this crowded old city like a local. We had fried rice, vegetable soup and sea food for our dinner.
We had an early night as we were quite tired of the journey. However, our first night in this hotel was rather unpleasant. We encountered broken bed and over flow toilet bowl. Luckily, the housekeeper managed to rush in and mended for us. We requested for a change of room and was entertained.
The next morning, our tour began. We had simple in-house breakfast. Fresh mango juice with American breakfast. (On other days, I saw guests ordered local Vietnamese Breakfast, The waiter actually went out and bought from the street hawkers, transferred them into the hotel’s plates and served the guests). We were picked up by SIS tour to visit Ho Chi Minh Mousoleum and Museum. We enjoyed the architectural and historical aspects of Uncle Ho’s final resting-place. Just next door is Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. Lying to one side of the Mausoleum is the One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049. This structure has become an important symbol for the people of Hanoi.
Later, we proceed to visit the Quan Thanh Temple (Toaist dating from Ly Dynasty) and Buddhist Tran Quoc Pagoda on West lake.(one of the oldest in Vietnam).
In the afternoon, we proceed to visit the Ehnology Museum, continue to visit the Literature Temple and Quoc Tu Giam – Vietnam’s first university constructed in 1070, its garden and well-preserved architecture offers a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam’s past. We also visited Hoan Kiem lake, saw the peaceful waters, and visited Ngoc Son temple. Later, we traveled leisurely by coach trip along the Hanoi Old Quarter and spent our evening for shopping till night before going back to our hotel.
In between, we visited Ho Chi Minh’s vestige in the Presidential Palance (formerly Indochina’s General Governor Palace. Tis relic complex has become vital memories connecting to President Ho Chi Minh’s fifteen years of living and working from December 1954 to September 1969. We saw the presidential Palace, fish pond, pagoda, orchard, cars, the house of 1954 and especially the historic house-on-stilts of Ho Chi Mihn which symbolised his living way of simplicity, modesty, gentleness and dedication for the nation and the people. The whole site is full of wind, light and fragrant flowers from gardens around. Millions of home and foreign visitors have poured here to learn and to respect the virtue and thoughts of a national liberation hero – a great man of world culture.
We check out our hotel on day 3 after breakfast. At about 8.15am, we left Hanoi for Ha long city by a modern bus. We got into an Imperial Junk boat and enjoy a welcome drink and lunch of savory local seafood. We checked into our cabin at the lower deck and started cruising around the bay to see the amazing karsts with different formations in shapes which looked like Lion, Tea pot, Toad, Dau Nguoi (Human head) islet. Later, we stopped over for a walk through the Sung Sot cave “Amazing Cave”. Subsequently, our boat anchored at a clean calm sea. We enjoy a wonderful sunset dinner in our beautiful restaurant before retiring to the comfort of our cabin.
The next morning, we had our breakfast relax on the cruise. We visited the VAGIA floating village and kayaking to Bai Tu Long Bay. This bay was a neglected area but consisted the most spectacular bay with islands in different shapes. We had a brief visit at Hon Gai market at Poet Island. Finally we arrived at Ha Long City at 11.30am and had our lunch on shore. After lunch, we returned to Hanoi and reached our destination at about 4.00pm. We had another free and easy evening. We went for Vietnamese massage. Frankly, I felt the massagers were very commercialize. They demanded for tips at the exit door and blocked our way if we refused to give. They left a very bad impression in me.
The next morning, we checked out after breakfast and was transferred to airport. We transited in Ho Chin Mihn airport and did some last minute shopping at a nearby shopping mall. Finally, we boarded our flight back to Changi Airport and back home.
To me, Vietnam is not an inviting place for me to revisit.

($383+285 = RM1563.00/ pax)
written on 9/17/2016 7:52:49 PM

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