Trip Start Sep 09, 2012
20Trip End Feb 02, 2013
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It was late afternoon so we had a few beers as it was happy hour & got some food! The bar filled up in the hostel & it was a really good atmosphere as it felt like a local at home
We went to Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of Hanoi & had a walk over the bridge. The town was easy to get around still busy with mopeds & tuk tuks but we liked it. The streets we crammed with shops mostly doing food & literally the locals were living out of these. We headed to the Hoa Lo Prison Museum & the army museum. The Army Museum was closed Monday's & Fridays so we couldn't get in - yet another thing we had missed from the guide book!
We went back to are hostel & booked a tour for Halong Bay staying 1 night on a boat. This was the next day so we had a early night as we had an early start.
We woke up early & checked out our dorm, it was lucky we could leave our big rucksacks at the hostel so I didn't have the trouble trying to get mine on the boat!
We got on the boat & were allocated a room. It was really nice dark wood everywhere but looked quite luxurious! We had lunch waiting for us which was brought to us like tapas but was a bit backwards as they brought the rice & veg last after u had all the meat/fish. Chris was pleased it wasn't all seafood! During lunch we had begun sailing through the bay. We went to the top decl too to get a better view. The view from the boat was amazing! It was quite misty going through but still really hot. Halong means where the dragon descends into the sea & it is said that his tail is how the landscape was carved
We had a tour through these which was good apart from it being very stuffy & climbing loads of steps! The view again was beautiful & the sun was just starting to set over the bay. Once we had climbed through the caves we got back into the boat to go to a beach for a swim while the sunset. This also was magical, the water was like a bath & watching the sun go down was really relaxing despite there being quite a few people on the beach.
We got back on the boat & ready for our evening meal. This was lovely & really fresh. Again it came in tapas style with a mix of fish & seafood (the prawns were lush!) we shared a table with a Dutch couple & a Korean girl who spoke little English. The following day we went kayaking which was fab - think Chris was worried I wasn't going to be any good but we did ok. The last activity of the tour was learning how to make spring rolls! This was brilliant & it was the traditional Vietnamese version that was done with rice paper! We also got to eat our creations! We got the boat back to the pier & were back in Hanoi for late afternoon.
When we got back to the hostel we re checked in & it was funny we were in a different dorm but with the same two Aussie girls from the previous 6 bed one
We managed to visit the Army Museum on our last day which was good then chilled out in the hostel watching DVDs on beanbags until we had to go for our first bus journey.
We booked a 4 stop open bus ticket so we could travel down the coast rather than straight to Ho Chi Min which we were both made up we did!
The bus was a sleeper which it needed to be as it was 14 hours to the next stop. When we got to the bus station we were pleasantly surprised that the seats were almost like bunk beds but fully reclined! It was still a bit cramped for Chris but miles better than we thought!?
Next stop Hue.