Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vietnam: a 6 days itinerary

If you wish to travel to Vietnam during your summer vacation, be warned. We arrived at mid-June and were literally drenched in sweat, it was super-duper hot! I heard that temperature will be around 34 degree Celsius in June! I was wondering how am I going to stay for 6 days in this country. Enough ranting, negativity aside, let's roll. 
Vietnam landscape

Let The V.I.E.T.N.A.M Journey Begins

Tuesday, 16th June 2015
Day 1:
Our journey started at 7am and it took us around 6 hours to arrive at Noibai International Airport. We had our very first lunch in Hanoi featuring Vietnam cuisine at Bằng Lăng Restaurant. 
This was our 1st meal in Vietnam. Ok, let me list down the dishes that we had: 
*Chicken & sweetcorn soup, 
*Yam bean, chicken & fresh coconut salad, 
*Stir-fried seasonal vegetable & garlic, 
*Eggplant sauce minced pork, 
*Deep-fried taro cake, 
*Spring roll, 
*Stewed fish in clay pot, 
*Mustard broth with meatball, 
*Thai chicken curry, 
* Cream caramel 

We spent the night at The New Star Ha Long hotel.
New Star Ha Long hotel
Heard that they graded this as a 3-star hotel. Wow, for me it deserves more stars! It's so comfy and really nice to stay! 
Hanoi Night View
I'm usually unable to fall asleep on the 1st night when I travel far, even it is already in the late night hour. Here’s the night view when I looked out from my hotel’s window!

==========End of day 1==========

Wednesday, 17th June 2015
Day 2: 
We were going to spend a whole day visiting Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay
Remember to queue for tickets first. And here we bought the ticket to take a boat ride. 
Ha Long Bay cruise
I heard that each cruise holds up to 50 persons. But we reserved 1 for the 8 of us. 
Once I stepped into the cruise, I didn't just sit throughout the journey. It would be such a waste if you do that because you will miss out on all those amazing scenes.This place mesmerized me. The sky was blue and the view was spectacular. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay
The local tour guide told us that the 2 rocks behind me looked just like a pair of fighting chicken. In fact, it is one of the most remarkable islands in Ha Long Bay! 

Kind reminder: 
On every boat cruise, there will be at least 1 professional photographer who helps the tourists to take photos. But for me, since I always bring my own digital camera along and I enjoy taking photos, so I turned down their offer. I felt that if you do not want to buy their photos, make it clear to them so that they won't waste their time and energy for nothing. Some tourist stated that they are actually scammers on the internet, I think that it is merely their job (well, they have to make a living right? ). So please don't get annoyed whenever they wanna help to take your photos. Just say no politely. 
It took a few hours for the cruise to go through the emerald water between the limestone outcrops. Then we stopped at a station where we had to change to a smaller boat which could only allow 4 persons in a boat. It was because we had to go through some caves which only allow small boats to go through. 
Ha Long Bay
"Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream..." These lyrics came to my mind when I was going through the cave in the boat.
Welcome to Xanadu! This place is simply perfect for travelers wanting to find their inner Zen. 
Asia most beautiful landscape
We were surrounded by all these limestone outcrops.
Here’s our next destination in Ha Long Bay, Thiên Cung Cave (天宫洞 or 桂林洞 in Chinese).
Cave of the Heavenly Palace
This is the "Cave of the Heavenly Palace" which is famous for its stalagmites and stalactites.
Vietnam cave
Upon entering the cave, you will feel that you are being surrounded by cold air. The temperature inside took a huge plunge, such a dramatic change if compared to the temperature outside. Look at these limestone caves and see how well they are being shaped naturally after so many years. Some even have their own story behind.
Vietnam tourist attraction
Never get enough of this place!
Vietnam food
Lunch on the boat!

==========End of day 2==========

Thursday, 18th June 2015
Day 3:
It was really a long journey for us to travel to our first destination.
Thăng Long Espana Hotel
We spent our 2nd night in Thăng Long Espana Hotel. I was kind of dissatisfied with the structure of this hotel, but they served good breakfast and coffee.
After having our breakfast, we had to start our journey in the early morning as it takes 5 hours to travel to Sapa, the place where I had been looking forward to for so long. 
Vietnam Trade Union Hotel
        Once we arrived in Sapa, we headed to the Vietnam Trade Union Hotel straight away. We checked in, dropped our things there and immediately start exploring around. The hotel is simple yet comfy. Since the hotel is located on the hill so it is surrounded by cold air. 
        In Sapa, visiting the Cat Cat Village is a MUST!!! I was so excited about it. Remember to put on a pair of comfortable footwear so that you won’t get blisters on your toes due to the long walking. 
Cat Cat Village
Cat Cat Village is known as the home of Black H'mong ethnic minority.
Cat Cat Village
Black H'mong
Look at the baby and child, we indeed should feel blessed for the life we have now!
Cat Cat Village
 Walking down the alley, we were able to see what this minority group do for a living. It is part of their culture where they sell lots of handmade crafts just for subsistence.
Cat Cat Village
Can you imagine that this is the only clinic in the village?!
Cat Cat Village
South East Asia Most Beautiful Place
 Some people also focus on agriculture, where they plant sweetcorn and paddy.South East Asia cultural destination
South East Asia children
 The smiles on these children faces...
South East Asia most beautiful landscape
On our way back to the main entrance of Cat Cat Village, I realized that it was much more energy consuming because the road was much steeper. But for me, it was all worth it, as the greenish view was really mesmerizing and I enjoyed the fresh air up here. But, for those who really feel exhausted after the long journey, don't worry! The locals do offer motorcar service. But you'll have to pay them for the ride. 
South East Asia cultural destination
 Out of the Cat Cat Village, there were a lot of unique restaurants along the road in Sapa.
The nightlife in Sapa!!!
.Vietnam children
 The little angel.
Vietnamese children
Children who lived in this village are not educated. Even when they are given free education by the government, they still choose to start working at a very young age as they don't know the importance of education.

==========End of day 3==========

Due to overload of endless photos, we have to split this blogpost into 2 parts:

Going to Vietnam? 

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This article was written by contributor Alvira Yeoh from (From A to Y). 
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