Story in Hanoi
All the procedures went smoothly and finally we set off leaving Malaysia at 6.30am. I feel quite tired, because I didnt sleep the whole night waiting the time to come. No point for me to sleep at 12am and awake on 2am for all the preparations right? I did take a nap on the flight, but it was not comfortable because we chose a wrong seat at the emergency exit. We are not allowed to lye down our seat to make my sleep more comfortable. So I wake up with neckache.Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, having quite a cold weather compare to Guang Zhou. This is quite a suprise to us, because from geographically, Guang Zhou is at north of Hanoi. The temperature of the days we were there consider to be ok, according to our guide, ranging from 8 to 12 degree celcius. I was wearing sleeveless when I left AirAsia, and soon cover up myself with sweater and jacket. Well, I still can cope with the COLD, trained by my company air-con. In our travel itinery, there is no programme being arranged for the first day, me myself wondering why when I first see the itinerary. However, we did some shopping and visiting to temple.
Vietnamese, celebrating the chinese new year as what we did, having holiday till the 6th day of chinese new year. Generally, there are not many shops that is available for us to do shopping when we were at the Van Phuc village. We were left with one shop to pay visit and drag out our USD. Sooner, there were two more shops opening for business, I think they must overheard our voice in the shop. Business comes first, out of the three shops, all selling silks. I bought a tie for my boy :) It's cheap and looks nice... hehehe~~~Before dinner time, we went for water puppet show, local traditional show which is a must see. The actors and actresses have themselves half-soaked in the water, holding bamboo sticks which control the movement of the puppets. Quite a pity life for them, even they get high pay. (which convert into RM, actually only hundred over only) So called "high pay" will need to be saved, for their future life spend in hospital due to rheumatism. The show was around 45 minutes and it was special one.
For reunion dinner, we tried vietnamese spring roll, which is quite famous with its rice paper. I tried once in Penang, in a soya bean shop owned by a boss whose wife is a vietnamese, the taste is so refreshing with the peppermint leave that she puts in. For the one that we tried in Hanoi, they put in some vietnam beehoon, prawn and herbs. Well, I still prefer my first try, maybe it is just because that was my first try. However, generally the reunion dinner was great. We were accompanied by some musicians playing some traditional vietnamese musical equipments, they even play us some chinese songs.
We do not have any acticities after dinner for nights in Vietnam. For the first night, we were brought to the 36 Ancient Streets to do some "pasar malam" shopping. Well, as what I said, they did celebrate chinese new year, so there weren't much shops there. But the center of the street areas were still crowded with people, motorbikes and cars. The locals went out for count down I guessed. Since there was nothing much to do there, we took taxi ride back to our hotel for USD5, which I think is overpaid because we reach the hotel in 5 minutes time.
Not many were able to wake up for count down, for my family only me and Jia Qi able to make it. The vietnamese is having 30 minutes of fireworks and releasing chinese lantern (Kong-Ming deng) into the sky for prayers. We were treat with some small banquet, served with red wines and some snack. Both of us had half a glass of red wine, which make us a good sleep after that.
First day of Chinese New Year, we went to visit mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Some of you might think it's taboo, anyhow travelling so far away, it's good to pay a visit and show our respect to their leader. We are not allowed to bring in any handphone and camera into the mausoleum, we are required to go through a sensored gate, which is much like how I enter my company for regular work. The "Ho Chi Minh" relique that I see, I can't judge if it's real. To me, it's more like a wax product -_- We visited the house of Ho Chi Minh, also the car that he used when he was alive, etc...
Halong Bay, requires a travel of 4 hours from Hanoi city. Well, I've used to 4 hours travel, it's just like travelling from Penang to KL. While travelling in the bus, we watched a movie... guess what? It's Shaolin soccer! Hahaha~~~ well, this suits our taste :P Everyday travel we were stopping at some shops which sells local products, this is good for us to get nice toilet as well as some chance to buy some stuffs.
It was late evening when we reached Halong Bay, bus driver drove us to round the "village" before we checked into hotel and have a short rest. After dinner, we paid the bus driver to drive us for 1.5 hours night market visit, each pay RM4. Here I bought myself Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional costume), my mum too :D It costs me USD10 for a set of that. But never known by any of us, the cloth are too "transparent" which I need to send to tailor after I'm back to Malaysia.
Second day of chinese new year, it's Halong Bay day :D The jetty is very near to our hotel, so we reached quite early. One special thing on the cruises that are available at the jetty is that one cruise will accomodate the whole group that comes together, so our tour group will not need to share with other tour group. We were seated 6 in a table, suits with the number of my family members. But we didn't stay long in the cabin, people start to walk upstair to expose themselves to the cool adn refreshing air at the very beginning when the cruise started to head towards the center. There are some small boats which will come near to our cruise and sells us fruits. Also, we were drove to a fisher village where they sell fresh seafood, but I heard with high price. Soon, we were brought to a cave with those stalactites. Not the first time I see all these, they are just the same as China, with China having much professional tour guide service. Alright, maybe I'm really bias. I really think China is much better. Well, just appreciate what you have :P
We had seafood lunch on the cruise, nice experience to have. The seafood served not bad in taste, and the cruise was stable, so I had great time having meal such as this. I think my family members enjoyed too. The way we leave the cruise was so dangerous, they just get a wood board and bamboo, then we have to walk up to the shore on the wood board and bamboo stick (hold by the workers there). Hey, my cruise still moving slowly one, so scary. Youngsters climbed up very fast, but not the parents.
Travelling back from Halong Bay to Hanoi city took up another 4 hours. Again, by the time we reached the city, it's late evening. We went for second trip at 36 Ancient streets, with each street having its own speciality. We tried their beef kuey teow and also vietnamese sandwiches.
After having dinner, went check-in into a france hotel. This hotel having smaller rooms than the previous hotel, but nearer to the city area. Jia Wen and I sharing a room, watching chinese movies till midnight.
Day four in Hanoi, which is also third day of Chinese New Year, we went to Tam Coc Bich Dong. It is actually three vales, where we sit on a "sampan" where we have the local citizen there be our raftsman. Scenery is more or less like in China, mountain and rivers... The raftsmen are all skillful, they can even row with their feet. See...
We had our last shopping at a local product shop again. This time we bought vietnam coffee, and get it grounded on spot. It smells really nice, although I don't really drink coffee. 500 grams of coffee costs us RM30, here is a good point where in Vietnam, some of the shops accepts RM :)