A 3-day cruise in Halong Bay, Vietnam’s natural wonder

While in Hanoi, we did some research on Halong Bay cruises, and ended up choosing the 3-day/2-night Monkey Island tour. There are a million operators online and in every street of the Old Quarter, and some are dirt cheap… but we read a lot of negative reviews for the budget options (food quality and quantity, group size, crappy boats, number of stops, etc.), and decided we could splurge a bit for one of the highlights of our trip. Continue reading “A 3-day cruise in Halong Bay, Vietnam’s natural wonder”

What to see in Hanoi, the hectic capital of Vietnam

Hanoi is not the most welcoming city in the world, one really has to try to get to like it. On our first evening, we ventured to explore the Old Quarter, where our hotel was located. The narrow streets were taken over by people, motorbikes and shops, organized by trades (e.g. we were in the toys street). Between the heat and humidity and the masses of tourists, walking around felt exhausting, so we made our way to Hoan Kiem Lake (where the legend claims a giant turtle stole the king’s sword) and checked out Ngoc Son Temple. As we walked back toward the Old Quarter, taking a detour west to see less touristy areas, a brutal storm broke out. Luckily, before being completely soaked, we found the mall Hang Da, with lots of handicraft shops to keep us entertained until the skies cleared. And as we walked back through the night market, and to the nightlife/pedestrian-friendly area around Ta Hien, we were compensated by one of the most gorgeous sunsets ever. And then by some yummy local specialties – spring rolls, pho and bun cha are must tries.

Continue reading “What to see in Hanoi, the hectic capital of Vietnam”