Welcome back to my second blog post about Vietnam 🙂
After a nice relaxing time at the coast in Hoi An I made my way to Hanoi. I chose a hotel really central in the old quarter which was very convenient since all major attractions where in walking distance! First I headed out by foot to explore the area such as the Hoan Kiem Lake and a temple. It was very nice that the traffic was close down around the lake and everyone seemed to really enjoy the weekend and went for a walk as well as a lot of children were playing everywhere. Afterwards I first headed to the most central part of the old quarter. Wow, I thought Ho Chi Minh City was busy and crowded with scooters but here it seems like the same amount of people and scooters squished into tiny narrow streets. Definitely interesting but also a bit scary 😀 I decided to join a street food walking tour to explore some more of the local cuisine. It was a great experience and I would definitely not have found or dared to try many oft he places on my own! Also being a vegetarian it was sweet that my guide would pick meat free dished for me 🙂 We had around 5 main courses and 3 desserts. Quite a lot but it was soooo yummy, can definitely recommend this!! (I will link you the tour provider at the bottom)
The next day I was headed for Ha Long Bay. I had read so much about this place and seen so many pictures so this was one of my must sees 🙂 There were actually quite a few movies filmed in this area, maybe you have seen it already as well! I took two boat tours while I was here: one larger boat cruise and one small paddling boat. Even though it was a bit foggy for most of the time it was still a marvelous experience and I really really liked the area. I think there is probably still so much more to see since the Ha Long Bay area is absolutely huge and can hardly be covered within a few days but I think I was able to get a feel fort he place. There is apparently also a similar smaller bay in Thailand in case you will stay only in Thailand 🙂 What’s pretty impressive is that many of the small islands also have large caves inside. I wouldn’t have expected that at all. The only part that is a bit tedious about a trip to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi ist he long bus drive on terrible roads. I think half of these paths don’t even deserve the name road 😀 just be aware of it and try to sleep or take a good read 😉
The next trip from Hanoi I had planned was to Sapa. Sapa is a mountain region close to the chinese border. The drive is actually even longer than to Ha Long Bay but the roads are mostly a bit better so I thought it was actually more comfortable! Plus the last hour you are already driving up the mountains and get to see great landscape 🙂 The area is absolutely different from anything I had seen yet on my trip: steep mountains with rice teracces, remote villages and definitely no large cities with a lot of traffic. Life seems to be going at a different pace than in the larger cities. I went for a few hikes with locals. It was so interesting to hear about their life. Most of them were around the same age as me but there life seemed so different than mine. Life seems to be very very family based, marriage happens at a young age and families are much larger than in europe (which came as a surprise to me given the proximity to China). Sometimes I do wonder how my life would bei f I was born somewhere else. How different would my life be? My guides seemed content and said they were also very lucky with their husbands but a lot of men are drinking heavily or consuming. I don’t want to sound vain, I think I do prefer my easy life with luxuries but sometimes we could also learn from other lifestyles. I think especially I saw that they are happy with what they have, they don’t always run after the next best thing or try to get better and better while forgetting to enjoy the moment. Something to really take into consideration for your own life!!!
On this note, my trip to Sapa has come to an end and I’m heading back to Hanoi. From here I will be taking a plane to Singapore. Let’s see how much of a contrast that will be to my last few days 😀
Streetfood walking tour: http://www.hanoistreetfoodtour.com