Trip from HCMC to Hanoi (Vietnam) in April 2009

Hanoi Travel Blog

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The idea came to me in a second. Then, I went to the Sinh café office to book an open bus tour from Saigon to Hanoi, which cost me 500,000 VND (18,000 VND = 1 USD). I was supposed to stay on the bus in 2 days and 2 nights. It sounded very challenging and harsh at first. However, I was in the mood for challenges and exploring, so it wasn't kinda problem to me then, hehehe


On Sunday morning, I officially got off with my damn eagerness with the longest solo trip ever in my life. It was like the feeling of pride when you broke your daily activity, thought and viewpoint to discover a new field and bring yourself into the new plight so that you can make yourself adapt into it.


I stopped at Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang and Hue.

At each places I had around 1 or 2 hours to go around. It was a short time but it worked when I hadn’t been to those and my budget and time was limited. Hence, I think that I made a right decision of traveling by bus.

My favorite destinations are Hoi An ancient town, Ha Noi old quarter and Tam Coc Bich Dong in Ninh Binh. Hoi An and Ha Noi both carry the beauty of the past but also differ in some ways. I prefer Hoi An, which is old but clean and tidy. All houses in the town are painted in yellow, which make them all shining brightly in the sunlight. I can’t get rid of the image of the ancient yellow houses mirroring themselves in the gentle river flowing through the town. Time seems to stand still.


However, Ha Noi old quarter is so different. It isn’t peaceful at all as what people usually think about Ha Noi. I had to get up at 7 am because of the noise of hammers and metals from all the workshops, yeahhhh, I was living in Hang Dong Street – the area of hammers, iron, steels, aluminum, etc. and noise… I only paid 200,000 VND for one double room in the old quarter. The people at the hotel was so nice at first, yet they drove me mad after 2 days.

When I was out to Ninh Binh, they changed my luggage into a smaller room without informing me or asking me for permission. It was kinda rude and unprofessional in the hospitality. Even though they promised to offer me a much cheaper price and I was deadly exhausted after my day trip, I still moved out of that fucking hotel. I stayed in a nicer one that night. At first, they charged me 250,000 VND/night. After a bargain, we agreed with the price of 200,000 VND (remember to bargain though they always have the quotation at the reception desk)    


The most beautiful place in my opinion is Tam Coc – Bich Dong located in Ninh Binh province. I first viewed the landscape in a picture in August 2008 – the second month I worked at the Travel Agency and I was impressed by the thought that this couldn’t be in Vietnam and couldn’t be real. Yeap, some kind like in a fairy tale! Hence, this was a precious chance for me to witness my dream land. Everything was just amazing! People call this place Ha Long on land. You’re supposed to sail a small tender along the river which is flowing through cliffs, mountains, and green paddy fields. The water is only 1 meter deep and so transparent that you can see the seaweed under the water.

When sailing along a river, everything which could be burdens seemed to be blown off from my soul. According to the people at Tam Coc, after the harvest, all the fields will be covered by lotus flowers. I promised to myself that I would be back at that season to see lotus covering the land and the river. What a nice view which make you like being in meditation and coming to Buddha.


I intended to go to Perfume Pagoda but didn’t have time and money. I packed my luggage and flight home on my 6th of the wander.


During the time staying in Hanoi, I was so lucky to have great time with anh Khoa ^^ (my Skype friend), anh Thuy (my ex-colleague), Daniel and chị Nga (both are my FB friends). They're and I really enjoyed my time with them. I missed Bia hơi Hà Nội, Hà Nội nights of silence, beautiful lakes which are so enormous that they make you unstable and frightened, and interesting and funny talks with friends.    

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1,127 km (700 miles) traveled
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photo by: mario26