Friday, July 13, 2012

Hanoi - Vietnam (My Tour Adventure)

I told you remember? We did Siem Reap (Angkor Wat  & Siem Reap), and then off to Hanoi, the day after to Halong Bay? So, what was it like in Hanoi, prior to Halong Bay and also on our last day? Interesting Hanoi tracking. Hanoi is definitely traffic madness, speak about the number of motorbikes and all that you will encounter on the streets. Bustling busyness. Indeed. Chaotic as well due to spilling over population, seemingly too I don't think traffic rules are strictly adhered. Of course traffic lights are there, but it’s akin who can dash drive ahead faster than ever. Basically, the toughest drivers I bet will survive. Utterly crazy driving. We on the other hand, because we were coach driven, except for every now and then being stuck in traffic, all seemed well planned for us. I liked the fact that we stayed in Mercury Hotel, located at the heart of Hanoi city.

Albeit the cramped reception area, my room was not a let down. Splashes of bright colours and spic and span. The best part of it all was that I had the view of Hanoi city from my 7th floor room. However, sadly though wifi massively failed despite me paying for room connection. Therefore, I guess there was no other choice, but to sit at the reception area where wifi did a fair bit of justice.

Our next morning sightseeing was trigger started by standing in the freezing weather and in the long snaking queue for viewing Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Ho Chi Minh - Let's Explore Together). Mind you, stern strict rules. No handphone, no camera, no laptop, bags screened, no holding hands, hands must be straight down and no laughing neither talking. Thereafter batch by batch allowed into Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum while fierce looking guards stood with riffles and watched us like radars. All the way from the moment we walked in, simultaneously as we took a look at Ho Chih Minh laying in state. Honestly, Ho Chi Minh actually looked fake. Maybe its him all done up or his wax version. Most probably I think its his wax version, and for all that strict still as communism regime, not even within five minutes, we were already out of Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. What? That's about it? Yes, it is. Sincerely over-rated, but I still appreciated the fact that I did Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Well, never a lost is travelling knowledge. Of course.  

From Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, we walked via the path leading us to Ho Chi Minh Palace. Ho Chi Minh again? Without a doubt. His legacy, how he lived, his car, his bedroom, and what not. Basically, Palace showcasing life and style of Ho Chi Minh. 

Of course added knowledge to what I already knew about Ho Chi Minh, next in line was our visit to One-Pillar Pagoda that comes with its set of history. Quite a small temple where you potentially have to battle for space, including going up to the altar and back forth. Pushing and shoving I believe will do job in One Lotus Pagoda, additionally, you will need just less than ½ an hour for seeing this whole area, which  mirrors the architectural splendour of Vietnam. Pagoda structure completed in 1950s sits in the lake stilts, its design represents a lotus merging from the water. Prayers said in One-Pillar Pagoda presumably is hope for those who badly need to get pregnant and also for good health.

For me, there's no possibilities of giving birth because my underground tunnel had already stopped ticking. Unless, of course miracles do happen. But I am not hoping for it. Why on earth I want to add another family member when I like to be free like bird for seeing the world? Next we adjourned to Temple Of Literature. Symbolizing Confucius, and also for recognizing Vietnam's doctorates and high rank scholars. Basically, this is the temple where educating the locals is initiated. Crazily packed on this day due to some function going on, I still manage to make my way in to see the antic collection, thereafter to the far end where there is an altar. So I said prayer, and almost instantly made a U-turn to return to the entrance. 

When the rest of tour buddies returned, we headed to Sen Tay Ho Restaurant for lunch. Good delicious food no doubt, but this whole concept of busloads of tourists dining together is not for me. I hated the queuing, food vanishing as quickly as they were refilled and seated back to back with hardly any space to move around definitely didn’t go down well with me. Food, let me repeat myself again, was awesome. Huge selection. Between the Vietnamese, Asian and Western items. Sincerely. Those Vietnamese desserts’ were akin heaven came. 

After lunch, we journeyed to Halong Bay. On the last day in Hanoi, we did sightseeing in Hoan Kiem Lake/Ngoc Son Temple. Another significant tourist spot for seeing the lake, the red bridge and the altar, all of these historically bounded by tortoises.That’s all I know.

An hour thereafter, we crossed the road and by then all the rickshaws were already in line waiting for us. Tour guide gently told us that we should tip the rickshaw driver US1 which seemingly none of us had any qualms about. My driver smiled and grinned like nobody's business, he even volunteered in taking pictures of me. How nice. Ride then started. Oh my what a ride. Can you imagine being driven in the bustling traffic? Adventurous, at the same time terrifying. But you just got to trust your driver. Leave them alone. They have it all. They sure will take you around Hanoi for seeing whatever that appears in front, at the back and at the side of you. Road side stalls, shops, of course traffic, government buildings, eateries, wedding photo shoot, branded outlets, basically, you get a live experience of what Hanoi is like.

On the dot at the stipulated time, driver dropped me at another side of Hanoi. I handed over the dollar; he however insisted I give him another. What? Some sort of tourists bullying? I really couldn’t comprehend. But instead of fussing, I willingly gave him. I then found out that the rest of my tour buddies had the same issue. Nonsense. Anyway, case closed because no point harping since we all have already given. The finale for our this Vietnam and Cambodia tour was lunch. Quite a grand one, music and dolled up ladies served us in.Nha Hang Thang Long Restaurant. Food can’t be disputed either. Splendour, filling and aplenty Vietnamese dishes.

While at tucking in, friendship exchanging of phone numbers took place. I couldn’t be bothered. Whatever for? Except for the couple I clicked with, the rest were  merely tour passers for me. I had no intention of keeping in touch with any of them. What was next? To the airport before returning to the arms of my other half-half who actually functioned without me for 9 days.  Believe it. Thank god our house was still in one piece and my plants were taken care off.  

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  1. thanks to you we can see virtual tour of all this amazing places, love the idea of using sugarcane as skewers.

  2. Great restaurant....the food looks yummy too...:-)

  3. The food looks so yum. i started salivating looking at the pics.. nice post Navi dear :)

  4. What lovely food! Beautiful place!

  5. nice :)

  6. The food looks lovely and vibrant.

  7. looks yummy! fresh and healthy

  8. YUM! Everything looks so good Nava...I better get myself some food...these pictures really got me hungry.
    Have a great weekend :D

  9. What a variety! All the pictures look so tempting ...the steamed fish and the prawns have me drooling. These reminds me of the images on Food Safari.

  10. sound like the food taste good enough. Would love to taste those

  11. Food looks the post n pics...soo colourful post navi..u r really lucky sweethrt. .

    My recent one :Bourjois rouge edition velvet lipstick 02 frambourjoise !!!

  12. you had great spread!! Looks like a fun place..

  13. Will love to make reservation the food looks delicious.


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