South East Asia Leg II - Vietnam
Chapter I - Welcome to the Capital city, Hanoi
So I was still scared of that delayed flight. On top of that, I came to know that the issue wasn’t resolved yet. So to catch the flight, I should be at the Airport, 4 hours prior to my flight. Because of this I could barely able to sleep and reached at the KLIA airport, well in advanced. What luck man!!!! It was Malaysian Independence Day. Due to that, they weren’t flying any flights from 9 AM to 10:30AM. Fu** it!!! We had really less time to explore Hanoi and this delay had lessened it further.
After landing in Hanoi, post check In, we went to the Temple of Literature. On the way, We saw how reckless people were driving. They were barely following any traffic rules. Despite living in India, A country famous for it's reckless driving and chaotic traffic situations, I was scared. Scared to even cross the roads. Now I knew how western people would be feeling when they were visiting India. It was nothing less than an adventure. Anyways, We reached to Temple of literature safely. Place was nice and peaceful with huge History behind it. Well, I am not so much history person so those who really wants to know should google It or book a flight to Hanoi ;)
Just when we decided to visit One Pillar Pagoda of Hanoi, It started raining heavily. To get Shelter, We went to a Cafe where we ordered beef noodles and Espresso. That was my first Vietnamese Meal and first experience of having food with Sticks. Not for show off but that was the only option I had :P
We came back to hotel, freshen up and decided to go for a walk around Hoen Kiem Lake. When I reached there, I was literally amazed to see the place. The same Lake which was looking really ordinary in the Afternoon had turned into a beautiful romantic place. There were so many good restaurants around the Lake. Finally, we found our type of Restaurant, A Rooftop Bar with a great Ambience. Time to get High on beers especially, Local ones which you won’t get else where. We tried Hanoi Beer, Wheet as well as Stout Crafted beers. Stout was in the memory of our very own Mr.Pantji ( He always like things which others won’t like ).
Chapter II - Explore the Descending Dragon (Halong Bay) from Cruise
It was time for the main event, the reason why I wanted to visit Vietnam - The Halong Bay. It was one of the most memorable experiences of mine. The place was incredibly beautiful with more than 3000 islands. We were exploring them via Cruise. Cloudy weather had easened our journey a lot. As soon as we left the Bay, I grabbed a chilled beer, a Book and settled my self down on the roof of the Cruise. Day’s agenda was to be relax, have some beer and enjoy the scenery around the Halong Bay. Throughout the trip, They served us delicious food which included beef, prawn, squid, other seafood, fishes, Chicken, pork, paneer & some potatoes for veggies :P.
In the evening, They took us to an island for hiking. I think, it was a 15 mins moderately steep hike. The place was having probably the best View of Vietnam. Just look at it… Isn’t It tempting you to travel to Halong Bay????
I was sweating due to hike and hence went into the water. They had placed ropes in the Ocean and within that limits people were allowed to swim. I swam for half an hour and yeah without Life Jacket :P. Even though the water was bit dirty, it was refreshing. Knowing swimming had opened more doors for me to enjoy the beach life!!!
We went back to the Cruise and from there, they took us for KayaKing. The place was meant for Kayaking. There was a small opening, looked like a Cave. As soon as I crossed it, I was amazed by the View. The place was surrounded by the Mountains from all the directions. It was probably one of the most scenic places you could find for Kayaking. Yeah I had put on my goPro to record this thrilling Kayaking adventure. Done with all the actives and now it was time to relax at the Cruise and do Stargauzing post dinner.
Good morning people…. Agenda for the day was to explore the Cave at some Island and head back to Hanoi. We reached at the island and climbed few steps to reach at the first cave. After seeing it, I was like huh... just a hype because it was bit small. But from that cave, we went to another one and from there to the last one. Size of each cave was 10 times to the previous one. Wow!!! The place was really beautiful and not at all a hype. During the visit, Our guide showed us various structures which were looking like different animals such as Elephants, Turtles, Tigers, Dragon and what not… This might be sounded very boring or childinsh but it was really fun activity to do :D.
The place was called “Descending Dragon” because dragons came from the heaven to destroy the evil but they found this place more beautiful than the heaven and stayed here instead of returning back! Even though it was just a story, I wanted to believe it because I felt the same… I wanted to stay here forever..
Well, It was time to say good bye to these amazing place, Halong bay and return back to the bay and then to Hanoi.
Chapter III - Experience the exotic Golden Bridge & Treditional Hoi An.
If Halong Bay was a reason for me to visit Hanoi then “Golden Bridge” was the reason to skip Sapa and take an extra flight till Da Nang.
It was the penultimate day of this Vietnam leg. Da Nang beach was just opposite to my hotel. So In the morning, I woke up, plugged in the ear phones and headed towards the beach. It was a busy morning where people were running, doing exercises mostly “Yoga” or playing volleyball or other sports. I like to play Volleyball so joined them. post game, I thought of testing my fitness. Here I go... I set 2KMs distance to my current Run in nike+ app and started running. It was refreshing!!! Traveling solo made me observe things and culture around me. I was amazed to see that almost everyone at the beach was having Six pack Abs… Yes I am obsessed with abs but what I meant was, they were really fit :P. Probably due to their amazing life style and food habit.
Post Brunch, It was time for us to visit the place without which traveling to Vietnam won't be completed, “The Golden Bridge”. the place was inside Sun World. it was an amazing Amusement park on the top of hill. We took world’s longest Cable car for it. On the way we crossed many mountain peaks and few waterfalls on th way as well . When we reached at one peak, we could see another one. Every peak looked like it was the last one. After almost 15 mins, We got down at the station. Sun City, here we arrived... It was an Amusement park and type of places, I had never been to. It was amazingly built. I felt like I was at one of the Hollywood movies like Harry porter's set!
We took another cable car for the golden bridge. Due to the dense fog, visibility was very limited. I was wishing for the sunshine so that I could see the view from the bridge. Finally, luck favoured me... All of a sudden clouds were disappeared and sun started shining. Within a minute, fog got cleared. Now I knew why these place was one of the best of Vietnam. The Golden Bridge and view from it was insanely beautiful!!! I walked on it from one end to another multiple times. Like others, I too, took so many pictures with so many funny poses. After a while, It started becoming dark again so, We left and took same cable car for Sun World city. Time to visit the Wax museum. I had never been to Wax museum of this quality and hence, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was bit disappointed to see only Messi and no CR7’s statue there though Maria Sarapova & Transformers especially, OPTIMUS PRIME( Well, Optimus is my adopted name in any games I play) had made amend for it.
It was late evening and time to leave for Hoi An. I heard a lot about Hoi An from my friends and I was really excited for it. Unfortunately, Due to heavy rain, we couldn’t able to explore Hoi An’s night life. It was probably the only disappointment of current trip.
Good Morning people….. It was my last day in Vietnam. it was a solo travel to Hoi An village. My home stay was 400M from AnBang Beach. I woke up early and directly went to beach. Like Da Nang, here too, I observed same things. But I saw many people sleeping inside sand. Surprised??? I thought people do that for fun and that too once in a while but it looked like here locals used to do it daily. I was not sure if it was kind of therapy or something similar.. Anyways, After spending my morning at the beach, It was time to say Good Bye to my two precious as they were having early flight.
Solo part of Hoi An began! Hoi An was an amazing village. All the buildings were painted in dark yellow colour and looking similar. Entire city was decorated with various colorful handicrafts. They decorated it, as if some huge festival was going on. Isn’t it amazing??
Best way to explore a city like Hoi An was either by walk or by cycle. Walking is the best excercise, isn't it? So, I chose to walk. After exploring the city, I went to one the restaurants on the bank of Hoi An river to have my last brunch of Vietnam. On my way back, I did some shopping of local handicraft. I bought fridge magnets and dream catcher… these are the things, I buy as a memory from all my trips.
After spending entire afternoon in Hoi An, It was time to say bye to this incredible city and amazing country Vietnam. Definitely, I will going to miss the people of Vietnam. They were simple, happy and always welcomed me with broad smile.
Off to the last Leg! Thailand Here I come - South East Asia Leg III - Thailand