Hanoi & Halong Bay

A highlight of my entire time in Vietnam was an overnight stay on a junk boat in Halong Bay.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.12.29 PM

The photos speak for themselves (although I seem to have misplaced the rest of the shots I took!) and the landscape here is really one of a kind.

My group spent some time kayaking in addition to hanging out on our rooftop, swimming and hiking up into a cave at one of the stops the boat made.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.10.52 PM

Vietnam’s capital Hanoi is the perfect place to base yourself for a trip to Halong Bay and I have to say I preferred the vibe here over the much busier Ho Chi Minh City.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.15.02 PM
Our hotel’s street

We stayed in the Old Quarter which has heaps of dining options at its door and at night time this area hosts a popular night market.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.13.28 PM
The markets

In regards to sightseeing our guided tour began with a visit to the Temple of Literature, which was a definite must see.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.16.21 PM

Dedicated to Confucius, the temple dates back to 1070 and is the site of Vietnam’s first university.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.16.11 PM

Today you can walk around its tranquil gardens and learn about the scholarly life which went on here while observing some lovely traditional artefacts too.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.15.54 PM
I particularly love the design of the Đông Sơn drums

Make sure you check out Hoan Kiem Lake while in town where people from all over hang around the focal point of Turtle Tower, the small structure which stands alone in the middle of it.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.16.35 PM

Ho Chi Minh’s masoleum is also located in Hanoi and quite impressive to behold.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.11.07 PM

To cap off our busy day we viewed a traditional water puppet show, a form of entertainment dating back to the 11th century.

Besides the wooden puppets the best part of seeing the show is the live Vietnemese music played alongside the display – it’s simply beautiful to hear.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.11.19 PM

While I saw the Hoa Lo Prison (Maison Centrale) from the outside, if I’d had more time I would’ve liked to have returned for a tour inside the building which was used as a prison for Americans during the Vietnam War and also held Vietnamese under French rule.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.13.37 PM

This isn’t unique to Hanoi but I especially noticed it in the city – there seems to be an unhealthy amount of electrical wiring when you turn your eyes upwards.

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.14.51 PM

If you’re visiting Vietnam a trip to the north to see both Halong Bay and Hanoi is well worth the journey.

Next time I’d like to add Sapa to the itinerary too!

Screen shot 2015-08-16 at 11.17.00 PM

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Hanoi & Halong Bay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s