Thursday, September 25, 2008

Highlights from Hanoi & Ha Long Bay

I just realized that I never posted pics from Hanoi and Ha Long Bay! It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed myself. I'm pretty sure Tania's favorite part was Ha Long Bay. We took pictures as much as we could, and there's a whole huge set of the pics on Flickr.

I really really loved Hanoi. We ate at all of these awesome restaurants, but we were a little dismayed that the restaurants in the tour books were all restaurants that catered to foreigners. I have to say that our cheapest and most authentic meals came towards the end when we were eating street food on tiny little chairs with motorcycle exhaust blowing up our butts.

Hanoi is a small city, and we walked because we felt like walking would be the safest course of action. Motorcycle taxis were aplenty, as were cyclos and taxis, but none of them seemed to obey any sort of traffic law and we wanted to get out alive. The highlight was really the water puppet show, which was a total deal. My sister said something along the lines of "they could charge stupid Americans 5 times as much and they would still pay."

We left Hanoi for Ha Long Bay in the middle of our trip and it was everything Hanoi was not -- peaceful and serene. We booked an overnight trip on the Santa Maria Cruiser, and it was quite nice as we were two of six guests total on the cruise ship. The ship maxes out at 16 guests, but I imagine it would have been quite crowded with all rooms occupied like that. I don't know how people do Ha Long as a day trip from Hanoi because it's nearly three hours just to get there.

Anyhow, I'm hoping that we get to go back soon. I'd love to go with Joel and the rest of my family and see the rest of Vietnam -- Hue and Saigon especially.

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