The third and last part of our 3-part backpacking trip in Vietnam is in the capital city of Hanoi.
Spending a day or two in Hanoi can make you busy with long walks around the lake, trying out cooking classes, food trips, sipping coffee, and shopping. We could have done all that on our first day but the universe has other plans for us, like for example, sleeping all afternoon inside the hotel room.
After the van ride from the airport, we found ourselves navigating the streets of Hanoi’s busy old town to find our hotel. All thanks to Google maps it wasn’t that difficult to find our way, only we had to walk a bit more than what I expected. I realized then how the town was different than what I imagined it to be. I was thinking of a more peaceful place than what seemed to be like the Divisoria we found ourselves into. But anyway, it was our first day and I was sure it’ll be better than that.
When we were sure where our hotel was located, we decided to eat our lunch first. We shared a filling noodle meal called the Bun Bo Nam Bo in a noodle house near our hotel.
After our meal, we headed straight to the hotel only to be greeted by another mishap in our whole trip… I booked the wrong date for our hotel room! (face palm). I was so embarrassed and I felt really bad about that but I was very thankful that the hotel staff was very kind to let us have a room in a different hotel (same management) without paying for additional fees.
Adding to all the things that are bad enough, my companion was having a fever. It may perhaps be because of all the biking he did in Hoi An (with me sitting behind him on the bike) the day before. We spent all afternoon resting, with him taking paracetamol tablets and sleeping, and me giving him TSB and trying to make a comfortable environment for him while feeling guilty inside because of having caused a bit of trouble a few times during the trip 😀 Well, life’s just teaching me lessons every day and some parts of this trip are some of life’s lessons I may not forget. 🙂
I let the afternoon come and go, the sun fell, and the sky was dark when my companion started to feel better (yey!). That night, we went out for dinner and tried out this Bun Cha as recommended by the hotel staff. I enjoyed it! My companion didn’t like it that much but it was good enough for me.
After dinner we walked around the old town. We did a few shopping from the cheap stores found everywhere.
The walk we had that night was a little relaxing. And I remember enjoying the sights that night.
In Hanoi, we did not miss the famous boat cruise on Ha Long Bay.
Our trip took 2 days and 1 night. We left the hotel around 7 in the morning and took the bus. From afternoon to lunch time the next day, we sailed along the beautiful Ha Long Bay.
Our junk boat wasn’t the best but it was good enough for what we paid for. I can’t remember how many of us were there but I enjoyed the time when I got to meet other travelers and share chit chats with them. It’s always good to meet new friends, more so when they share the love of going on adventures and being in new places every now and then. Not everything was perfect though because sometimes it can really be awkward and uncomfortable especially when you don’t share the same definition of fun or because they don’t speak the language you know. But I realized how fun it is when you do and interesting conversations just flow right in.
The whole afternoon, we enjoyed the beautiful view of Ha Long Bay, sip on our soda, eat and relax. I also got to jump (a little) and swim and kayak that afternoon. At night, we’ve had free flowing beer, everyone was speaking to each other and as far as I can remember, I had so much fun talking and laughing.
The next days, with a mango and a plastic of spicy salt on our hands, and sometimes a cheap (but really good!!!) cup of ca phe sua da bought in the streets, we did a walking historical tour of the city of Hanoi.
We spent our last day of the trip spending our money on food. We went to Hanoi’s crowded spots for street foods and we splurged on grilled meat and seafood to cap off our last night in Vietnam.
We have used our legs well on this trip, walking miles and miles to places we think we needed to see in this country, some of them I failed to connect with but some of them has touched my traveler heart. Tourists and backpackers were everywhere in this country but it was nice to feel at some point in this trip that being a tourist means you have a different place that you call home and God has blessed you with such an opportunity to see and learn how it feels like to be in the home of others.
This Vietnam trip was a memorable 8 days of my 2015. I am grateful to the Lord for keeping us safe all throughout despite the little challenges we faced. Like in every aspect of our lives, everything becomes all good in our memories because of the company we keep.