Vietnam: Tales From The North

Leaving the tropical weather behind us, we flew to Singapore to transfer to Hanoi, Vietnam.

When we flew into Hanoi the pilot told us about the weather outside before landing… “We shortly arrive to Hanoi airport, the temperature outside is 5C”… Wait? WHAT?

We just sended 10 kilo’s of winter clothing back home!!!

You dear readers must be like, “5C, big deal”.

You’re right, when you have some heating in your home and warm clothing than it’s ok 🙂 but in our situation we had a bit of a termo-shock!

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Okay, okay, enough wining about the weather, back to our trip:

Hanoi is the capitol of Vietnam. A big city with a really nice city centre. And ofcourse a big history. We had to visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh (the great leader who freed Vietnam from the French). A strange experience to get to see the embalmed body of a Vietnamese hero. When you enter the mausoleum, you can’t bring anything with you, no backpack or camera whatsoever. With at least a dozen guards explaining you to be quiet and take of your headware and ofcourse to keep on walking at all times, you get to enter the marble tomb where Ho Chi Minh rests. Really impressive sight. With the symbols of communism and the flag of Vietnam madeout of marble in the backwall surrounded by four guards in the center. And like that, after maybe 10 seconds your back outside again.

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Next to the mausoleum lays the Ho Chi Minh Museum. A museum about Ho Chi Minhs ideology on Vietnams politics. This museum got ourselves very confused. Vietnam looks communistic… But in the museum was only spoken about socialism and democratics. But hey! Atleast they didn’t mix politics with Picasso and Mondriaan… Haha they actually did so. Confusing, confusing…

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When we got outside rain was pouring down. And luckily we knew 2 places in Hanoi with heating and one of the places ‘Petit Paris’ also had some good coffee. So we stayed there as long as it was acceptable.

The Old Quarter of Hanoi is lovely. A lot of shops, restaurants, streetfood, motorbikes, motorbikes and motorbikes. And the food is amazing.

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After Hanoi we went to Ha Long Bay where we got upgraded from a 3 to 4 star cruise. We got picked up from our hotel and drove with a group of lovely tourist to the harbour of Ha Long. We got on the boat and our room was amazing, seaview out of the window, a great bathroom and some heating! Dispite of the shitty weather the people on the boat were awesome. A lot of karaoke, british humour, conversations and way too much food. Good times!

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We took a nightbus to Hué the old capitol of Vietnam. For the ones that saw Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Askaban, the sleeping busses are actually pretty similair to the Knight Bus (Collecte Bus).

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After 14 hours we arrived and got some breakfast and went to visit the Emperor’s Citadel. Around the same size as the Forbidden City in Beijing (see our first post about Beijing). It was still in use in the early 1900’s. The last emperor of vietnam lived till 1997. Which I found pretty cool. I was unaware of any Emperors living in the 1900’s whatsoever.

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We ended up in Hoi An a lovely decor of a city in the middle of Vietnam. The first day we rented a bike and cycled to the beach where we spended the whole day baking and grilling our body’s and sometimes got into some heavy Frisbee matches. The next couple of days the sky got a bit cloudy so we decided to rent a scooter and drive to My Son. The beautifull temples in the middle of the mountains where stunning. Their red bricks in contrast to the green mountains just great! After getting back in Hanoi save I promised to never ever drive a motorcycle in Vietnam ever again. The traffic is just nuts!

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February the 3rth, a very special day for a very special girl. Julie turned 28 and I planned out a nice way to spend the day, we started with a nice walk through the ricefields to end up in a nice coffee house with a birthday cake a candle and in the afternoon a massage by a professional (not me haha). Ofcourse we had a nice Europian dinner (Lasagne) and some 20ct beers. Yes beer is pretty cheap 🙂

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In part 2 you’ll read about: russians, crazy busdrivers, swans and loads more!

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