Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vietnam–Day 1

We had to report to the airport pretty early on Saturday. Group travel is all about being courteous…which includes being on time. There were eleven of us making this journey. It was quite a diverse group, with one of our travelers coming from the US just for the trip!

The flight to Hanoi is just over an hour and a half. I’ve said before it is one of the great attractions of HK…we are so close to so many great places. Places I probably never would have visited if it were not for this opportunity.

We land and are met by our Tour Guide for the week. His name is Thong (pronounced Tong). He was born in Vietnam but speaks with a suspiciously British accent. He told us he perfected his English speaking skills by listening to the BBC. THAT explains it.

Our first day in Hanoi is rainy. We had a very full day planned.


These are just a couple pics snapped from the bus. I learned pretty quickly this was a waste of time and battery. You do get the gist of what a grey day it was.

Our first stop was the Temple of Literature (also known as the Temple of Confucius). It was the first University and at one time was the capital of Vietnam (about 1000 hours ago). It has been restored several times.




The picture just above this shows a layout of what the University was like when students studies here. The phoenix and the turtle are very important and are considered lucky. Students would study, and if they passed their exams, they got their names engraved on wood plaques.

After a rainy stop here, we stopped and had lunch at Cha Ca La Vong. This place has one dish. “Cha Ca fish dish” It is almost like a “hot pot'” dish where the fish is cooked right there. Greens are added with spices YUM.


My first meal here and it ROCKED!

After lunch we went to the Vietnam Museum of History. I did not take any pictures on the inside…but here is the outside:


It is a typical museum…from the stone age on. It never ceases to amaze me that wherever I am, the first “weapons” you see in museums are arrowheads!

Next we took a rickshaw ride! I got in the second rickshaw, but my guy took off first! SOOOO…as we moved through the streets and had to turn or go through an intersection, I was the one taking it for the team!

IMG_1005 IMG_1021

As crazy as it was, this is a terrific way to see the city! When we would come back to Hanoi later in the week, I recognized so many places just from this half an hour ride



You can buy anything on the streets. The colors were great. The city SO busy! I loved it.

We checked into a “day use” hotel for a couple of hours to shower and freshen up. We walked the city a little bit more before going to Bobby Chinn’s for dinner (YUM)! It is a quirky place:

IMG_1036This is the 10 stages of Drunkenness a la Bobby Chinn.

IMG_1030The entrance of the restaurant


Just two of the dishes.

After dinner, we were leaving for the overnight train to Lao Cai, Bac Ha and Sapa,…but WAIT


We found the wine store! A collective decision was made to buy a case of wine “for the road!” (To be consumed at the resort @ Sapa!)

I already knew that this was my type of crowd….but THIS stop…SEALED IT!

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