Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back to Hanoi..

We arrived at our guest house at about 4.30 pm from Ha Long Bay. After taking shower, without wasting much time, we immediately leave for sight seeing as we were running short of time. We only have one and a half day to explore Hanoi City before leaving for home. Photo: Hoan Kiem Lake
I have a long list of interesting places which I plan to visit. I knew they are somewhere close along the Old Quarter, but walking down Hanoi street is quite confusing as they have too many small streets ahead, horizontally and vertically. Those streets are quite messy with lots of motorbikes, cyclist and cars hooting at each other. The best thing to do is to get a good street map.
Photo: The Army Museum
Photo: The Flag Tower next to the Army Museum
Photo: The Army Museum
Photo: Statue of Vi Le Nin
Photo: busy street... of Hanoi
Photo: Bird's eye view of the Army Museum

Photo: Ngon Son Temple..
Photo: Van Mieu ( Temple Of Literature)
Photo: The Stele Of Doctor Laureates at the Van Mieu

Photo: Inside Temple Of Literature
Photo: Inside the Temple Of Literature
Photo: Frontage of Temple of Literature
Photo: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Photo: Just Me "N" us.. in front of Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum
Photo: At the front of Ho Chi Minh's Museum
Photo: The Shrine next to the One Pillar Pagoda
Photo: Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square

Photo: The Army Office

We left Hanoi on the early morning of 12Th of December 2007 with fond memories..

The Amazing Ha Long Bay

Arrived Hanoi Train station at 4.30 am sharp. Took a taxi straight to Hanoi Guest House. I got the feeling that we got cheated by the taxi driver. He brought us around the city until the meter reads VND70,000. Anyway, when we got to the guesthouse, they were kind enough to allow us have our shower and we took breakfast at the stall next door. At 8.30 am sharp, our van came to pick us up to Ha Long Bay. Our group comprises of 1 German and 2 Singaporean. Quite a small group for a boat with 8 rooms. The journey took 3 hours by road to the jetty.
Our package include all meals (except drinks) plus 1 night accommodation on the boat and entrance fees for Cave visit, swimming at the beach and Kayaking.
Photo: Visiting the Cave
Photo: Kayaking

Photo: At the beach.. but the water was too cold for a swim

Photo: The Amazing Ha Long Bay
Photo: Boat selling sundries and fruits
Overnight on board the boat. Photo: Boat gypsies selling during the night.. including beverages...

Photo: Boat selling in the morning

Had breakfast on the boat. We left for Hanoi after lunch near the jetty. Photo: Fisherman at work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Sapa Adventure - 2nd Day

Right after finishing our breakfast, at 9 am we started trekking down the terrain to Lao Chai and Ta'Van Village. We were told that it would be a 18km walk and nothing else.
The weather was cold and foggy. So taking photos won't be very nice. However, I took many pictures today as I think this place is the most beautiful place I have ever seen even though it's very foggy.

I like the photo above. The H'mong baby and The H'mong mother and the baby. That is why I also put them in my other  Photo Blog. They followed us all the way from the beginning of our journey till the end.
At first we thought they wanted to sell us some souvenirs. But after a few times telling them that we do not need anything for the moment, as we just started our trekking, they just return a smile and kept following us. We never thought that they would come handy as we trek down the hills. Somewhere before we completed our journey, I feel that that they do deserve something as they were  of good help all along the way especially keeping us accompanied walking through the muddy track up and down the slippery hill. Funny thing is that they didn't even ask for anything towards the end of the journey. So, we offer to buy some stuffs from them without bargaining. We know other tribes are willing to offer us half the price for the same stuffs, but we just want to give her and the baby something as a gesture of their kindness to us. From her look, I knew she was  happy for for what she received.
Our first stop, for a short break.. around 10 am and it is still very foggy....
..... walking down the hill..., luckily I bought the walking stick from the H'mong kids. Didn't expect they sold something with that purpose... ..... it's down.. and still down... the hill...
.... and down, with the help of the H'mong lady and a young girl...
Beautiful scenery all the way... still foggy
..... no sweat....
.... never stop taking photos...
wow..!!! a photo of me.. the owner of this blog !
One photo of the H'mong mother with the baby behind her back..
The entourage invading the Sapa Village..
Oopps, be careful... very slippery and muddy...

Stop for a photo or for a rest ..??
Me and my super walking stick....
Let's have some fun and some more photos....
See.. we are at the very end of the mountain...
Never say tired... the trekking is rewarding....
Finally reach the resting point. The guide prepare for our meal at the valley...
... some more time for taking more pictures...
This is one of the best picture I have taken... It's like a painting, isn't it ?
Well, on the move again...
When we were reaching Lao Chai Village, a group of tribe people waiting for our arrival trying to sell us something..
Reaching Ta'Van Village...

It seems like every stop have nice scenery to offer...
We reached the final stop at around 4 pm. A bus came to pick us up to return to the hotel.
From today's trekking, I knew I gain a lot memories. Something that I will always remember and treasured...
Last hour shopping... and taking photos before going back...
Taking a photo of a barbecued dog's meat at the Market..
Well last picture of Sapa. We left Sapa at 5.30 pm for Lao Cai Train Station. Stop at a restaurant for a plate of Fried Kueh Teow before catching up with the 8.15 pm train back to Hanoi.