Hanoi, Halong and Tam Coc – A Journey to Nature

We have new article from our guest writer, Angelo who will share his experience for his trip to Hanoi and nearby last January. Hope you enjoy and useful for your upcoming trip.

Our trip to Hanoi was during the last week of January.  It was nice weather for touring around Hanoi, since it is still considered winter, and which feels around 15 – 18 deg Celsius.   Majority of the day are cloudy and dim, aside from short rains in the some part of the day.

Our first meal in Hanoi is their tasty: Bun Cha which consists of rice noodles, a tasty sauce dip with grilled pork belly, spring roll, and fresh herbs.  There are several road side food stalls around Old Quarter, just pick wherever your feet leads you ­- just like us.
Bun Cha
Bun cha

Touring around Old Quarter, French Quarter, and around Hoa Kiem Lake needs 3-4 hours walk.  To get to know more about the place, we hired the service of “Hanoi Kids Free Guided Tour” which assigned us 2 of their volunteer college student guides: Bin and Sufi Kun.
With Guide
Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is also interesting to visit, but needs to take a taxi from Old Quarter.
HCMM

Along French Quarter, we pass by an ice cream parlor: Kem Trang Tien – Their ice cream is similar to sorbetes in Philippines.
Ice cream

Aside from the scenic places, they also brought us to try their “Egg Coffee”
Egg Coffee

At the end of the tour, we handed them a small gift as token of appreciation for their time and effort in bringing us around Hoa Kiem Lake, Old Quarter and French Quarter.
Group Pic

Halong Bay and Halong on land

A must visit when travelling to Hanoi is off course the Halong Bay. On our second day, we joined daytrip to Halong Bay, which takes us 4 hours to go there and upon arriving we boarded the cruise to have simple lunch.

After the lunch, we step out of the ship cabin to see the rock formation around the Bay.
Halong
Halong
Halong

The famous rock formation here is this which shapes like “Joss stick” which is also printed in their 200K note.
Halong
Halong

It was believe that whoever passed through this rock will be lucky! We also entered one of the cave in Halong, Dong Thein Cung.
Halong cave

The entire Halong Bay cruise took 4 hours, and after the trip back to Hanoi is another 4 hours.  It was quite a tiring day, but for those who want to be more relax you can join the 2d/1n cruise which costs from 80 US$ to several hundred US$ (depend on the luxury cruise ship); while the daytrip costs us 30-35USD per pax.

On our third day, we joined the day trip to Tam Coc  – which is also known as Halong on Land. The first stop is Hoa Lu – The Ancient Capital of Vietnam during 10th and 11th centuries.

The area included defensive earthen walls (ideal natural defense), palaces, temples and shrines, and was surrounded and protected by mountains of limestone.
Hoa Lu road
Hoa Lu
Hoa Lu
Hoa Lu

Today, the ancient citadel no longer exists.  Visitors can see temples built in honor of the emperors Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh.
Hoa Lu Temple
Hoa Lu Temple

Next stop is to Nin Binh – Tam Coc, we had buffet lunch, and after we just cross the road and took the paddle boat to navigate along the river surrounded by the stunning rock formation (took around 45 minutes return trip).
Tam Coc
Tam Coc
Tam Coc
Tam Coc
Tam Coc

Very unique way of paddling the boat :
Paddle Boat

After the magnificent view of the rock formation from the small boat, we then took a bicycle ride along the rice paddies which made the trip more fun and enjoyable (even if it rains).
Biking
Biking
Biking
Biking

For most of us, we enjoyed the Tam Coc daytrip more than the Halong Bay Cruise, since the travel time to Ninh Binh is only 3 hours, and you can get near the rock formation, and get closer to nature.  Day trip to Ninh Binh – Tam Coc costs us 25 USD per pax.

Night life in Hanoi

Night
Night
Night
Night

Note: at night, the Hanoi City police ensure all establishments to close at 12 midnight, they would round the city with megaphone and announcing to the business establishment to close shop.

So night life is shorter but safer.

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2 Responses to Hanoi, Halong and Tam Coc – A Journey to Nature

  1. agnes heng says:

    may i know the name of the tour company for your trip to ninh bing/tam coc?
    is it a big bus or small van?
    thanks.

  2. Gelo says:

    We bookm from hotel, its a group tour not private tour, Mini bus was used.

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