Saturday, March 28, 2009

Trip to Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa

After working for eight weeks, it was great to go on holidays again. This time, hubby and myself booked budget air tickets to go to North Vietnam.
It was indeed a relaxing holiday after that eight weeks of hard work. We spent a total of eight full days not including the night we arrived and the morning we left for the air port.
We were completely satisfied with the hotel, which though small was clean and comfortable.Taking tours from the hotel was not advised by those seasoned travellers on the Internet. However, it turned out to be the right decision as we were satisfied with the tours to Halong Bay and Sapa.
There was ample chance to meet up with fellow travellers to exchange our experiences with one another. Particularly, it was interesting to befriend a French couple from Lyon,an English couple from England besides more acquaintances from other countries such as Australia, Germany and America.
The view at Halong Bay was exhilarating, especially the wonderful staclactites and staglamites at Surprise Cave and the calming effect of the Bay in the light drizzle.
We did a lot of walking at Sapa but the view of the highlands and terraces were inspiring.The overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai or old street was a memorable experience.The return journey seemed less smooth as the train felt as though its carriages were about to disintegrate completely!Memorable too was the happiness expressed by the Canadian sixty- two year old man who had come to Vietnam to meet his sweet heart whom he intended to marry soon. May the Lord bless their marriage.
The trip had been most educational too as we learnt more about the Vietnamese people who were ruled first by the Chinese then by the French.To gain her independence the country had gone through the long Vietnamese war.
Vietnam is still in the process of modernisation. Her people have to work very hard to survive and tourism is one avenue for the people to get out of the poverty cycle.
The water puppet at Hanoi was entertaining and the Vietnamese cuisine was comparable to the food that we eat at home.
The Vietnamese hotel staff pandering to the Westerners seemed disgusting at first till we put ourselves in their shoe and understand their reason for doing so. Once we adjusted our thinking, we were less judgemental and more loving towards these gentle Vietnamese who seek to delight their customers.
All in all, it has been a most wonderful holiday. The Hmong guide at Sapa is one of those whom I will not forget for her perseverance to learn English and enterprisingly looking forward to a better life for herself and her family. She is filled with hope for the future and I know that she will be successful with her perseverance and hard work.

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