After playing Command & Conquer Game for years, this is my first time seeing propaganda tower speakers (see red circles) attached on street lamp poles.
Although the war is long ended, these speakers still there must be serving some purposes. I had never seen any of these back in my country.
Well, Halong Bay is not exactly off the beaten path as many people go to Hanoi JUST to visit the famous World Heritage Site but is far from Hanoi and for the short term visitor, it just may become a non-must see. But for those with the time and not minding a hording of tourists, it is certainly one of the great sights of Vietnam. Set in the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, the stand out feature is a series of tiny islands with mountainous terrain. The scenery is storybook stuff and as an added interest, there are numerous illuminated caves you can explore as well. Though it can be visited as an independent traveler, it is much easier and perhaps even cheaper to do it on a group tour from Hanoi. Just remember it is a 3.5 hour trip one way so a day trip is not really worth it unless very pressed for time. You can arrange multi-day trips and we did one where you can stay right on the boat in the bay. Details for such trips are in my accommodations guide of this page so check it out if interested. It’s cheap and well worth it. And this comes from someone that had awful weather. Remember also that Halong Bay is famous for bad weather. The summers are stormy and the winters drizzly. Go in spring if you can arrange it and good luck.
Get your supplies before TET
Before the TET festival, locals are busy buying up everything they will need during the actual festival days. Prices go up the closer you go to TET and during TET, you are at everyone's mercy so stock up. We bought five liter bottles of water and refiled our smaller bottles to carry around with us. This saved us a lot of money and if you have a fridge in your room, buy some fruits and snacks in case you find yourself with no food during TET. Pay 15,000 dong ($1) for a five liter bottle of water.
City View Cafe
The City View Cafe is in a 5 story building just north of Hoan Kiem Lake, and across the first street. It sits at a major 5-way intersection with a rotary that will keep you entertained for at least 2 or 3 beers. There are several restaurants and bars here. The City View Cafe is a restaurant/bar on the roof that has open air dining and a fine view of Hoan Kiem Lake and the rest of the city.
A total Rip Off!!!!
A total rip off, one of the most extreme I have experienced, even here in Hanoi.
The date: March 10th,09.
Starting from the rude madam at he door who snapped at us as we entered the main downstairs part of the restaurant, and subsequently forced us up a narrow wooden staircase to an upper level where there were a few tables left in this grubby run down area obviously not designed for dining and possibly a storeroom, but used as a back up area for the GREEDY owners to stuff in even more dumb ass tourists...
Maybe we though with great expectations it will STILL BE great.
I got suss when an unspeaking male person threw onto the table a plastic coated notice stating the cost is Vnd 10,000 and its just that, and nothing else is available.
Well my Lonely Planet copy says VND 8,000 but that no surprise once Lonely Planet puts these places in their book prices always soar.
Still we waited with great expectation to try these reccommended Fish feast at this hyped up so called 200 yr old establishment.
What we got was a maybe 500 VND [50 cents] worth of food, being 7 pieces of so called fish per person , no bigger than my small finger nail, [I do not jest] and not much thicker than a postage stamp, with a few greens, heaps of Oil and tossed in a hot dish with a fire under it by the young guy servicing the table.
We felt totally ripped off, and looked around at all the other wanker tourists being politically correct.
My gripe is not about the dump itself, or the rude Greedy owners, thats character, but the outragious exorbitant price asked for a few very boring scraps of food and the way they keep filling the place with these stupid tourists is my gripe..
I know when Im getting screwed, Ive been in the restaurant buss long enough to know costs, so we left to do battle with the madam at the reception who we told them it was crap for the almost A$10 per person asked.
After a lot of yelling back and forth,and the head madam getting more backup support at the reception to try to intimidate us, we eventually got bored with arguing and threw half the amount asked on the desk ,and walked out. Even at VND5,000 each we left, that was 5 time more than it was worth.
The place is also a FIRETRAP there being NO way we could exit down the narrow steep attic stairway if one of the blazing fire cookers on each table fell over.
How do these crooks get away with these rip offs.
You know how these rip off artists keep getting away with it, dumb first time tourists, being too politically correct, and not complaining! You mjust be Kidding!!