Vietnam Grand Tour
"Ariving at Hanoi -27.1"
27.1 We arived at Hanoi in the evening, 6 tired people, after a whole day on the way, airoplanes and aorports. We met our great guide for the area:Mr Tran Tuan Anh. I knew him only from the internet. We planned this tour together for about half a year. He was very pasionet and helpfull during the process and we were anxious to meet him at last. Supper at the night food market, and too our hotel. Melia Hanoi, nice 5 stars hotel
"Around Hanoi - 27,28.1"
The one and a half next days were spent in Hanoi. The HoChiMinh museleum, the park with his house, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Litraure, the old city, The market, a beautiful vegeterian restaurant, and strolling in the street
"Halong bay - 28,29.1"
Afternoon we started our way to Halong bay. The roads are not so good, many of them under constructuion. Nevertheless we (our driver) had to pay for going on them. Late afternoon we go to Halong city. in the evening we stroled the main street and had a nice seafood dinner. HaLong Plaza was a nice hotel to stay in. next morning during breakfast we met in the dinning room an Israeli fan. Good to know there are still some of them around. The highlight of the day was of course the boat sailing in the bay. A whole big boat for us, asstonishing scenary, so beautifull and peacefull, and wonderfull seafood lunch cooked fresh on the boat. What else can you ask for?
After the boat ride, back to Hanoi. through rice fields and markets on the way. In the evening, a special dinner at a vegeteria restaurant in the old city, and then, the night train to LaoCai. On the train Dany slept with the girls and Mike and Izo with Tuan Anh shared a cabin with a chunese guy
"Sapa - 30.1.2003"
Arived at LaoCai, at 6a.m. not with much sleep on the way (although we had a soft sleep cabin) We were 7 people, and there are 4 berts in a cabin so there was a chinese guy with us. the 40 km' from LaoCai to Sapa took more then 2 hours, mostly on gravel road. The sceneray as we climbed up was beautifull. The Victoria Sapa hotel was very nice, and after a short freshening up, we went to visit the market, and from their to the Catcat falls. That night we celebrated Miki's 60th birthday at the hotel's restaurant. It was fabulus. with all the food and the drinks, it cost abour $25 pp.
"Sapa - TaVan - 31.1,1.2.2003"
We starte the day b decending from Sapa to LaoChai, a Black Hmong village. Our local guide was Viet who was very knowledgable about the area. We crossed the bridge over the river and trecked our way through beautiful scenary to the village of TaVan. Viet and our hosts were preparing dinner, while we were resting at a banks of the river.
The ride to BAcHa took 3 hours, although it is only 70km away. The roads are bad, but the scenary is beautifull. We stayed at the best hotel in BacHa, which is about 2-3 *. Hot water in the bathroom is limited, so we had to take turns showering. We had a dinner at the hotel restaurant, some speacial Tet soop, with pork meat(and fat)and bambooshots, and ofcourse the usual springrolls, which we love so much. Next morning we went out for a stroll in the village. Because of Tet, the famouse market didn't take place. On the fravel road, hundreds of people, especialy Flower Hmong, were heading to the village center, all in new beautifull dresses. The plum trees blooming around on the teraces, were beatifull. One family invited us to their home, and we had to drink alcohil again. Cooming back to the village center, it was full of celebrating people, enjoing the beautifull day. In the afternoon, bac to LaoCai, with a stop for a boat ride in the river, and then the night train back to Hanoi
"Vilages around Hanoi 3.2"
That was a prety bussy day, we started with a potery village, where we bought some more presents, to aother pagoda, then to the snake village for a snake meal, and in the evening the water puppet show. Next morning to the airport, we flew to Hue
"Hue Marble Mountain to Hoi An 4.2, 5.2.2003"
Inn the morning we flew to Hue.Lan waited for us and after a lunch in a tourist restaurant (awful) we visited the forbidden city. In the evening we asked Lan for a local dinner, so she arranged a dinner coocked fresh for us on a boat sailing on the Perfume river. It was pouring rain outside, but very nice and cozy on the bouth, and the owner family was very freindly. Dinner was greeat, and the whole aveture cost less then 10$p.p. We slept at the Huong Giang hotel, and when Izo took his massage they offered him (again) another type of massage.
Next morning we went to Visit the TuDuc Tomb and the pagoda of Thien Mu during a guided boat trip on the Perfume River. At noon we went for a stroll in the market and bought some "neckleses" of lotus seeds. After lunch we left Hue and drove from Hue to DaNang via Hai Van mountain pass, to the Marble mountain. Visited a local marble shop, and argued, if the sculptures where reak marble or some plaster coated with marble dust. Anyway, they are beautifull. We went in to the Marble mountain site although Lan tryed to discourage us because of the many steps. It was very nice and we were glad we visited it. Drove further into the night through small villages, with small (empty) houses, all with open dors so we could picked inside. Arrived at Hoi An to the Victoria Hotel