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Part 2 of the girls trip

sunny 100 °F

Day 5 Malaysia to Vietnam June 13 Lisa’s 60th birthday! It's good to have someone older than me!

Day of travel. We flew to Kuala Lumpur, had some breakfast and the boarded our 3 hour flight to Hanoi, Vietnam. 4 hours total travel time, but with all the connections and getting there and back, it takes time. Not the favorite part of traveling for me.

We had a taxi waiting for us at the airport and took us to a lovely hotel. Hanoi L’Heritage. It was a beautiful older hotel with very clean rooms. Malaysia needs to take some pointers from Vietnam. We dropped our things and left to walk around the busy city, trying not to get hit from all the traffic. We ate dinner at this fancy restaurant called Grandma's Kitchen, and the food was so flavorful and tasty. What a beautiful setting. We over ate, and although it was an expensive place, our total bill for all of us was 60$ US.

Day 6 Vietnam June 14

After a yummy breakfast at the hotel, that included real bacon, we were picked up by the Dragon Legend Cruise company and taken to Halong Bay. The ride took 3.5 hours and we had wifi, somewhat spotty, but chargers too.
We stopped at a tourist trap and I told everyone not to buy anything here, that we could get it in the market cheaper, but I didn’t listen to myself. LOL. There were about 30 people with disabilities that were making these beautiful silk handmade sewn pieces of art that looked like painting. I fell in love with one. It started at 1000$ US But, I got it down to 550$. The workers make 150$ a month working everyday. I hope they get a bonus when something sells. The lady that made my piece was a deaf/mute. The only regret I have is that it doesn’t fit in my suitcase and I have to carry it around for the next 18 days. (But I fixed that on the way back. They repacked it for me.)

We stopped and were shown a water puppet show and had lunch.

We arrived about noon and got onto the boat. Melissa and I had taken this same company cruise back in December and froze. We were looking forward to the same accommodations, and warmer temperatures. We had done the 2 day, one night cruise. But this time we did the 3 day, 2 night one. Imagine our surprise when we saw the room and realized how small it was. And with only 1 bed. But we managed. Once we were getting on the kayaks and Melissa was on first and a lady said wait for her partner. LOL. I had to set her straight. Pun!


They fed us such wonderful food. So many fresh veggies and fresh fish. We also had pork and beef. Lisa is a vegan now, but they catered to her and she had plenty to eat. 3 substantial meals a day.

We spent our time relaxing on the deck, kayaking and swimming in the bay. And enjoying the fantastic views and the 1969 islands in this area. The water was warm and wonderful to swim in, but there were a lot of jellyfish and one lady got stung.
There were 16 people on the boat, plus the crew. Australia and the French and Americans and Asians, and Malaysian. No kids. Which was nice. One guy is here from back east. He is a tennis coach in the Maldives. Worked 4 months on, and then travels the rest.

The last day we went to a fishing village. These people used to live in caves, but the government kicked them out and now they live in these floating villages. Bung Bieng lagoon is where they stay because of the calm waters. 2700 fishermen. 7 fishing villages.
The people catch Mackerel, grouper, squid, sea bass and oysters. It takes them 4 hours to get to the city, or 5-6 hours with waves and weather.
One family fishes 12 hours a day earning 260k dong or 12 dollars a day. They buy three main things. Fresh water, diesel and rice. Little veggies. They eat mostly rice and fish.
One drum of water costs $1.50 and lasts about 3 days. They use the drums to take fish to Halong City, and then fill the empty drums with water.
The floating school opened 1994-2014. Kids were needed for fishing, so many of them didn’t attend. The children were expected to work from ages 6-16, and were married at 16 by arrangement. They buy the couple a new boat and they live next door.
The floating school has closed down, and now the government brings the kids to the mainland for school. They live in the city Monday-Friday, and then come home on the weekend. 95% of the people in the villages can’t read or write.

We enjoyed our 2nd trip to Halong Bay, and both trips were similar. I’d recommend taking this trip one time with the 2 night, 3 day trip.
We headed back in the van and were dropped off at La Suite Hotel in Hanoi. This hotel I wouldn’t recommend. Very small rooms, and Melissa and I get to share a bed….again…but at least it’s a king size.

We ate at a local street restaurant called 72. We had yummy Pho and fresh egg rolls. The dinner, which was totally filling was only 4.50$ each.

Then we went to the street market and did some shopping for various things, like cards and clothes and coconut bowls. And to top off the night we had massages at the hotel for $15.

Day 7 Hanoi
June 17

We were up early this morning and enjoyed breakfast at the hotel before heading to find The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. We paid a grab to take us, about a 30 minute drive for 5$. Although the website said 8:30, it didn’t start until 9. The branch president and his wife came in on a motorbike. It was fun to see an older couple from Arizona come to church that way. There were 3 sets of missionaries and even sister missionaries. One of the sisters was from Cedar Hills, but not in my ward. It is such a small world.
The speakers spoke in Vietnamese, and the missionaries translated. It was a good meeting. And I especially enjoyed the primary children when they sang, “I’m trying to be like Jesus.”

We headed back to the hotel and then went out for a walk. About 10,000 steps of a walk. Which was nice after sitting on a boat for 3 days. We shopped, and shopped and walked and finally found our first destination, Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton. What a somber visit. It was portrayed as being a nice place for the American Soldiers. A place where they were treated well. Hmmm

Next we walked and walked more and came to The Temple of Literacy. This was a beautiful garden built in honor of Confucius. Well worth a visit, but probably better when you’re not so tired and hot.

We finished and got a Grab back to the hotel and ate at the same restaurant as yesterday, called 72, or also called A New Day. More Pho and vegetarian spring rolls. Delicious and fresh. This evening I stayed in and relaxed while the girls went out and did more shopping. Sometimes you just need some downtime

Day 8 June 18 Monday

We slept in today and had breakfast about 8. Then it was off for more adventures. First we took a golf cart tour around Old Town for an hour. Then we caught a Grab over to West Lake and took another golf cart tour around the lake. It took an hour to get around the the lake it was so large. We checked out a pagoda there. Then caught a grab back to the hotel and had some lunch. Then more shopping. Never ending shopping. And tired feet.

Tonight we ate dinner at a more fancier restaurant called Butter Butterfly. It had good ratings on Trip Advisor. The meat eaters had the set meal, and it was so much food for about 17$ each. A little more shopping and then we headed back to pack and get ready to leave early in the morning.

Vietnam has been an exciting adventure. The streets are always busy with never-ending traffic. And in all our rides we have never seen an accident, which is totally amazing as there are hardly any traffic lights. The people have been kind and friendly, and even though the weather has been terribly hot and humid, we have been able to enjoy the air con at the hotel. I did run into a guy today that we met on the way here. He is a teacher from Kuala Lumpur. He told me he was walking and a motorcycle went my him and stole his phone. Bummer. He decided to cut his trip short and head back to KL tomorrow. Things like this really put a damper on things. And reminds us to be more careful as we walk around.

We enjoyed some durian. It didn't taste as bad as some I've had in the past.

Posted by dianeski4 00:46 Archived in Vietnam

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