December 2015: Vietnam – Hanoi – Halong Bay
Horrors! Realised that my last post was 9 months ago! Does time really pass that quickly. Certainly time seems to fly by when you are busy. Life with 2 kids has been quite crazy hectic! This blog is almost being abandoned. But I am determined to keep it going nonetheless …..at the very least, to chronicle precious memories.
Will start the backlog of posts with this belated post of the trip to Hanoi with our cell group last Dec.
It was our first time travelling together with our cell group (apart from church camps!) To be frank, I half regretted the trip on my first day in Hanoi. The traffic on the streets were frightening and there seemed to be no order whatsoever. I wondered if it was the right decision to come here with a baby and 5 year old in tow. After a while, we learnt how to navigate through the traffic. One tour guide said to us, in Vietnam, when you want to cross the road, just close your eyes and walk! And I realised it was quite true in some ways! There is some system in the chaos and somehow, there are hardly any accidents. By the second day, I was more or less used to the traffic and starting to take in the sights of the city of Hanoi.
I have always wanted to visit Vietnam since my university days when I did my honours thesis on Vietnam. Finally I am here! The people are really warm and nice. We stayed in Hotel Legacy and the staff were really warm, hospitable and helpful.
I was really surprised at how many shops there were in the city. It really is a good place for shopping! There are streets lined with shops and different streets sell different merchandise. The street our hotel was on had a lot of shops selling silver. Unfortunately, with 2 kids in tow, I found it difficult to shop on top of having to navigate the traffic with stroller and baby. One of my cell members who loved shopping was raving about the fashionable clothes that were in the shops in Hanoi! I did mainly ‘window shopping’. It wasn’t until the last day that I realised I was running out of time to shop. As such, we really did not buy much on this trip. Had barely enough souvenirs to bring back for family and friends and had to buy some from the airport …..which was more expensive for the same product than at the street shops.
Despite some of us (including me) coming down with a sore throat and flu, it was really a great trip. Enjoyed travelling with my cell family. We managed to spend some precious time together worshipping and praying. They were a great help to us in helping with the kids wherever possible. One of my cell members always held on to Daniel’s hand while we were walking on the streets of Hanoi.
One of the highlights of our trip has to be the Halong Bay cruise. We spent 2 days, 1 night on the cruise, saw the renowned beautiful Halong Bay and also explored a cave.
Food was good too. We ate well! Some of our meals include Vietnamese food, French fine dining and Western. A pity we didn’t managed to eat a good bowl of Pho, other than those at the hotel breakfast spread and on the cruise.
All in, a really great trip and wonderful first taste of Vietnam!