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Monday, November 24, 2014

Hanoi and Halong Bay - November 2014

We took a quick trip to Vietnam to see a bit of Hanoi and Halong Bay.

Click on an image to see a larger version.

We had an early flight to Hanoi so we spent the night near Bangkok's Don Mueang airpot. This is happy hour at the hotel bar (Henry J Bean's).

In Hanoi we spent one night at the Sofitel Legend Metropole.  It's a beautifully restored French Colonial hotel that first opened in 1901.

Lunch at a small local restaurant not far from the hotel. 

This is bun cha which is a grilled pork soup served with noodles and fresh condiments. 

Hanoi still has lots of old colonial structures.

Fruit sellers

Bia Hoi is fresh draft beer that is cheap and available throughout Vietnam. It costs about US$0.25 a pint, and is low in alcohol and carbonation.

Early morning delivery of fresh French rolls.

On to Halong Bay

A launch takes us to our boat in Halong Bay. We spent three days and two nights on the Royal Heritage "junk".

First stop was Sung Sot cave. Huge with many beautiful chambers, but incredibly crowded with trouists.

View from the trail to Sung Sot cave.

Second stop was a beach for a late afternoon swim and/or relaxation.

Lots of boats and tourists at the swimming beach.

Happy Hour at the bar on the Royal Heritage.

Upper sun deck. The sails are just for show.

Lots of shots of Halong Bay

The "junks" hoist their sails only in this one bay near Sung Sot cave.

There are a very few fishermen about.

Paddling a kayak at Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island

Floating minimart caters to tourists and sells food, drink and souvenirs. 

Back in Hanoi

Back in Hanoi we took a couple of long walks. This is a communal spirit house.

Another communal house.

The communal houses often have very plain or hidden entrances which conceal very elaborate shrines on the inside.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

In The Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature

More street food: Bun Cha (grilled pork with noodles) and Nem Ran (crisp spring rolls)

Banyan tree consumes communal house gate

Hanoi traditional drug store

Vietnam-style drip coffee. This one was very strong and sweet. And yes, yours truly "Mr Clumsy", made a mess of it.

Traffic at Khách Sạn City Gate
Final Happy Hour at Mao's Red Lounge bar, Hanoi