A 13-day adventure by Vander Wonders
  • Day9

    Arrived at Signature Royal

    January 21, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    After a 4 hour drive from Hanoi we arrive at the Signature Royal for the start of our 3 day/2 night cruise of Halong bay.

    Halong Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence.

    Just from the harbour we can see the maze of limestone structures that will enchant us for the next 3 days.

    We are excited!

    {Roedolf}
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  • Day8

    Chops

    January 20, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    "A Burger is not a Burger is not a Burger!" Quoting Hardus Oberholzer for the third time on this trip. However we have proved it over and over again on this trip.

    First in Florida when we quoted Hardus at the food truck, then again in Sydney Aus at Benbry, and again at Fergburger in Queenstown NZ and now even in Hanoi Vietnam at the Chops restaurant !

    After some epic failures on both breakfast and lunch today we were very hungry and wanted to make sure we eat properly tonight.

    That is just what we did!

    {Roedolf}
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  • Day8

    Tran Quoc Pagoda

    January 20, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of the oldest ones in Vietnam, and the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi located near West Lake. The pagoda was built in the Ly Nam De period (541-547) near the Red River. Then, in 1615, it was moved to west lake. Tran Quoc Pagoda is secluded with many layers, sanctums, many Buddha statues from low to high, from big to small, glittering votive offerings, incense-smoke all year round.

    I am amazed with the variety of offerings people bring...the most beautiful bouquets of lillies , baby turtles😤😭 water etc

    It is beautiful and pretty clean (for Vietnam standards) around the lake. Well worth the visit.

    {Issy}
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  • Day8

    Presidential Palace

    January 20, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    This relic complex has become a place to connect and remember Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh's life and work for Vietnam.

    President Ho Chi Minh strikes me as the "Nelson Mandela" of Vietnam. People here love and respect him as the biggest Vietnam hero of all time. He was the chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 1951. In September 1945 he read the Declaration of Independence , establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

    He passed in 1969 but people can still go visit his embalmed body today, luckily this part of the complex is closed on Fridays so we did not have to look at some mummified body.

    His face still appear on all the Vietnamese dong notes and they have named the largest city after him.

    Interestingly enough the presidential palace looks 1000 times nicer than the average person in Vietnam's place. Thats one thing that political leaders have in common regardless if they are communists, tyron's or whether they were democratically elected they live it up!

    {Roedolf}
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    CoetseeAroundTheWorld

    Pragtig julle twee! Mis julle!

    1/20/17Reply
     
  • Day8

    Don't judge a restaurant by its decor

    January 20, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Isabel was so impressed with the decor of this little coffee shop that we "had to" have breakfast here.

    My Cafe Latte was not bad for a lukewarm drink. Isabel's white coffee was, I don't even know how to explain it but I would not have finished it.

    Then came the sandwich, we asked for a egg and cheese sandwich which was priced at 20,000vnd in the menu, but we got a sandwich with some pate, cheese, and egg fried to taste like plastic and some garnish. To be honest I just closed my eyes and gobbled it down.

    Then came the bill and all of the sudden the sandwich was 43,000vnd because of the pate we did not ask for.

    Luckily we had the right change, to just pay for what we ordered. We did that and walked out.

    {Roedolf}
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    Martie Van der Westhuizen

    Isabel se gesiggie oor broodjie-priceless!!

    1/20/17Reply
     
  • Day7

    Now I have seen everything

    January 19, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Just before midnight we walked back to the hotel and the streets was actually empty, I did not think this place ever goes to sleep but it actually does.

    When we arrived at our hotel, I opened the door for Isabel, but the door was locked. For a moment there we thought we are sleeping outside until the receptionist appeared out of the the dark to unlock the door to let us in.

    We never expected to see a mattress in the lobby of the hotel where the two receptionists sleep.

    Its just amazing what these people endure for a job!

    {Roedolf}
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  • Day7

    More flavours

    January 19, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    The ambiance with all the lanterns and low comfortable seats was amazing. It was almost like lying down and have dinner. I ordered a mushroom noodle hotpot and Roedolf ordered some spring rolls. I was happy to get a nice glass of wine. Its a Vietnamese restaurant but clearly more a tourist joint. The food was good with a definite subtle western touch. The atmosphere encourages us order a sisha apple flavor.
    A fun experience in the old quarter tonight.

    {Issy}
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  • Day7

    The Vietnam braai

    January 19, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We wanted to give this a try... we weren't sure exactly how it works but it turned out to be a good and flavorful experiment. I wanted a side noodles with it but the lady was very clear that I can't eat it like that, its traditional to have bread with barbecue, it was a very small loaf of Vietnamese baguette. I loved my fresh pineapple juice. Once again we got confirmation that the locals eat very little meat- the portion of meat is probably enough to feed me alone (specially after not having lunch) and this dish is probably has the most meat on plate we have seen so far.

    We were still a bit hungry so we moved on to the next experiment...at a different venue.

    {Issy}
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  • Day7

    Café de Paris

    January 19, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Little french corner café's will always put a smile on my face. What a gem we found here in Hanoi, after our run the obvious choice was to return to this cosy place. Everything here has some true french flair, the tiny ramekins for the butter& jam, freshly squeezed orange juice and a warm baked croissant. I even spoke a bit of french.

    After our french fix we went for a stroll and a back massage ( the tiny Vietnamese lady's firm pressure was almost toooo painful) . Our relaxing afternoon involved some browsing through the shops, and another egg coffee excursion . I tried on some travel pants and bought a painting to conclude the day in artsy way.

    {Issy}
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  • Day7

    Massage parlor vs Spa in Vietnam

    January 19, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Since the long flight from Aus to KL my back has been as bad as it's ever been.

    Since a back massage is so cheap here, I have had a massage everyday the last few days. There are so many massage places here I tried a different one each time until today, Todays place will see me again tomorrow. It is called the "New day spa".

    I have found the difference between a massage parlor and a spa:

    Both look equally shady from the outside and both have the word "spa" in the title.

    A massage parlor will set you back 165,000vnd ($7.50) tip included for a 30min back, shoulders and neck massage while a Spa will set you back 200,000vnd ($9) for the same.

    A massage parlor will make you pay upfront while a spa will have you pay after the treatment.

    At a massage parlor a tip of at least 10% is expected and at a spa tip is optional.

    At a massage parlor they spend about 25 minutes on the actual massage and 5 minutes trying to sell you something more,if you know what I mean. While a spa spends 20 minutes on you problem area (like my lower back for instance) and the rest of the time on the rest of the massage.

    A massage parlor is not necessary quiet and peaceful as therapists continuously talk to each other, while in a spa they have nice soothing music and no talking.

    A massage parlors quality of the massage is not even close to how good the spa massage is.

    Conclusion: Spent the extra $1.50 and go to a spa.

    {Roedolf}
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