Vietnam! And my first trip on two legs. Before going to Hanoi we landed in Yangon International airport in Myanmar (Burma) and then only a short flight and we finally landed in Hanoi!
Having a chance to eat typical Pho at the place that gave this soup its origin is just once in a lifetime!

I seemed to be the only one to get the message from a tour guide this time, so I had to manage our trip. And so I did. I’m usually the most excited one regarding visiting places and exploring anyway. Since I started flying there was only one time I hit the city by myself. Which I actually didn’t mind at all, it was Melbourne and I feel very much at home in Australia. I remember I took one of the best walks and it was actually very pleasant that time going by myself, sometimes after a busy day it’s much needed just to clear one’s head with no need to talk to anyone. 

But since Hanoi is quite a new destination and not many crew have been there yet, there was quite a few of us that went for the tour which was great. We had a couple possibilities to choose from, first tour included the visit of Hoa Lu and Tam Coc, second one the Trang An area, Bich Dong and Hoa Lu or a third one with Ha Long Bay full day tour including the kayak rides. Since it would be a 3,5 hours ride to the Halong City for the third one and we would have to depart at 5 in the morning, we decided to go for the first one. Riding in the small rowing boats on a river through a beautiful landscape, what can be more Vietnam like, right. 

After the breakfast we left our hotel at 7 am since it took as 2 hour drive to Ninh Binh Province. First we visited the Thai Vi Temple and the Hoa Lu and got to know a little bit about that place and temples in Vietnam in general. Continuing to the Tam Coc (also called Ha Long Bay on land), we got on the rowing boats to travel along the canals amid the local villages and green fields. We also passed through two caves while rowing with the chambers so low we almost hit our heads a couple of times on some stalactites. All the boats were driven by oarswomen who sometimes rowed with their legs. They must have very strong muscles indeed. Being on the river surrounded by the mountains, the green fields and seeing the typical life around the river definitely stays in my memory as one of the most beautiful pictures taken.

Before the Vietnamese lunch in one of the typical restaurants with local food (mango salad, spring rolls, pork and goat meat, shrimp, rice, grilled vegetable and fruits) we also managed to visit the Buddhist pagoda which we had to climb up the stairs for.