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Hanoi, Vietnam

Hola a todos!
Nosotros super chachi!! Nuestro paseito por la Bahia de Halon ha sido excepcional, ya os contare, ahora no tenemos mucho tiempo, hay cena con el grupo del barco a las 7.30 y ya falta solo media hora.

Carlos y yo queremos que sepais que estamos super bien, y mañana regresamos a Hanoi y cogemos el tren de las 11 de la noche hacia Hochimin, viajaremos toda la noche, llegaremos sobre las 7 u 8 de la mañana.
En cuanto vuelva a tener internet os explico toda esta preciosa aventura en este lugar tan magico y bellisimo: Bahia de Halon. No lo olvideis gente.

Un besazo!!


permalink written by  Noemi y Carlos on June 21, 2008 from Hanoi, Vietnam
from the travel blog: NUESTRO VIAJE POR ASIA Y ALGO MAS...
tagged HalongBay

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Hanoi, Vietnam

Hola a todos!!

Hoy hemos terminado nuestro precioso crucerito por la Bahia de Halong (lo siento si omito letras, acentos o ñ's es que no tenemos muchas opciones para escoger) jejejeje..
Ha sido una experiencia maravillosa, la bahia es preciosisima, una de las mejores cosas que he visto en mi vida, os la recomiendo como medicina para el mal del alma.
Durante estos 3 dias hemos conocido gente maravillosa, super guay (ya pondremos fotos mas adelante) inclusive Carlos ya comienza a chapurrear ingles con los nordicos, ya ha visto que no todos son tan asquerosos como los que visitan Barcelona. Asi mismo, yo tambien voy aprendiendo a que no todos los gringos (lease estadounidenses, que no americanos, eso esta muy mal dicho, porque Americanos somos todos los que vivimos y somos de ese contiente, desde Alaska hasta la Pampa Argentina. Gracias por escuchar el consejo), en fin, como decia, hasta hice amigos de gringolandia, la verdad es que Carlos y yo guardaremos preciosos recuerdos de esos momentos junto a esa gente.

Tambien hemos empezado a mover el esqueleto, porque en Barcelona ya no hacemos ni el menor esfuerzo por hacer ejercicio,solo lo minimo, como para encender el ordenador o la tele jejejeje...Asi que nos han puesto a punto, hemos hecho cycling, cayaking, subido montañas, bajado a cavernas, hasta he nadado en el mar!!! y eso que yo soy muy miedosa en el mar!
Ayer por la noche cenamos todo el grupo, una comida digna de reyes! y eso que a mi me gusta mas la carne que el pescado, ojo.

En fin, ahora son las 7 de la tarde, nuestro tren sale a las 11, asi que irremos a ver donde demonios conseguimos una duchita y...hacia Hue, a ver que nos depara el destino.

Os enviamos un abrazo y un besazo a todos.


permalink written by  Noemi y Carlos on June 22, 2008 from Hanoi, Vietnam
from the travel blog: NUESTRO VIAJE POR ASIA Y ALGO MAS...
tagged HalongBay

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American Invasion of Vietnam: Part II, Tourism

Sa Pa, Vietnam

After five-thousand feet of steep, rigorous and back-breaking journey and Mr Cho (our guide) Cait, Taylor, Emmy and I (
) finally reached the top of Mt. Fan Xi Pan, the tallest mountain in SE Asia at about 11 thousand feet. Nothing compared to our American mountains, but hey, its a different place. Yet Setting, working, and reaching a tall goal in one day left us all with the great sense of exhaustive relief and accomplishment that made it all pay off. We hung around the top for a bit, then ventured downward to basecamp where we ate, drank some rice wine, and then watched the bright Milky Way and shooting stars until sleep. This was our trips last real intensive trek, and of the three options we were given, this was the hardest route.

A vacation town in the mountains of North Vietnam, Sa Pa exudes a very peaceful attitude, and very curious dress customs. The local H'mong peoples who live here (partially pictured right) dress in all black garb with funny hats ornamented with red and metallic things. Many of them try to sell you tribal gifts and thinga-ma-jigs such as bracelets, earings, hats, sunblock, playing cards and fruits, and many of them just hang around the market and the lake chillin'. Tourism has been a particularly good boon for this Vietnamese economy, as their communal farming of the 70s-80s was a failed experiment, and their reliance on opium and timber created a devastating economic void after the government outlawed both practices in the early 90s. The Vietnamese people adapt very well to the market economy, chiefly due to the large influence of the Chinese on the Vietnamese.

Vietnam is very different from the other mainland countries of SE Asia because their society is not as fully influenced by strict Buddhism as are Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Much of their influence comes from the Chinese, including their set notion of private property, their nobel dress/palaces/architecture, and their city structure.

I feel these much more Chinese attitudes have made their transition to a market economy much easier than it has been for the other countries in the entire region. The picture to the left shows an interesting cultural influence...Catholicism (see left-the Christmas tree and I, and above-the cave Jesus was born in). Many missionaries from the West worked in Vietnam during the colonial period and today they have 8 million Catholics in a country of 85 million. Even so, almost everybody celebrates Christmas, and there are many statues in Buddhist households to the Virgin Mary, Jesus, John the Baptist and even Santa Claus. The mainstream Buddhism of Vietnam and China are of a totally different breed than that of the other mainland SE Asian countries (Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos).

After Sapa, our group traveled to very tourist-populat Halong Bay. Halong Bay is a 300 square mile World Heritage region where massive limestone cliffs, caves and arches rise from the misty sea all around as far as the eye can see. The 14 Pacific Discovery group members and I had a boat (
) chartered for us while we sailed along for three days, kayaked, swam, and explored limestone caves I spent my free time mostly reading, enjoying the nice scenery atop the boat, and swimming. School can't get much better than this.

Some more pictures for everybody... Click on the photos to make them larger

Taylor, Emmy, Cait and I at the pinnacle of Mt Fan Xi Pan (Mt Fancypants)

Me achieving enlightenment at the top of the mountain of course.

A cool photo of the bamboo forests we tread through. An interesting side-note, wild marijuana plants actually grew around here!

Another mountainside photo, reminded me a bit of Yosemite in NorCal.

Vietnamese love Jesus!

Colin and I inside a cave in a limestone cliff of Halong Bay

More Halong Bay

permalink written by  JohnJack_Crestani on February 23, 2009 from Sa Pa, Vietnam
from the travel blog: I Meet the SouthEast
tagged Vietnam, HalongBay, Trek, Sapa, Hmong and FanXiPan

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Hanoi Value Menu

Hanoi, Vietnam

Ahhh, Hanoi. This is the Asia everyone dreams about when they think of modern Asia. Motorbikes everywhere, dodging traffic, jumping over heaping piles of trash, and swerving from spitballs, Hanoi has it all. Residents of Hanoi were smart to leave intact the remnants of the French colonization period. The French architecture clashed in a beautiful way against the tropical climate. Everywhere people have plants in their apartments that adds a tropical vibe to the city. Another thing to mention are the power lines that blanket the city. Apparently, North Vietnam has not been introduced to underground fiber-optic cable.
After arriving in Hanoi last Monday we decided to get out of the city and trek to the Gulf of Tonkin and visit Halong Bay. There are close to 2,000 islands in this archipelago. It's a UNESCO world heritage site for a reason. It's easily one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Hopefully, we can get some pictures up in the next couple of days. The first night we cruised through the islands on a boat complete with a dining area and cabins on the lower level. We went to a cave, went kayaking, then anchored nearby to stay the night.
The next day we went to an island where we set off biking. Shortly after we started I helped push a broken down truck filled with sand along with maybe 8 other Vietnamese people to the side of the road. The island we stayed at had been a popular target for aerial bombing campaigns during the Vietnam war. We climbed to an area where North Vietnamese kept watch for bombing raids that were flying to Hanoi. There we had great views of the bay. Unfortunately, the top was infested with mosquitoes so we didn't stay long. Our guide that led us to the top of the mountain might have been a Viet Cong soldier himself. He was genuinely nice to us and the rest of the group. Our other tour guide told us that the North Vietnamese like Americans and don't hold the war against us because of all the protests they saw during the war. That could be true but he might have just been angling for a tip.
After the strenuous hike with our Swedish companions we biked back to the boat. The group that was on the tour with us ended up being very nice. There were 3 Swedish people that were extremely nice. Two of them were a couple in their 60's that were retired teachers. Even at their age they were able to hike a mountain that was difficult for Rachel and I. I hope were in that good of shape when I'm that age.
Then we went to a beach bungalow where we would spend the night. We went kayaking again for a bit but we were too tired to spend much time on the water after the exhausting hike. After a low key evening we retired but not before putting up a mosquito net.
Early the next morning, we rode on a rickety boat a good distance away to meet up with the rest of our tour group. They welcomed us back and we crept back to Halong City. I didn't expect much since we went on a tour group but I'm sure it will be a highlight of our trip.
Yesterday we got shutout of the museums since it was a Monday so we bummed around, took a walk by one of the lakes and caught up on the internet. I almost got burned by flying sparks from a welder on the sidewalk and then we had some great pizza at an Italian restaurant next to Hoam Kiem lake in the Old Quarter.
Last night we hopped on a night train to Sapa and arrived here a couple of hours ago. The touts that were waiting outside were some of the pushiest, nastiest salespeople we've encountered so far. One nice foreigner told us the right price to pay for a bus to Sapa and one of the people slammed his shoulder and yelled at him. We got a hotel room with a balcony and an amazing view. It's not called Mountain View hotel for nothing. It was raining here but the sun is starting to shine so were going to go tour the city. Peace.


permalink written by  zachel on March 30, 2009 from Hanoi, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Zack and Rachel's Asian Chronicles
tagged HalongBay, Hanoi and Sapa

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