Thoughts on Northern Vietnam

It was a fantastic ten days in Vietnam; I should be more precise North Vietnam. From what I’ve heard, the South is different. The northern part has different landscapes such as mountain and rice fields in Mai Chau, plateau and river in Ninh Binh, or limestone karts in Halong Bay. Visiting Northern Vietnam will satisfy all tourists – from the adventurous to the organizer travelling travel agencies.

The people are very relax and calm. As a solo traveller, people were very friendly and always happy to help me; several times I was just sitting on the Hoan Kiem Lake quay, and will randomly have small chats with locals. I also find them very stylish, for example, because of pollution they often wear a mask when on motorbikes. Outside of Hanoi, people use the ugly green medical-like mask, in Hanoi folks design their pollution mask matching it with the jacket they are wearing.

Food is fantastic, although I have been disappointed by the Pho. By disappointed I mean, I though they would all be fine, but some were below ok. Regardless, I had several dishes, springs rolls, egg rolls, salty peanuts, some veggies dish as well, and of course RICE! You’ll have plenty of it!!

My few cents on tourism, It is well developed in Vietnam, not as much as Thailand though. But I strongly recommend, especially when traveling solo or within a group of adults to do all your trips/activities by your own. Try as less as possible to book with travel agencies, they often impose they schedule, and you may feel like you’re not really on vacations. I remember meeting a group of tourist mentioning they went to Halong Bay with a travel agency, and the agency only let them swim for twenty min, by the way, they were coming from Denmark.

In any case, Vietnam should be in your list of countries to visit; you won’t be disappointed. The country has it all to make your stay memorable.

Bon Voyage!

Destination Vietnam | Ninh Binh day 1 I am off to Ninh Binh, a city located in Northern Vietnam, just few hours south of Hanoi. It is a quick get away from the capital, but I’ve decided to go there with the same travel agency (Ethnic Travel) I used in Mai Chau buying the 2-days/ 1 night package. This travel agency in Hanoi is known (supposedly) for doing things off the tourist track including a better experience of the local life. I look forward to visiting Ninh Binh, not so much the city itself but rather the surrounding area; I heard the scenery is amazing.

The trip from Hanoi took 2.5 hours. I arrived around noon and had lunch at a restaurant with Ok food (not worth any pictures). After the lunch, I went for boats ride in two different rivers. The first ride was about the daily life of the inhabitants along the river. An old Vietnamese dude drove the motorboat. He was very excited about showing me the scenery, and even let me drive; I’ll realize later that was to pump the tip up. Pictures are below.

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The second boat tour was in another river and was more about the landscape as well as going under grottos. This time I was in a rowing boat driven by an old lady who paddled for an hour plus non-stop – Simply amazing! Oh yeah, the sight also was amazing just see for yourself.

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After the second ride, it was getting dark, my guide and I went to the homestay situated in a small village forty minutes away of Ninh Binh. The homestay was more like a lodge, which was a bit different from where I stayed in Mai Chau. Indeed, I didn’t see the local family it was really more like a hotel – very disappointing. That being said the location was great. Although it was already dark and I could not capture any pictures I got to see the daily routine of the Vietnamese by late afternoon in a small townSimilarly to the Western countries it consisted of kids cycling back from school, old folks playing some kind of dice game with a TV nearby showing some local shows. On the road, I‘ve also met farmers bringing back their chickens, cows, the latter making sure to leave their traces; there were also a lot of workers drying rice on the floor (pictures below). Last but not least I can only remember the countless number of scooters on the road and the noise that goes with it.

After the dinner, I went back to my room hoping for a more exciting and adventurous next day.