A Travellerspoint blog

Day 13-Tour Day

sunny 26 °C

Today we ventured on another organised tour, this time south of Hanoi to visit another temple followed by a paddle up and down a river
Our tour guide introduced himself as Kimmi, as in Kimmi Rikkonen the Race car driver funny enough our bus driver was Michael Schumacher so the day was off with an interesting start. After a 2 hour drive we reached our first stop of the day the Bai Dinh pagoda the biggest pagoda in Vietnam. This Buddhist temple was built into early 21st century so it is nearly 5 years old. Lots of people donated money to have it built, each donation over $500 dollars got to have small gold covered statue set into the wall of the longest walkway 1.5km, as the photo shows there are a few of them.

On the way to the biggest pagoda we called past the bell tower. this houses an over sized bell which has a large drum beneath it this allows for the bell to be heard 10km away

On to the biggest pagoda we go, the pagoda was large and housed a few amazing Buddhist statues

From the pagoda we stopped in for lunch, then off to Trang An for an amazing river trip, we pile onto a small boat that is powered by an incredibly fit lady, she paddles us the hole 9 km, with a little help from us even Jean, Kathy and Nin had a go.

The river takes us thru 6 caves some so small and low that we have to duck right down in the boat, Paul got into trouble a few times for moving around in the boat and helping when he shouldn't, the only down side to the river trip was the Vietnam traffic effect yes even here on the river we could not get away from traffic delays. They have 2000 of these boats on the river, lucky for us today was a quite day.

Upon our return to the dock, we boarded the bus for the 2 hr drive back to our hotel, luckily we had Michael Schumacher driving so we got back a little bit early, allowing us more time to eat dinner before settling in our rooms to rest our weary bodies

Posted by warnerc5 07:04 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Day 12-Hanoi first full day

semi-overcast 26 °C

Today was a walking tour day, tour guides Craig and Paul took us for a walk to several of Hanoi's landmarks.
First to West Lake to see a pagoda, on the way we had to stop for Nin to have a coffee she is yet to learn that Vietnamese coffee is too strong and with condensed milk, so of course the coffee was to strong and not milky enough, a walk thru the Botanical gardens lead us towards the Ho Chi Min mausoleum unfortunately our arrival coincided with it being closed, only open in the mornings.
We sat down to lunch then wandered thru the military museum, interesting to hear about wars from their ancient history right thru to today with a different perspective.
From here we wandered back thru the old quarter to our hotel, due to the nature of the day and as a mark of respect to Hanoi no photos were taken.

Not true KW- I have some photos-Ed.

West Lake

Vietnamese 'milky' coffee

Pay to release baby turtles back into the lake.

12 point turn on the footbridge- because you can!

Trial at carrying fruit

Sculpture using war scrap

Posted by warnerc5 06:31 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Day 11-Hoi An-Hanoi

overcast 22 °C

Sad to be leaving beautiful Hoi An, a magic place, great accommodation choice!
Short flight to Hanoi, with first impression of smog laden air!
Large, white Rolls Royce with gold wheels & petrol cap waiting out the front. A lot of bother for our pickup? Sorry, not our car!
Quiet drive into town then becomes crazy, small roads, weaving traffic, scooters everywhere. Footpaths used as parking bays for scooters
Locals put small tables & chairs on footpath selling their street food, amongst rubbish & scooters!
Craig, Jean & Paul go for afternoon walk to discover the layout of the city . Discovered many 'themed' streets, selling the same goods eg. Haberdashery, hardware, spices, glasses 'street' etc.
Button street

Kathy Bil & Lyn rested.
After convincing Kath & Lyn to come out for the night, took an Electric car tour around the old quarter & around Lake Hoan Kiem. Crazy traffic!

Electric car tour

Lots of brides & grooms posing for photos around the lake (in many different coloured gowns).

Red bridge over Lake Hoan Kiem at night.

Extravagant marquee on side of street, all decorated for a wedding.
Very narrow laneways between buildings used for storage & access to accommodation in rear
Small children very relaxed on scooter- even asleep while travelling.

Posted by warnerc5 17:31 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Day 10-Last day in Hoi An

rain 24 °C

  • Woke up to Rain.
  • Went separate ways- some shopped, others did wonderful heritage walk, visiting historic buildings in town centre.

Old Japanese Bridge
Courtyard in old heritage home

  • Picked up clothing orders.
  • Heaviest downpour, got drenched, had to buy poncho.


  • Elders went to Molly's cafe ordered pizzas, one sausage, one mixed-'sorry no mixed', 2 sausage then, 'sorry oven not working'-fried rice then!
  • Rest in afternoon.
  • Massage for some, others walked around island then beers while waiting for massages to finished.
  • Shopped again before tea.


Posted by warnerc5 05:57 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Day 9 Team Penguin

Marble and Monkey mountain tour.

Today was tour day, we were picked up from our hotel and was greeted by a very enthusiastic tour guide My (pronounced as Me), after further pickups of we went to our first stop for the day Marble Mt. Here we were joined with others in our tour party creating a group of 28, so as a way of keeping us all together My decided to give our group a name hence " Team Penguin" was born. For the rest of the day like Pavlov's dog we would all prick up our ears at the TEAM PENGUIN war cry.

Onto the tour we went, Marble mountain is a interesting place to visit, we were regaled with some great folks stories based around different religions, My's delivery kept us interested. Lots of great views inside caves and from the top of the mountains, the climb up to Heaven was challenging but well worth it. From heaven we descended into Hell ( a large cave) with many interesting statues, at one point Pop decided that things were a little to quiet so he awoke a few spirits by knocking over an offering on a shrine, definitely woke us all up.

After Marble mountain it was time for lunch at a local café for a dish of noodles, as always the food was full of flavour. From here it was time to visit Monkey mountain and the largest woman Budda statue in S.E Asia. We found the Monkey Mt trip to be a bit contrived as nothing had any historical value, all has been built in the last few years.

After Monkey mountain we returned to our hotel, those that do went off for a massage, the others relaxed at the hotel or a quick bit of shopping. Dinner and drinks were had downtown then we retired to bed, ready for whatever day 10 brings.

Posted by warnerc5 02:28 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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