hanoi bucket list check
The first thing I noticed as I taxied away from Hanoi Airport was the smell. In a good way. It was a tropical smokey scent and it excited me. Almost like the great memories you have of campfires but in a tropical foreign land. I knew in that moment that this trip would be different. It would be a gladly embraced and accepted adventure. I arrived to my hotel, The Light Hotel, late in the evening so I just reviewed my tour itinerary with the kind staff, got situated in my room and had dinner on the rooftop.
Up early to have a sunrise coffee on the rooftop and a small bite. Then I was off for my first exploration tour: Hoa Lu, Mua Cave, Tam Coc, Bich Dong, biking and boat day trip. I would typically do this type of exploring on my own in a rental but I felt wise to learn on my first visit. I made sure the group was small and it turned out to be a real pleasure. The rowing boat part through the valley is an unforgettable experience. I mean something really bucket list feeling. And the trip just started. A long enjoyed day arriving back to your hotel late in the afternoon. So I just had some wine and dinner on the rooftop again. Halong Bay in the morning.
Another early sunrise coffee on the rooftop in great anticipation of the day ahead. I had wanted to see Halong Bay for a longtime. A bucket lister. So after, a long but comfortable, several hours you make your way to the ocean. Once at the harbor your guide gathers your small group and introduces you to your boat/hotel for the day and night. And I highly, highly recommend staying on the boat for the night. Your experience in Halong Bay will simply not be as compete as it should. It truly requires the stay. Simply said, how could you not opt to have a fresh cooked Vietnamese dinner during the sunset while anchored in a cove in Halong Bay? Chance of a life time.
Then you get a beautiful sunrise on the water with your breakfast. And shortly after your headed to the dock and headed back to Hanoi. For my last evening, with my leather slip ons, I walked around the lively area. There is nothing like walking through the streets of Hanoi in the evening. The noise from the constant mass of scooters, the internment lights of business and the smell of countless curbside offers. Its a wonderful alive feeling. I had my final dinner overlooking Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square. An excellent spot to reminisce and fully absorb my time visiting Hanoi. While grilling a meat stick with a cold one I might add.
ProTip: Add a northern trip to Hoang Su Phi into the rice hills and then go relax on the beach in Da Nang.
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