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Bustling Hanoi

Hanoi, Vietnam

Just a quick note to tell everyone that we arrived in Vietnam last Monday (March 23), crossing over the Chinese/Vietnamese border by land via a border crossing called "Friendship Pass." We spent several days walking the streets of Hanoi's Old French Quarter. Vietnam has a totally different feel than China. Some of the most noticeable differences are the French architecture and the traffic. The narrow streets are packed with motorbikes, bicycles, pedestrians and a handful of cars. You're forced to walk on the crowded streets because the sidewalks have become the parking lots for motorbikes and a place for stores to sell their merchandise. There is a lovely lake called Hoan Kiem Lake just south of the Old Quarter. The lake is surrounded by a nice park with old trees. There's a little temple in the middle of the lake that you can walk across a bridge to get to. One night we went to see Hanoi's famous Water Puppets show. We weren't overly impressed, but it was only a 2 dollar ticket.

This past weekend we went to the beautiful Halong Bay located in the Gulf of Tonken. Here we cruised around on a small boat with about 15 other tourists, soaking in the beauty of the green islands that cover the bay. We went inside a cave, kayaked, biked, and hiked. The first night we stayed on the boat. When we were lying on top of the boat star-gazing, we saw a shooting star! The next night we stayed on a bungalow on a teeny tiny island. There were only a few other foreigners and a couple workers there, so we were pretty isolated.

Now we're back in Hanoi planning to leave for Sapa by train tonight. We leave here at 9:55pm and arrive tomorrow at 5am. Sapa is famous for its mountain scenery and variety of hill tribe indigenous people.

permalink written by  zachel on March 29, 2009 from Hanoi, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Zack and Rachel's Asian Chronicles
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permalink written by  duke donohue on March 30, 2009

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