Thursday, June 6, 2013

Qi Chao, Vietnam :)

          I always believe that there is no man who was born down to earth a strong person. Again, this trip indeed proves this line. This trip to Vietnam has given me a lot of eye opening experiences as well as having a feeling of empathy towards others. My cousin and I, together with other two friends had decided to go for a trip last April. My parents questioned and doubted on our choice to choose Vietnam as our destination at first because this country is far from developing and their language is a barrier to us. Luckily, we still proceeded with our plan if not we would not have experienced something different than trip to other metropolis cities. 

        The ravages of poverty had taken a toll on them. Children here are so much fortunate than those there especially at Sapa, a national park which homes the indigenous people which is also 3km away from the border of Vietnam and China. We had taken a train overnight from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam to Lao Cai before taking a shuttle van to Sapa. This is our 3rd day in Vietnam. I will talk about other destination here later on as this is the most interesting part during our trip. Thanks to our travel agency, "Vega Travel", we were able to stop by at a local hotel to shower before starting our route up to the mountain at Sapa. Before reaching the hotel, we were being tailed and chased with loud racket by a group of indigenous ladies. Thinking the shuttle van might have hit one of them, we were shocked and our mind were blank. Then, aligned from the van, only we came to notice that the reason they made such a noise was because they wanted to sell their handmade stuffs. Phew, they even made an effort to follow us all the way to the mountain. I was amazed by them because they actually knew how to speak in English but got annoyed after a while since a group of them kept on bugging us by repeatedly asking "Where do you come from?", "How old are you" and "How are you". The purpose of them doing this was to bug you so that you would give up and bought something from them. Later on I really find this phrase "Kong, Come On" which means "No, Thank You" useful especially during shopping. The jungle trekking took up 6 hours plus and we reached the Homestay around 4 pm. The host of the Homestay is Mr. Lam. I really like the place very much as it is facing a river with a hanging bridge on top. The scenery is very magnificent. We also came to know his other 2 kids, Lun and Liu. What make me more surprising was that the older child is much more matured compared to any other child in M'sia that I had ever encountered before. Before the meal was served, without being asked, he scooped the rice into bowls and washed the dishes after the guests had finished. What an obedient boy, I would say. After spending a night at the cooling Homestay, we headed down the mountain and stopped by at the shabby little sundry shop taken a meal prepared by our tour guide, Tu. After that, we took another overnight train back to Hanoi. Journey to Sapa is the most unforgettable itinerary during our trip.

Jeniffer, Me and Lee Zing in a train going to Sapa

Tu (tour guide), Li Zing, Sing Ching (my cousin) and Jennifer during jungle trekking

With 2 kids on the way to the Homestay
Lun and Liu waiting for their sweets while I was in the meantime preparing the local fried spring rolls
Waiting for the meal to be served
Hanoi Street
Halong Bay

The Indigenous Ladies in their traditional costumes
Sneak Peak on the bridge in front of the Homestay 

         The second sightseeing place that I like is Halong Bay. It has been nominated as one of the nature wonders of the world. To reach the destination, we had to take a pick up van similarly from Hanoi through Vega Travel. The journey took almost 4 hours and we all ended up starving since we ordered the wrong breakfast. Due to culture difference, what we thought sandwiches came out a hard bun which served together with two scrambled eggs and a ham. I ended up taking only a few bites before hoping into the pick up. Personally speaking, it would be more fun if I knew how to swim. Other than indulging in enjoying the incredible nature creation of our Lord, people like me could only join in with the tour guide, Chook for kayaking. I also think that it would be perfect for couples since the interior decoration is romance based with folded couple napkin swans and paintings with love. Since we took the one and a half day trip, the cruise also stopped by at the Tip Top Mountain early in the morning and the light exercise climbing up to the top of the mountain refreshed us from our sleep and enabled us to have a 360 degrees of the bay.

       We then went back to the hotel early in the morning while contacting our free tour guide who brought us around Hanoi City. What we needed to pay was her taxi fare and meals. The service provided was great. Our guide was a lovely second year university girl called Niah. She speaks fluent English and was really enthusiastic in explaining the history of the sightseeing places as we spent more time for gaining more knowledge on this country by visiting the Ho Chin Min's Museum, Mausoleum  and the Temple of Literature. Speaking of guilt, we hardly remembered the things that she told us since we were once lousy in History during studying times. Thanks to her, we also had a great lunch at a nice and affordable dining place called 'Quan An Ngon' before heading to take a taxi for souvenir shopping.  
      We really had a great time in Vietnam. It was really a trip of experiencing different cultures, food, people and language.
Dinner at New Day Vietnamese Restaurant, Good Deal for a set meal, Spring rolls and Pho

Taking picture with our free tour guide, Niah before bade our farewell

Quan An Ngon

Temple of Literature

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