Vietnam 2015: 7D6N Hanoi & Halong Bay Travelogue + Itinerary

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hanoi is one of the place listed in my travel list. Few years back, I was supposed to travel to Hanoi but we were late to catch the flight because the queue at the departure entrance was really long and when we rushed to the departure gate, the flight attendance and pilot do not allow us to enter even though the flight is yet to fly off and there were few travelers facing the same incident like us too. In the end, we took back our luggage and bought fly ticket to Bali instead! Haha.. That was really an adventurous trip as we didn't have any planning / itinerary.


Back to the topic, so, after few years, a friend of mine was inviting me to join her to Hanoi. I said YES without any hesitation as the flight ticket was really cheap, it cost around RM300+ for both way (not included insurance and baggage yet).

THE JOURNEY & ARRIVAL
6.30am, flight depart from Kuala Lumpur. It was a 3 hours flight journey to Nội Bài International Airport, Hanoi. Nội Bài International Airport is quite small but looks really clean and comfortable. After we got our baggage, we were looking for counter to buy mobile data sim card.

But before that, we were greeted by our driver. There are 6 of us and we got a car at USD40 (RM120) for both way which is quite reasonable. We booked the car with our B&B owner beforehand and it wouldn't cause us much hassle.

TIME ZONE & CURRENCY
Time zone: GMT +7 (one hour earlier than Malaysia)
Currency: VND10,000 = RM2

The Vietnam currency is Vietname Dong, Each ringgit equally to VND10,000, so you can easily become millionaire when traveling to Vietnam. *grin* 


MOBILE DATE SIM CARD
Our driver show us the counter to purchase the sim card and the plan is quite cheap. There different mobile data plan and we got the internet only plan sim card.
4GB unlimited date - USD7 (RM21)

Thank God for the good weather on our arrival in Hanoi. 

THE ITINERARY
7 – 13 October 2015 (7 days 6 nights)

Day 1: Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) – Nội Bài International Airport, Hanoi – Check-in B&B – Brunch – Old Quarter – Hoàn Kiếm Lake – Hanoi Opera House – Giang Coffee –Dinner – Night view at Hoàn Kiếm Lake & Coffee Club - Foot & body massage – Supper

Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay

Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi city – Dinner – Water Puppet Show – foot & body massage

Day 4: Breakfast – Highlands Coffee – Trấn Quốc Pagoda – Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum  – Foot & body massage – BBQ Dinner – Musical Theatre – Dong Xuan Night Market - Supper 

Day 5: Breakfast at Bánh cuốn Gia truyền Restaurant – Cộng Cà Phê Café – Old Quarter – Hanoi House Café – Skyline Rooftop Bar – Supper

Day 6: Breakfast at La Place – Hỏa Lò Prison – Shopping @ Old Quarter

Day 7: Check-out from B&B – Nội Bài International Airport, Hanoi – Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) – Home Sweet Home

We are arriving our B&B which located at Old Quarter, 30 minutes journey from the airport.

After we check in, we can't wait to look for local food!! But first, let's have some Hanoi beer first. We ordered Hanoi and Saigon beer, both has the similar taste.

We were looking for street foods but failed because we were so hungry and we decided to enter any restaurant to fill our tummy first. This restaurant is serving varieties of local foods and we had the pho (noodles), dry noodles and fried rice. Taste ordinary and this meal cost VND390,000 for 6 of us, quite reasonable.

Road sign at Hanoi town.


Hanoi Old Quarter.

I'm sure everyone would have know that the main transportation at Vietnam is motorbikes and you would need to find a way to cross the road as the traffic is really messy and not in order. It sounds challenging but we were lucky to find the right method on our first day. 

Don't be shock. It is quite common in Hanoi or I would say, Vietnam?
SALUTE!

We were staying at Old Quarter area, thus, we spent most of our time at Old Quarter, explore around from alley to alley, shop to shop... There are so much to see, eat, enjoy at this Old Quarter. You might found some hidden gem when you are touring this little town.

Old Quarter

Old Quarter

There are so many beautiful and colourful souvenirs. You will be spoilt for choice.

Art is everywhere too in Hanoi.

The heights and width of the buildings are not in sequence, and most of the shops are quite narrow. That's the uniqueness of the building at Hanoi.

Hanoi residential area, and the messy cables.

If you can get this joke?

In Hanoi, there are many women walking around with their goods - such as vegetables and fruits for sell.

On our first night at Hanoi, we experience the Vietnamese dining style. This is a place located at one of the back alley and we had some grilled pork, fried pork, sweet potato, mango and ice lemon tea, total VND247,000..

Dining style in Hanoi.

Beautiful night view from Coffee Club.. The famous Hoàn Kiếm Lake is on the right (not in the picture).

Beautiful night view of Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

Hoàn Kiếm Lake on daytime.

October is the season of getting marry? There were so many couples taking bridal photo by Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

We didn't take any ride on the Tricycle because the price is even more expensive compare to taxi.

We were looking for massage center on our first night at Hanoi. Instead of google or walk-in to any massage center, I whatsapp my B&B host and ask for his suggestion. Van Xuan Massage Center is the one, when we arrived, we were shocked by the price offer by them. Foot and body massage, price at VND110,000 and VND130,000 for 1 hour. It cost less than RM30 per session per service, since then, we visited them almost every night.

We did try both foot and body massage, personally I think the foot massage was not too bad. But, still, Bangkok and Krabi has the best massage thus far. 

We are ready to explore Halong Bay.

Second day at Hanoi, it was a beautiful day and we were departing to Halong Bay for 2 days 1 night trip on the cruise. This is the breathtaking view of Halong Bay which listed on UNESCO World Heritage list.

It was a 4 hours journey by bus with 1 toilet break in between. The distance between Hanoi and Halong is less than 150km yet it needs 3 and half hour to 4 hour to reach the pier. This is due to the speed of the driver, 80km/hour if I could remember correctly. Drivers at Hanoi, drive really slow and thus, that's the reason why it takes almost 4 hours for this journey. It was so tiring but we feel relief when we welcomed by this stunning scenery.

For 2D1N at Halong Bay, we purchased from Halong Imperial Classic. There are many choices and this was also recommended by our B&B host, less hassle for me to do comparison from different cruises. This cruise is quite affordable and most importantly, the cruise and room is really clean and comfortable. 

The package inclusive accommodation, meals, entrance ticket, transportation to / from Hanoi - Halong Bay. I will definitely share my experience in separate post.

Halong Imperial Classic
Price: USD88 / pax
Room: 2 twin cabin or 1 double bed (private bathroom)

Contact number: +84-4 3926 2327 / 28

Relaxing moment, on the cruise.

Oh ya! There's a cooking class on the cruise too, we were taught to do Vietnamese Spring Roll.

Cruises and boats on Halong Bay.

I really thank God for the good weather during our stay at Halong Bay. After we back from Halong Bay, we heard that many tourist cannot depart to Halong Bay due to the bad weather. 

Our first experience to try on Vietnamese coffee in Hanoi, we had this on the cruise and surprisingly, it taste really good. I did tried once in KL previously, but the taste was really bad.

It was really good weather on our first two day in Hanoi but it drizzling on the 4th day, after we back from Halong Bay. The weather getting cold but quite chill during day time (not when it is raining).

After we back from Halong Bay, it is time to explore the city - Hanoi. Tran Quoc Pagoda - a 15 minutes drive from Old Quarter which is the oldest Buddhist temple located on a small island near the southeastern shore of Hanoi's West Lake in Hanoi. It listed on the must-visit tourist attractions.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
We walked from Tran Quoc Pagoda to this mausoleum, which takes almost 15 minutes. Although it was drizzling that morning, but we still enjoyed the walk.

In front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

♥ at Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace.

Not to be missed at Hanoi - to visit Cong Caphe Cafe.
http://congcaphe.com/

Must try at Cong Caphe Cafe - Coconut Ice Cream Coffee (left), VND45,000.
It taste really great. You can easily spotted Cong Caphe Cafe at Hanoi town as they are located at few locations.

The gang at Cong Caphe Cafe.
Yeap, we sat by the road side.. It was indeed a good experience that you can easily enjoy in Vietnam.

We visited another cafe for coffee. This is the egg coffee name Ca Phe Trung at Cafe Giang, located at Old Quarter. Must try too when you're in Hanoi.

Cafe Giang
Address: No. 39- Lane Nguyen Huu Huan, Hanoi, Vietnam

Coffee time at Highlands Coffee, a franchise coffee shop.
We were surprised with the portion of the coffee when it was served.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater - VND100,000 per pax.
It is a one hour show that showcase Vietnam traditional story. The theater was performed in Vietnamese and don't have any translation provided. Thus, we just purely enjoyed the performance and songs. It is nice though we can't understand a single word.

Vientnam T-Shirt at Dong Xuan Night Market which is the oldest market in its vicinity. There's nothing special in this night market, Malaysia still has the best night market thus far.

Dong Xuan Night Market
Address: Đồng Xuân, Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam

Cafe hop at Hanoi city.

Hanoi is a city filled with beautiful art and you can easily spotted oil painting hang outside of the shops. These painting are mostly draw by the local artist and you might bump into the artist is painting when you visit the shop. Most importantly, the price is really cheap. We bought few pieces of oil painting and that's my happy face.

Spotted durian in Hanoi.

It was so expensive! VND 190,000 = RM38 per packet.

Traditional instruments at Old Quarter.

Another must-do in Hanoi, is to do a stamp craving for yourself or as a souvenir. You can easily find this at Hang Quat Street. 

Hang Quat is one of the most colourful streets in Old Quarter. Quat means fans, which were of course traditionally made on this street, be they from bamboo, paper or palm leaves. Hang Quat is a place for hand-crafted wooden seals

Bear in Vietnamese attire. So cute but quite expensive, else I will bring it home.

We are celebrating friend's birthday at one of the rooftop bar, with bottles of red wine, white wine, foods and of course with good friend too.

Before the drinking session, we had a round of birthday singing session at the B&B. Our host prepared home cooked pho (noodles) for us too. Thank so much for the hospitality.

Hanoi city night view from the rooftop bar.

We spotted this gang of girls were taking pictures of St Joseph Cathedral, and coincidentally, one of our friend was wearing the same shirt. So we join in to take a group picture together. How fun! 

Time to write and send some postcards to friends.

Time to visit the museum to understand more about the city.

We visited the Hoa Lo Prison, 

MUST EAT!!! Pho (noodles).

Vietnamese spring roll is another must try too.

Bun Cha and Bun Nem
Bun cha is the grilled pork and noodle. It’s served with grilled pork patties (cha) and white vermicelli noodles (bun). Usually it’s served with some banh goi (a pork, onion and mushroom spring roll type item) and herbs, chilli, garlic and dipping sauce.

Bun Nem is spring rolls. Spring rolls in Hanoi are made with thin rice paper wrapping, which crisps up really flaky and crunchy. A popular specialty is the crab rolls but we only had the normal one. It still taste great!!

A very refreshing dessert - mixed fruits ice with or without the ice cream. 

We were squeezed in this narrow shop for our BBQ dinner on a raining night.

On our 2nd last day at Hanoi, we visited a cafe - La Place at Hanoi Old Quarter for brunch. You can enjoy the beautiful St Joseph cathedral view when you dine at 2nd floor.

La Place, a cafe with simple decorations yet it is a comfortable cafe.

Hanoi has many beautiful floor tiles.

Time to say good bye after 7 days at Hanoi. We really enjoy our stay in this beautiful city, I will be back again (every time ended with the same sentence, but it is true).


The total expenses is around RM3,800 for 2 persons, this inclusive of flight ticket, accommodation, entrance ticket, transportation, food & drinks, massage, and other miscellaneous. It is quite affordable right?

till then..

You Might Also Like

2 Comments ♥

  1. Beautiful photos! Very good info esp the iten and expenses...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Farikica, hope it will be useful info for you too. :)

      Delete

Like me on Facebook

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *