Good times in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
My trip to Vietnam started in the capital, Hanoi which is simultaneously beautiful and chaotic. I couldn’t have thought of a better place to start in than Hanoi. This city really shows you the culture and traditions of the Vietnamese people.
I stayed in an amazing hostel in the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter itself seemed to be untouched by tourists which I loved. The street names around me interested me as most of them had Hang in the name. I researched that in the 13th century the Old Quarter streets were named after the trade of the street. For example Hang Chieu would be the street name that specifically sold mats with Hang being the word for merchandise. However the shops do not follow this nowadays which I found this extremely interesting.
Hanoi in the day time consists of women cooking meats on a fire in the street, bikes full of bamboo shoots far longer than the bike transporting them and amazing fruit stands. The one thing that really stood out to me was shop owners creating a fire on the street and throwing fake money onto the fire. I asked around and found out this is a tradition to keep them humble. The food is something you’ll have to try for yourselves. But I promise that you wont be disappointed.
On my 3rd day I travelled to Ha Long Bay, which is a new seven wonder of nature. Which is not surprising as it was so beautiful. We kayaked into the hidden lagoon, so-called because as you have to kayak under a cave (with great difficulty, but extremely worth it). The waters were a beautiful blue and we were surrounded by amazing karst formations. Ha long bay is definitely a place to visit.
After Ha Long Bay we took a boat to Freedom island where we stayed overnight on a beautiful island which makes you feel extremely content. No wifi just you, your travel buddies, and your thoughts. I could never express how I felt while I was on Freedom island -it was definitely my happy place.