Let’s see…I left off while I was still at Inle Lake, Myanmar on Wednesday. Thursday was a travel day for sure. I saw the inside of 5 different airports. I was picked up at my hotel at Inle Lake at 6:45a.m. and arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam at my hotel at 12:00 midnight. So, it was around 17 hours of travel yesterday. It was a a long day, but I made it to Vietnam!!!
I arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam and found my ride to my hotel. I arrived at one of my most favorite hotel’s ever and checked in. I am staying at a hotel called Hanoi Charming II Hotel. Last time I was in Hanoi, I stayed here and loved it. The rooms are nice, nothing spectacular. It is the staff here that makes this hotel amazing. When I checked in last night, the manager of the hotel was here to greet me and get me to my room. All smiles and excited for me to make my return to the hotel. I booked a regular room, but when I got here they had upgraded me to a room on the top floor, and it was the honeymoon suite! I got to my room and got situated and called my Sister and Nephew. They arrived in Vietnam last night around 11:00. I forgot to mention that while in Vietnam I’ll be traveling with my sister and nephew and a friend that my sister met named Amanda. Anyway, I talked to them and around 1:30a.m. it was time for bed.
After a few hours sleep I got up this morning around 6:00a.m. and went for breakfast. Then I met up with my sister, nephew and Amanda in the lobby. We went on a tour of the Perfume Pagoda outside of Hanoi. We were waiting in the lobby and one of the people who works at the desk came in for the day. Her name is Mary. She was so excited to see me. She honestly remembered me from the last time I stayed here. About 3 years ago. We had a great chat and catch up and she met Debbie and Adam. Such a great staff here, that’s why I love this place. If you are ever in Hanoi, I would really recommend staying here.
We were all catching up and then our guide and driver arrived. We made our way out to the van and we were off. We picked up 8 other people and started on our way to the Perfume Pagoda. The Perfume Pagoda is an important site for the Vietnamese people. During the peak season, with is just ending, they can have as many as 30,000 people a day visiting the pagoda. Actually, it’s not just one pagoda, it’s a complex of many different pagodas. We drove for about 2 hours and then made our way to a river where we were loaded into boats. We then took the boats another hour down the river, with some super strong women paddling us, and we arrived at the complex. The scenery was beautiful and it was so relaxing.
When we first arrived at the complex, I was amazed at all the vendors selling stuff. It was just stall after stall of people selling food, offerings for Buddha, and other toys and gifts. We made our way up to a restaurant and had some lunch of tofu, a beef dish with cabbage, some fish dish that I wasn’t quite sure of and french fries. My sister and nephew had rice. They are very, very picky eaters, so they wouldn’t eat anything that they brought. They even thought the french fries were too weird. They were french fries!!! I had to convince them of that. I did get Debbie to try a piece of the tofu. That didn’t work out. I thought it was delicious, although it may or may not have made me feel not so great this afternoon.
After lunch we walked up a bunch of stairs to a cable car. You could either walk up to the top or take the chairlift. Before we stared the day, we booked the chairlift. Glad we did as there are so many shops this time of year that you couldn’t see anything but them on the walk up or down anyway. We got to the top and then descended into a cave where there were different alters. It was pretty cool to see all the different altars and the people praying to Buddha. We went into the cave and came back out and took the cable car back down and went to another pagoda. We spent some time there and then it was back to the river for the boat trip back to the van. We got to the van and then had another 2 hour drive back to Hanoi and our hotel. We were finally dropped off at our hotel around 7:00 tonight.
Once we got back to the hotel, Amanda had enough of the day. She went to her room and stayed in tonight. Debbie, Adam and I went out in the Old Quarter and found the lake. Debbie needed to buy Adam a new piece of luggage. His had torn when they got to Chicago and it was wrapped in duct tape and garbage bags. So we found a luggage vendor and she got him a new suitcase for about $30 US. Great deal!! They had some awesome North Face packs at a vendor near by. If I had more room in my luggage I would’ve bought one for sure. After the luggage purchase we went to get some dinner at City View Cafe. It is on the 6th floor of a building in one of the busiest intersections in Hanoi. We grabbed some food and made our way back to the hotel through the night market.
So, here I am writing the blog. We got back to the hotel around 9:30, but while I was waiting for the internet to load my blog page I fell asleep! Just woke up a half hour ago and I”m still so tired. But, I wanted to get this in as I won’t have time in the morning.
Tomorrow we are planning on just walking around Hanoi and seeing some sights before we have to go back to the airport for our flight to Danang/Hoi An. We are flying into Danang and will travel by car for about 40 minutes to Hoi An. Hoi An is probably one of my most favorite places ever. I can’t wait to get there. Tomorrow is a partial travel day, and when we arrive in Hoi An we are going to get fitted for some clothes. I’m buying a suit! You can get a suit made, or pretty much anything you want, in 24 hours and it will probably cost me about $50. And, the quality is amazing. So, that should be fun. Back in one of my most favorite cities!!!
Right now, I’m about to fall asleep as I write this. So, I better go. Until tomorrow!!!