Our “Adventurous” Vietnam Trip – Hanoi (Part 1)

26 Aug 2014

Yes, I flew again 3 months after my Taiwan trip~ But this trip is kinda different because:

1) I was going to a non-shopping place; mainly sight-seeing.

2) I was travelling with Yinning and her 4 other friends.

3) It was the most nua and least prepared trip ever; no itinerary, just Google map. Not that I’m complaining, as long as I don’t have to plan anything. I usually go on trips with thick itinerary, but it’s tiring to do that. And not that we realised there’s much in Vietnam anyway.

4) It was a trip that we all couldn’t wait to get back.

5) It was an unexpectedly suay trip.

6) I fell sick the very day before the trip, which added on to the suay-ness. FML.

Yes, basically I caught a flu bug and was down with fever so I got permission from boss to leave early to see a doctor and to rest for the trip. I did not get well in time for the trip and fever was still quite on and off, but I flew nevertheless and suffered the worst nasal congestion during the flight.

I swear my nose was so in pain from the air pressure (plus flu) and it felt like every vessels in my nose was threatening to burst. It was a torturous feeling and I can’t imagine those people having sinus…gosh. Thank goodness I found a sleeping position that made me feel better after trying all poses. Also thanks to the saviour bread that the naggy one got me to buy prior the flight ((:

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Over the clouds
(Some pictures contributed by travel mates because I was too nua this trip)

Got the SIM cards from the airport and the damn shop actually scammed us off 1 card but putting zero value in it! By the time we realised, we had already reached Hanoi. That’s the very first time we realised how scheming and dishonest the people there are, and trust me, this is not the only time for sure. More to come later in the trip~

Arrived at our hotel – Splendid Star Suite after a 1-hour ride that we had booked. This is one hotel that we really, really wanna recommend to everyone because due to unforeseen circumstances, we had tried a few other hotels during this trip but we still love this the most and love this only. Not to mention that the staff are really nice and helpful here, which is the only time we felt that there are still nice people in this country.
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Our awesome room for 6

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Love the balcony!

The only downside is there is a church right beside so during the night, you may hear bell chiming away every now and then. But trust me, the room, the service, the free-flow juices (throughout the day) and nice breakfast will make up for it (:

As much as we would really love to nua in our comfy room, we had to rush out for our food tour! It’s a short tour recommended by Mr Ow and basically there will be a tour guide bringing us around to try different Vietnamese cuisines. We are glad that we had it on the first night because subsequently, we know where to get the good food~

Our first stop was none other than their Vietnamese Phở aka kway tiao!
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I have heard of it a thousand times because Ping is such a fan of it but it was actually my first time trying it! My impression of the phở I see in Singapore is always full of bean sprouts, but the one in Vietnam doesn’t have at all! PHEW~ It’s very 清淡 but surprisingly very nice too! Just too much spring onions =X
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Moving on to next stop!
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Guess what is this?
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I forgot most of the names of the dishes but this is very much like our chee cheong fun with mushroom inside~ Not bad!
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Tried their fried eel as well but I’m not a fan of it =/
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Third stop!

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Spring rolls & “curry puffs”!

They are actually very nice, especially the spring rolls which made the girls go back again on the second last night, but just way too oily for my liking. They are even nicer when dipped in their fish sauce, which we all fell in love with during this trip. They just dip everything in the fish sauce and the food instantly became nicer! Haha!
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Passed by this popular Hoàn Kiếm lake where the tour guide explained to us the story behind it. I only remember it as the “Sword Lake” because the story has something to do with swords.
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With our playful food tour guide! He was actually very happy to see us because he said it’s his first time having 6 young girls with him…hahaha! Later on we realised that it really seemed to be rare to have a group of 6 girls walking on the street because we kept getting stared at >.>
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Continuing our food tour with fruits! They are served in yogurt which tasted more like condensed milk to me =/
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Eating by the roadside with vehicles constantly zooming past us!
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The real STREET style~

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Authentic ice lemon tea next!

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With our female tour guide who is a Jay Chou fan!

I felt unwell again after the ice lemon tea and was starting to feel cold and losing my appetite, so I didn’t fully appreciate the remaining snacks that we tried. But I still tried a bit of each and this rice cracker thing was one of them~
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Popiah again but a sweet one this time! It tasted very much like the old-school sweet popiah with sugar cane candy inside which I really like (the one commonly sold with dragon beard candy)!
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But instead of peanuts, they replaced with coconut shavings, which I think is worse =X
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Next up was Vietnamese beer, and each mug is only like 30 cents!!! It tasted like Tiger beer to me but less bitter, and I only had a few sips because I really don’t fancy beer and I was really feeling unwell.
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Saying “Cheers” in the Vietnamese way

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Passing by a nice gallery

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Very delicate art pieces

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Traditions

Vietnamese satay and we all think that Singapore ones taste better. Not that I am a fan of satay in the first place.
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Lots of fats!!!

Our last stop was coffee – another thing that I don’t really like, yet another thing that they are famous for =/
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But this is not normal coffee, this is EGG coffee! I thought it would taste disgusting but it was surprisingly nice for someone who doesn’t like coffee! Tasted a bit like Tiramisu in a drink form (:
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Finally ended our first night and my body was screaming for me to rest. First to doze off but I think I was the first for the remaining nights as well…HAHAHA. Really sucks to be sick on a trip!

27 August 2014

Felt much better after a good sleep~ Slept in till slightly later because we had one whole day to tour around aimlessly. But before that, hotel breakie first! 😀 They have so many choices for breakfast and we were simply spoilt for choices. Chose a crab noodle in the end and although I did not find any crab meat, it was nice and another 清淡 meal (:
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Cabbed down to our first destination – Museum of Ethnology, as recommended by the food tour guide last night. Definitely learned a bit more about Vietnam after touring around the museum~
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Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups! =O

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Their traditional hats

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Overloaded

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Ritual tree

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Oh they have lion dance too!

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Interesting photography showcasing the olden days of Vietnam

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Old house!

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Long house! 😀

Cabbed down to the West Lake for lunch as recommended by Yinning’s Vietnamese colleague!
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Lunching by the lake (:

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Spring rolls again!

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Their signature prawn cake

Did not manage to take picture of all the food but it was an okay meal~ Kept me full for the remaining day at least.

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Hello birdie!

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Quite like this shot (:

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One of my favourite shots!

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West Lake

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Stroll after lunch

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Blue blue sky~

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Chilling time~!

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Looks like we’re on a cruise!

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Pretty ceiling lights

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Emo Minion

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Our first group shot! 😀

Oh the one beside me is also Shrine’s cousin by the way! They are all Yinning’s secondary schoolmates and they are such a funny bunch!
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I think we were supposed to head to the Temple of Literature but we couldn’t get a cab, so we decided to walk there~ Chanced upon some parliament house-like place and we started cam-whoring inside!
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We continued walking a bit more and ended up at this Ho Chi Minh museum somehow!
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At our aimless destination!

In the end, we decided to forgo the temple since it was closing soon, but since the museum was also closing, we did not bother paying to go in and only stood outside to enjoy the aircon…hehe! Then this little boy suddenly came to sit in the middle of us. Nah he wasn’t begging for money, maybe he was just up-skirting…hahaha!
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The weather there was really kinda crazy; a moment it’s so damn hot and the next moment the sky was covered with dark clouds. We quickly made a move from the museum and got a cab back to hotel, since we couldn’t decide where to go next when it started pouring.

Nua-ed a bit before heading out to try this famous phở at Phở Gia Truyền, as recommended by Ning’s colleague again~
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It was apparently recommended by our food tour guide as well, but we had a hard time making our order simply because we didn’t understand the menu and neither could the staff understand us =/
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In the end, we realised that they only serve beef phở, and most of us actually liked our chicken phở on the first night more. Luckily I shared a bowl with Yinning.
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Booked for massage but since we needed some time to digest, we were off to chill at Ding Tea, which the girls were really excited to see the previous night. We have many bubble tea fans here you see~
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Nice chilling spot!

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Our cozy corner~

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Cheers with Ding Tea!

Felt unwell once again after another cold drink 😦 Just suddenly felt really cold again…sigh~ The fever just kept coming on and off during the first 2 days and it was really annoying. And just when we thought we could be off for a relaxing massage, the real suay thing happened which pretty much affected the remaining of our trip!

What happened was as we were walking through the Old Quarters to the massage place, we came by this crazy traffic junction which we always have a hard time crossing. Oh did I mention how bad the traffic in Hanoi is??? It’s even worse than Bangkok, so you can imagine how hard it is walking on the street, let alone crossing the roads!

Bikes and cars were perpetually zoom-ing past you and horn-ing at you, threatening to kill you every time you come in their way. And it’s not as if they have proper pavements for us to walk on! Most of the pavements are occupied by street stalls or parked vehicles, so it was simply a life-threatening moment every time we hit the street.

The tour guide said the reason for the absence of traffic lights and traffic police is because they want to preserve this “culture” – the culture of a busy street, which is probably what they are known for. I think it’s simply ridiculous to be preserving such culture when safety is so much more important.

So anyway, while we were trying to cross this terrible T-junction, I was telling one of my mates that maybe we should walk further down to cross cause it may be easier. Then the next moment when I turned around to look at the rest behind, wanting to prompt them to cross together, I saw one of them angrily grabbing on to a Vietnamese auntie’s arm. I quickly walked back to find out what happened and the angry mate said she felt someone’s hand taking her phone from her front pocket and this was the woman she caught the moment she turned around.

The Vietnamese woman was very furious and she emptied her pockets and showed us her non-3G phone to “prove her innocence“. There was indeed no sign of my mate’s Note 3 but she was very sure that this woman has something to do with it. Just that they are probably really skilled in this and had passed on the phone to someone else in no time. Then the next moment, another woman on the bike beside me quickly vroom-ed off, and we didn’t manage to catch her.

The angry woman that we caught started making phone calls and we were rather at a loss of what to do. We wanted to call the police but we did not know the number, neither do we know how to communicate to them. Yet at the same time, we didn’t know if the angry woman would be calling her people down, so we escaped from the place first after snapping some pictures of the street name.

We were all feeling rather frantic over the absurdity of this incident and decided to cancel our massage and head back to the hotel to ask the staff for help. Just when we thought the traffic was dangerous, we realised the people there are equally dangerous and we just couldn’t walk on the streets in peace anymore!!! We were all hugging on to our bags as though we have tonnes of gold inside.

Finally made our way back to the hotel and as much as the staff wanted to help us, I think she’s also kinda used to such thing happening around her country. She told us that it’s impossible to find the phone back, but we still insisted on making a police report for the insurance claim.

She tried making some phone calls to different police stations because apparently, there is this effed-up rule in their country that if your incident happened on XXX street, you have to report to this particular police station. If it happened on YYY street, that will be another police station’s business. LIKE SERIOUSLY?! I’ve always thought police are there to HELP us, so why should there be classification of whose business it is?!

After much explanation, the nice staff finally found the right police station for us and even agreed to go with us to be our translator, despite having to carry her 7-month big pregnant tummy with her! Arrived at the station and apparently, the police there are as eff-ed up as their system.

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My virgin visit to the police station in a foreign country.

Firstly, there is no computer so everything is done on papers. Fine. Secondly, the police doesn’t even know how to speak basic English when even the hotel staff can!!! I just can’t imagine anyone desperately trying to make a police report and yet the police doesn’t understand a single word from you.

Thirdly, they were obviously uninterested to help and it seemed more like a chore to them. One of the higher ranked one even shouted at my mate in Vietnamese when she attempted to sit down at his table to fill up her particulars and he yelled at her to move away to the table beside because that is HIS table.

Seriously EFF-ed up!!! And after the whole long statement-taking, they could not give us the report because they still needed the superior to give an approval stamp….Zzzzzzz. So we were told to come back on another day to collect, but we ended up coming for another THREE times. That’s their efficiency, period.

So that ended our super dramatic second night in Hanoi. But the drama is not over; stay tuned for more dramas and suay-ness that happened during the next 4 days of our trip x.x

(via picsandquotes.com)

(via picsandquotes.com)

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3 thoughts on “Our “Adventurous” Vietnam Trip – Hanoi (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Our “Adventurous” Vietnam Trip – Hanoi (Part 2) | Every Entry is a piece of Memory

  2. Pingback: Old Habits (: | Every Entry is a piece of Memory

  3. Pingback: TH 10th Anniversary! | Every Entry is a piece of Memory

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