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Hoa Lu - Tam Coc

Hanoi


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The ancient town in the Ninh Binh province, lies approximately 90 km outside Hanoi, takes about two and half hours by bus. The roads in Vietnam is not bad but the speed limit is 80km/h and it is quite an adventure driving on the road. Don't try and drive in Vietnam, especially not in or close to the bigger cities. APT travel agency was brilliant. We had two guides, Tahn (sorry not sure I spell your name correct) and the training guide Kien. Both are very good and I would definitely recommend them to anyone. Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. In the late 10th century, Hoa Lư was the capital as well as the economic, political and cultural center of Đại Cồ Việt, an independent Vietnamese polity founded in 968 A.D. by the local warlord Đinh Bộ Lĩnh (Dinh dynasty which lasted only 40 years). This was also the capital of Vietnam until 1010, after which the capital become Thang Long, which is today known as Hanoi. This place is known as the Halong Bay on ground. It is breathtaking. Halong bay has approx 1600 islets where Hoa Lu has more than 3000 of these limestone mountains.
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Tanh, the guide.
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Kien, training guide and father of new baby girl.
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Our lunch, Spring rolls, chicken, goat, rice, corn pancake
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The town
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All over Vietnam houses are build like this. Usually just one facing (room ) but sometimes up to 4 or 5 levels high. The reason for this is the tax on the land that is very high as well as you pay for the facing (width) of the house. Which means, you can build as many levels as you can, the tax will stay the same.
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Posted by GT Travel 08:41 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Halong Bay

Hanoi


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Before I tell you about Halong Bay, see below pictures of DaNang city and the Dragon Bridge.
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Halong Bay, which means Dragon that came down from heaven, is approximately 170 km from Hanoi and is one of UNESCO heritage sites. It was the focus point of many wars from the 3rd to the 10th century. Interesting story, the second time Mongolia tried to invade Vietnam via Halong Bay, the King ordered the Vietnamese people to plant bamboo shoots in the shallow water. when high tide comes in, the bamboo is covered. The enemy don't see this and when they sail over the shoots their boats got stuck. The Vietnamese kept them away from their shores. Up to today the Vietnamese people are thankful for their king and honors him with food and fruit at his tomb. Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Before reached the bay we stopped at a handicapped factory, the photos is actually embroidery. The sunrise is for my sister.
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Halong Bay
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On every trip/tour I do, I meet the most amazing people from all over the world and we become friends in a matter of minutes. This trip was no exception. This is Dayan, from Colombia and Simon from Paris. They stay in Barcelona now. Simon, I will come visit your T-shirt shop (Viva Maria) in Barcelona.
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Our tour guide "Christiano Ronaldo", his name is to difficult to pronounce so he gave himself the name:
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Then there is these two gentlemen from Korea, Peter (Bruce Lee) with the yellow track suit and Kim. Now these two are traveling the world. They started in October and will end their tour in 11 months. They both served in the military for 3 years. You see Peter, it was good from your mother to teach you English at night. You would not have been able to communicate with us. I will see you in Seoul. Thank you all for a great day.
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Posted by GT Travel 08:21 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hanoi

Hoan kiem lake

overcast 23 °C
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Arrived in Hanoi this morning, went straight to Hoan Kiem lake. It is believed that if you see one of the turtles, you will be lucky for the next 100 years. I wanted to dive in the lake, apparently not allowed. Then I realised, I am in Vietnam, don't need luck. Hanoi is a fleamarket on steroids, red bull and creatine. There must be 100 stalls in a street, nearly 100 streets. This is how it works. Every street name is named after the product it sells. If you see a street that sells shoes, everyone in that street sells shoes. Why? If you want to open a shop, you look at how successful the shops are in the area, then you open a similar shop next to it. Imagine that, tolerance for someone else?
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Posted by GT Travel 17:46 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Ba Na Hills

DaNang

overcast
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Ba Na Hills (named after all the Banana trees that grow on the mountains) was inherited from the French after WW2. It is the longest cable car in the world and the trip up or down is absolutely spectacular. The forest is inhabited with snakes, monkeys and over 300 different species of Orchids. The Vietnamese government has forbid anyone to set foot in these forests, they want to preserve it for the future. On top of the hill is also a theme park and a 24m high Buddha, one of three colossal Buddhas that is situated in a triangle around Da Nang (this is to protect the people in the city)Bana_Hills_001.jpg
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Who is the leader in this group?
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A wine cellar in the mountain.
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This one is for my friend Donald:
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Lunchtime: Included, Sweet & Sour pork, braised pork, BBQ Duck, Sushi, Fried Spring Roll and steamed bun. Desert - Dragon Fruit, Vegetable Jelly and BANANA AND COCONUT COLD SOUP (please note, this is most probable the best desert on earth)
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Some images of the wax museum, new friends and the trip down
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DaNang City
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Posted by GT Travel 05:42 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hoi An

Danang

sunny
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Hoi An is approximately 30km from DaNang. When I left My Son Sanctuary I wemt to Hoi An. I really wish I could have stayed here longer. This place is like the best place to retire on earth. It looks like little Italy, smell like Asia and feel like heaven. While walking through the streets there was a kind of calm in the atmosphere. The locals as well as the visitors seemed to be on some kind of high, could possibly be the funny grass smell in the air:
First, the motorcycle I travelled with, 150kms
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The road into Hoi An
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Hoi An
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The locals really love their greens
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The food market
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Soft crab pancake
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Banana Pancake (awesome)
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Hoi An - continues
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And ended up with one of my best meals yet, Chicken Satay and River Turtle, will definitely do this one again.
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Posted by GT Travel 04:31 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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