OUR GROUP SHOT IN FRONT OF HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM.

HANOI: How Awesomely Nice Our Itinerary!

 

Last November 8-12, Cebu Pacific flew to Hanoi with famous travel bloggers from the Philippines. We were part of that group. And to borrow a line from Michelle Eve De Guzman of Cebu Pacific, “How Awesomely Nice Our Itinerary!”

CEBU PACIFIC FLIES TO HANOI.
CEBU PACIFIC FLIES TO HANOI.

Introduction to Hanoi

DUC ON BOARD THE SHUTTLE BUS THAT WE USED DURING THE 3-DAY HANOI TOUR.
DUC ON BOARD THE SHUTTLE BUS THAT WE USED DURING THE 3-DAY HANOI TOUR.

Duc who was our Tour Guide who welcomed us at Noi Bai International Airport and is from Hanoi Red Tours,  told us that 7.5 million visited Vietnam last year, 2013. That is close to the number of population in Vietnam which is around 7 million people, according to him.

By the way, the month of November signals the start of Winter in Vietnam. Summer starts in July-August.

And so we started the journey on the midnight of November 9 at Noi Bai International Airport. From there we went to our first hotel check-in in Hanoi.

Day 1

Crowne Plaza West Hanoi

AT CROWNE PLAZA WEST HANOI HOTEL.
AT CROWNE PLAZA WEST HANOI HOTEL.

Booked at Crowne Plaza West Hanoi, we were joined by Melo Villareal of Out of Town Blog, Marky Go of Nomadic Experiences, Micaela Rodriguez of Senyorita.net, Shayla Sanchez of When In Manila, Jonel Uy of Let’s Go Sago, Gigi Hilotin of Pinay Solo Backpacker, Nina Fuentes of Just Wandering, Ferdz Decena of Ironwulf.net, Kezia Romblon of Stratworks, Len Borja of JG Summit Holdings Inc., Michelle, and Pinoy Adventurista.

Buffet breakfast is served at this hotel.

Ho Chi Minh Complex

OUR GROUP SHOT IN FRONT OF HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM.
OUR GROUP SHOT IN FRONT OF HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM.

We went to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and One Pillar Pagoda, both of which are located inside the Ho Chi Minh Complex which opens daily from 7:30 AM to 11 AM only.

5 minutes away is Temple of Confucius built in 1070. This place is most commonly known today as Temple of Literature. We were surprised that November is graduation month for students in Hanoi. We witnessed the graduation parade of students from different schools inside the Temple of Literature that goes far up to the Old French Quarter.

SenXanh Ho Tay

Lunch was served at SenXanh Ho Tay or Green Lotus Restaurant located at Pham Hong Thai . They served us appetizer or khai vi which included bun cha ha noi grilled meat cake, pho cuon rolled rice cake with beef, and muc xao lo sauted squid with cauliflower. Next were heo nuong la moc mat or grilled pork with moc mat leaf, ga quay mat ong roasted chicken with honey, and tom hap trai dua steamed shrimp with coconut juice.

The food never stopped and next on the menu were ca kho to or braised fish in clay pot, canh cua mong toi, ca phao minced crab broth with vegetable, ngon su su xao toi sauted su su with garlic, and com hap dua steamed rice with coconut juice.

Desserts came in with banh com hang than hang than young rice cake and tra viet nam Vietnamese green tea.

And what do they say before you eat in Vietnam? Chuc quy khach ngon mieng or enjoy your meal!

Cyclo

TRAVEL BLOGGERS FROM MANILA PREPARING FOR THE RICKSHAW CYCLO RIDE AROUND THE OLD QUARTER.
TRAVEL BLOGGERS FROM MANILA PREPARING FOR THE RICKSHAW CYCLO RIDE AROUND THE OLD QUARTER.

Prepare 70,000VND or around USD3.50 for a one hour ride of the cycle rickshaw known as cyclo in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.

Ceramic Wall at Yen Phu Street

If you’re going around Hanoi, you’ll never miss the 5 km ceramic wall at Yen Phu street. Currently it holds Guinness Book of World Record as the Longest Wall of its kind.

Co Ngu, Bai Chay

INSTAGRAM POST OF THE HA NOI BIA.
INSTAGRAM POST OF THE HA NOI BIA.

After a long 3 hour ride from West Hanoi to Bai Chay, we dined at Co Ngu just in time for dinner. Here we tried the Ha Noi Beer! It tasted good! It reminded us of San Miguel Super Dry Beer.

Halong Plaza

OUR ROOM AT HALONG PLAZA HOTEL.
OUR ROOM AT HALONG PLAZA HOTEL.

Our group checked-in at Halong Plaza Hotel, some 30 minutes away from Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. We needed a good night sleep before we tour Ha Long Bay early next morning.

Before we left for Ha Long Bay Junk Boat Cruise, we had our breakfast at the hotel.

If you’re reading this and you’re planning on a Hanoi/Ha Long Bay tour, visit Halong Plaza Hotel Facebook Page and join their photo contest. One of the contest rule is to have a photo taken inside the Halong Plaza which will entitle the participant a chance to an overnight stay in case that he or she wins.

Day 2

Ha Long Bay Junk Boat Cruise

HA LONG BAY JUNK BOAT CRUISE.
HA LONG BAY JUNK BOAT CRUISE.

The Ha Long Bay Junk Boat Cruise takes about 3 hours of fun and exciting spelunking, lagoon river passing through, and sight seeing the Ha Long Bay. Prepare 120,000VND for the sight-seeing tour (excluded here are food, cave entrance, sampan boat ride, and tips).

GOPRO GROUFIE AT HA LONG BAY JUNK BOAT CRUISE WITH DUC. Photo by Melo Villareal.
GOPRO GROUFIE AT HA LONG BAY JUNK BOAT CRUISE WITH DUC. Photo by Melo Villareal.
CAUGHT THEM DOING A GOPRO GROUFIE!
CAUGHT THEM DOING A GOPRO GROUFIE!

For those who are in a bigger boat, guests can spend overnight at the Bay area and day tour for additional costs. Boats also offer karaoke to heighten the mood.

Cafe Phô Cô

Going back to Old Quarter, Duc brought us to a quaint and narrow place where there’s a steady Hoan Kiem Lake viewing upstairs. On the third floor of an old and rustic residential/commercial building is the dining area where visitors can have the wide angle view of Hoam Kiem Lake.

Tip: Order coffee at the ground floor before going up through a spiral and winding staircases. 

Cafe Phô Cô is best famous for ca phe trung da, coffee topped with raw egg, 35,000VND per cup.

GROUP SHOT AT THE BRIDGE AT HOAN KIEM LAKE.
GROUP SHOT AT THE BRIDGE AT HOAN KIEM LAKE.

Cafe Phô Cô is located in Hang Gai Street.

Water Puppet Show

WATER PUPPET SHOW.
WATER PUPPET SHOW.

There are two Water Puppet Theaters that we saw in Hanoi but the one were we watched is at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. The Water Puppet Show is about Vietnamese story about the legend-history of Hanoi. The show presented the story and the puppets moving in the water.

The Water Puppet Show looks like a blockbuster movie because a lot of people, especially foreigners lined-up in a crowded theater entrance just before the show started at 6 in the evening.

Com Viet

 

GROUP SHOT AT COM VIET RESTAURANT. Photo by Ferdz Decena.
GROUP SHOT AT COM VIET RESTAURANT. Photo by Ferdz Decena.

Com Viet could have been another Vietnamese restaurant if not for the funny waiter who put smiles back in our faces after he asked Gigi for her ‘undress’ that sent us to a laugh-trip moment.  But of course what he meant was for Gigi’s address.

Crowne Plaza West Hanoi

AT THE LOBBY OF CROWNE PLAZA WEST HANOI HOTEL WITH TRAVEL BLOGGERS FROM MANILA.
AT THE LOBBY OF CROWNE PLAZA WEST HANOI HOTEL WITH TRAVEL BLOGGERS FROM MANILA.

We came back to Crowne Plaza West Hanoi to spent the evening of our 2nd day in Hanoi. From the 6th floor on our first Crowne Plaza check-in, we were now booked at the 18th floor of the hotel. Upgrade!

While some of our companions were already sleeping, Marky, Kezia, Nina, Mica, Michelle, Melo, Len, and yours truly enjoyed the night by playing Cards Against Humanity. At first, we did not get what this card game was all about but as soon as we get used to it we were already asking for the most weirdest and sexiest cards from the deck. If you are wondering what we are talking about, look for this card game and you’ll be surprised of what you can think about when it comes to the most unthinkable play of words in Cards Against Humanity.

Warning: Cards Against Humanity is not for the old fashioned (no pun intended). Thanks to Nina for introducing this game to us.

Day 3

Starbucks

For Pinoys, a visit in a Starbucks branch in a foreign land would be incomplete, especially if you’re a collector.

Submitting to friends’ request, we asked Duc to take us to the nearest Starbucks and once there, we jumped out of the shuttle together with Melo and Jonel and looked for a Starbucks novelty items.

There are 4 Starbucks in Hanoi and a total of 12 stores in Vietnam. Starbucks is not that very much popular in Vietnam, they only opened this year. Vietnam of course is not new when it comes to coffee. Vietnam is home to original Vietnamese coffee shops like Highlands Coffee and Trung Nguyen. And let’s not forget those little coffee shops that you’ll find in every streets and corner in Vietnam.

Nha Hang Dac Kim

BUN CHA GRILLED PORK MEAT.
BUN CHA GRILLED PORK MEAT.

If you want to try and feel the authentic way and tradition of eating Bun Cha, Nha Hang Dac Kim along Hang Manh Street at the Old Quarter is the place to be.

The traditional way of serving Bun Cha and Nem Cue Be can be found at this tiny restaurant. Bun Cha with Nem Cue Be or the traditional grilled pork served with rice noodle, herbs and green leaves, garlic, and chopped chili pepper is paired with crab meat spring rolls.

Joma Bakery Cafe

JOMA BAKERY CAFE FACADE.
JOMA BAKERY CAFE FACADE.

And as if we can’t get enough of coffee, our group settled for another drink at Joma where we found an interesting pastry named Nanaimo Bar is served.

NANAIMO BAR FROM JOMA BAKERY CAFE.
NANAIMO BAR FROM JOMA BAKERY CAFE.

Upon checking online, we’ve found out that Nanaimo Bar is a Canadian dessert and popular in North America. It’s a a bar dessert named after a west coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. And we thought it was Vietnamese. Again, no pun intended.

Joma Bakery Cafe is located at 22 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoan Kiem District, Hà Nội, Vietnam.

Papaya T-shirt Store

We don’t know exactly the name of the store but it’s actually at the entrance hallway of Cafe Phô Cô. Not in our Hanoi itinerary but we’ve included it here because this is where you can find and buy good quality t-shirts with awesome designs.  Unlike those selling in night markets, Papaya T-shirt brand is good for its price and you’re sure it wont look old or worn-out too fast.

Papaya T-shirt costs 250,000VND to 400,000VND, depending on the print designs.

Flamingo Dai Lai Resort

 

Our last destination and it was kinda felt like we wanted our trip to extend another day more, because of Flamingo Dai Lai Resort at Ngọc Thanh, Phúc Yên in the province of Vĩnh Phúc.

Flamingo Dai Lai Resort has a huge landscape of 123 hectares with villas, lake, pine trees, and amenities like spa, clubhouse, function hall, and a lot more.

GOPRO GROUFIE SHOT AT FLAMINGO DAI LAI RESORT. Photo by Melo Villareal.
GOPRO GROUFIE SHOT AT FLAMINGO DAI LAI RESORT. Photo by Melo Villareal.
ONE HOUR MASSAGE AT FLAMINGO SPA TO SOOTHE TIRING MUSCLES FROM THE TOUR.
ONE HOUR MASSAGE AT FLAMINGO SPA TO SOOTHE TIRING MUSCLES FROM THE TOUR.

Dubbed as a romantic getaway,  Flamingo Dai Lai Resort is perfect for themed party, pre-nuptial photo shoots, weddings, concerts, music video production, and everything you can think of.

Bamboo Wing

We had our sumptuous dinner at Bamboo Wing and our hosts were the Flamingo Dai Lai Resort executives headed by its General Manager Cesar Castro, who is a Filipino, and Hanoi Red Tours led by Nguyen Thi Van Anh.

It’s just sad that we have to say goodbye to Flamingo Dai Lai Resort too early to catch the evening flight of Cebu Pacific to Manila.

NOI BAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
NOI BAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.

Overall, we are thankful to Cebu Pacific and Stratworks, Inc. for making this Hanoi Familiarization Tour possible.

Cebu Pacific flies to Hanoi every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10:20 PM at NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City.

 

Book & Buy

Viewed 94235 times by 7642 viewers

ADMIN

Juan Manila Express is a magazine-themed blog of different niche from daily grind to headline news, to entertainment updates and social media related topics. Email us at [email protected] for your suggestions and comments. Thank you for visiting!

More Posts

ADMIN

Juan Manila Express is a magazine-themed blog of different niche from daily grind to headline news, to entertainment updates and social media related topics. Email us at [email protected] for your suggestions and comments. Thank you for visiting!

Let's Talk!