Ha Long Bay – Day 2 and Last Day in Hanoi – Final Thoughts on Vietnam

Day 2 on the boat cruise in Ha Long Bay started with a trip to Ti Top Island.  After a hike up the island, this is the view you will see.

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From there it was back to the boat for breakfast.  There were a number of items available to order, all included in your package, and I opted for beef pho.  It was so good, I ordered a second one.

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You can also order various fresh juices, Western breakfast items, tea etc.

After that its pretty much back to shore and an end to the cruise.  Going back to Hanoi, I stayed again at the Metropole, but this time in the Opera wing.  The Opera wing is the newer wing.  I MUCH prefer this wing now having stayed in both the Newer and Historical wing.  While the historical wing had lots of character, the Opera wing was brighter, felt fresher, was more comfortable, all while maintaining the old world charm of the hotel.  I would definitely recommend this wing as much superior to the older wing.

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Bathroom of our room in the Opera wing

For lunch I went back to 4Ps Pizza – I wanted to try the pastas and have more pizza.  The pastas were very good, and my only feedback would be that the pasta noodles need to be more al dente.  Flavor was fantastic.  Perhaps the noodles are cooked more well done to suit local tastes as pho noodles, for example, are softer, and what locals might be more used to.  We had the bolognese and a Japanese inspired pasta with seaweed, bonito flakes and camembert.

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Japanese inspired pasta with bonito flakes and seaweed – so good!

After the lunch we decided to watch a movie at the CGV Trang Tien.  We booked the gold class tickets, and I would highly recommend this experience for the following reasons:

  1. There are only 18 seats in the entire theater.  They are “love seat” style with each one accommodating two guests.  You basically feel like you are in your own private theater.
  2. The seats are plush leather, and electronically recline to virtually lay flat.  You are given blankets too.
  3. The sound is amazing.
  4.   While waiting for your movie to start, there is a lounge for you to use with free tea.

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For my last dinner in Vietnam, I went to Home Hanoi.  What you will notice as you enter Home Hanoi is the cleanliness and character of the place.

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The service is very good and friendly.  The food was good.  We ordered a few items including one last Bun Cha.

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…and that ends my trip to Vietnam.  Did I have a great time?  Yes!  Would I go back?  No.  To me, Vietnam is a place that I would like to see once.  Here are my final thoughts on Vietnam:

Food – This is one of the top reasons to go.  Food is delicious and cheap.  However, while I love Vietnamese food, its not something I want to eat everyday.  One of the reasons is that a lot of the flavor profiles are similar.  Also, while I love street food, I saw many food handling practices that made me think twice about what I just ate.  Also, bathroom facilities are probably not what you are accustomed to if you are coming from a Western Country.

Sights – They are beautiful, but not something I would want to see again.  Some are overrated, and some are over the top beautiful.

Cities – Loved Hanoi, did not like Saigon.  To me, Hanoi is more of a walking city which I favor.  The smaller cities are nice also.  However, none of them interest me enough to return.

Scams – Before going to Vietnam, I read a lot of stories about scams in Vietnam.  I did not encounter any, except MAYBE one.  On the last day, Grab was not available in our area so we took two cabs.  From the same pick up to the same drop off, one cab cost $100k Dong and the other $35k Dong.  Maybe one taxi was waiting longer than the other; who knows.  That was the only thing questionable about our entire trip.

In conclusion, I would recommend someone to visit Vietnam.  I would skip Saigon , start at Nah Trang, and then head North.  Its beautiful, there are a variety of things to see and do, and the food is good.

 

 

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