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Thread: Hanoi & Halong Bay trip

  1. #1
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Hanoi & Halong Bay trip

    We have 7 nights at the fabulous Essence d'orient Hotel in Hanoi's old quarter broken by 2 nights out on Halong Bay.

    Met at the near new Noi Bai airport, opened just 10 months ago, we enjoyed stunt-like driving on the way to the Essence. Our driver was fairly adept at multiple lane changing with economical use of signalling devices and wasted little space when sliding between vehicles in city traffic. Oncoming and turning traffic seemed to slide past even when both vehicles were on the wrong side. Jo's fingernails are still embedded in my knee.

    I noticed something interesting though, unlike Thailand, 99% of scooter riders wear helmets, but 75% have no wing mirrors. Consequently any heavily laden merchants cannot see what's coming from behind let alone from either side and horns are constantly in use.

    The Essence was personally recommended and one only needs to read a few of TripAdvisor reviews to realise its a special place. Well, reality is even better! Our welcome was warm and and all staff (speak excellent English), offer loads of helpful advice at every opportunity. Often unsolicited.

    We were upgraded to a front Deluxe room and although just 3 floors above a noisy soi, the double glazing blocks out all sound and heat. Everything is provided in room including WiFi, a laptop, mini bar, hair drier, soap shampoo ... Even a comb and toothbrushes. For usd$45++ per night it is exceptionally modern, clean and well appointed. The inclusive breakfast buffet is extensive and there's something to suit every nationality. Impressive!

    Within a few steps of the front door is 7/11 type store and a busy intersection where one may sit and watch the world go by.... Drinking coffee by day and $1 beers by night.

    Watch this video for more detail ...

    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน OZZYGUY's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting Rob keen to know more about your trip. We are planing a first time trip to VN in April next year.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Stillearly's Avatar
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    Look forward to reading this , I visited about 20 years ago but didn't make it to Halong Bay , I did Hanoi - Hue - Danang - Natrang - Saigon ... the big thing back then was in Hanoi you rarely saw any scooters just bicycles , but down south they were everywhere

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stillearly View Post
    Look forward to reading this , I visited about 20 years ago but didn't make it to Halong Bay , I did Hanoi - Hue - Danang - Natrang - Saigon ... the big thing back then was in Hanoi you rarely saw any scooters just bicycles , but down south they were everywhere
    Might notice a difference now SE. 555

    Spent today with 2 business contacts and were chauffeured around town in yet another amusing yet frenetic tangle of traffic. Several scooters actually contacted one of our 'taxis' yet maintained balance and momentum. I quite enjoy it, as a passenger, and will never complain about Thai traffic or poor driving again.

    Local business people are not happy with the political situation and rampant corruption makes even Thailands recent past look very tame. Very little spending on infrastructure and real estate values quite high compared with most ASEAN countries except SNG.

    Smog was better today and I'm told Halong Bay will be clear. We saw many derelict building sites and impoverished community dwellings on the city outskirts. Nice city for a tourist visit and very friendly ppl but not a desirable expat destination by any measure. IMHO.
    Stillearly likes this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

  5. #5
    Platinum billpay's Avatar
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    Never made it to Hanoi in three trips to VN. I just heard that the people there are not as friendly.
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    Lamai Beach Bum Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน bacwaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaptainrob View Post



    Smog was better today and I'm told Halong Bay will be clear....
    I have been to Halong Bay on 3 separate visits and 3 different times of the year (and funnily enough for 3 days each)...its never been clear until at least late morning/early afternoon....and then only about half the time

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    Lamai Beach Bum Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน bacwaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billpay View Post
    Never made it to Hanoi in three trips to VN. I just heard that the people there are not as friendly.
    I found no discernable difference in the people..most were happy to enagage and help if asked in both places

    I actually like Hanoi better...its smaller, more easily covered, has the lake at its centre which gives it a more relaxed feel, it still has a real French Colonial vibe to it...and it gets 4 real seasons

  8. #8
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    People are exceptionally friendly, more so than many Thai's, perhaps due to better English skills. We enjoyed happy hour prices for drinks again last night and the local draught beers are excellent and inexpensive. Lucky me, our hotel is within sight of the famous " beer corner", Hanoi's equivalent of Bangla/Rattuthit intersection except everyone sits right out in the street whilst buses, cars, trucks and scooters weave thru the crossroad between pedestrians and street vendors. Difficult to get good shots but here's a few....







    And by day, beer bars revert to coffee shops ....



    Cigarette or trinket vendors change to flowers and fruit ...



    Quarky, PeteGill, Condo and 4 others like this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

  9. #9
    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Changone's Avatar
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    A Hanoi hotel with an "ANZ Bank" ATM at the front door cannot be all that bad....
    kaptainrob likes this.

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    Lamai Beach Bum Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน bacwaan's Avatar
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    loads of ANZ atms all over Vietnam

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Nomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bacwaan View Post
    loads of ANZ atms all over Vietnam
    For now!!! Asia strategy hasn't been popular with brokers...new CEO may be pressured by shareholders to make changes.
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  12. #12
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    For now!!! Asia strategy hasn't been popular with brokers...new CEO may be pressured by shareholders to make changes.
    Stands to reason with extrememely low interest rates on trade related finance compared with Aus/NZ domestic business, particular!y mortgage finance. ANZ remains committed to Asia and is well positioned as an ASEAN Banker.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Last 2 days we've been exploring the old city, shopping and eating ... Mainly street food! A few random photos of the tastier dishes below ...

    Fried crab and pork rolls





    Bun cha (BBQ pork belly and savoury rissoles)





    And a big surprise at brekkie in the hotel was Bo Kho, beef stew, specially made for us by the kitchen staff after hearing us inquiring where we could find a good outlet for this famous southern dish ...



    Needless to say we have been generous with thanks to all the wonderful staff here at Essence. They're like family ...



    Early departure for Halong Bay tomorrow and back to Essence late monday, so ... Bye for now!
    PeteGill and OZZYGUY like this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

  14. #14
    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน PeteGill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaptainrob View Post
    Last 2 days we've been exploring the old city, shopping and eating ... Mainly street food! A few random photos of the tastier dishes below ...




    Yes, very tasty dishes, well someone had to say it 555

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Zablive's Avatar
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    Just saw a report that they have just cancelled over 50% of tour boats going into Ha Long bay due to a lack of an oil/water separator.
    I hope you get there (and back)!
    Sorry no link available.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    if i went to monkey beach there again i wouldn't bother getting off the boat. the most aggressive monkeys i've seen there.
    i saw about 4 people get bitten in the space of about 30 mins. i just backed myself up to the water and observed then made a run for the boat along the waters edge 55
    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน justcruzing1's Avatar
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    Isn't one of the Canadian banks very big in Vietnam as well???

    I remember being told them and ANZ were very strong in business banking, not mortgage lending, over there and there were some exceptional interest rates on fixed deposits being offered.
    "Of course you love me darling, I handsome man 55555"

  18. #18
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zablive View Post
    Just saw a report that they have just cancelled over 50% of tour boats going into Ha Long bay due to a lack of an oil/water separator.
    I hope you get there (and back)!
    Sorry no link available.
    No problem reported this end and hotel is agent so I'm sure we'd have been informed.

    We have no reason to leave the vessel as its jo's holiday and first time on a cruise of any kind. She wants to relax and do what tg's do best, enjoy the food. Monkeys probably as bad as Bali, very aggressive and will steal items if not careful.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

  19. #19
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Zablive's Avatar
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  20. #20
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Having French wine with dinner just now but oh my buddha, what a ship and awesome suite complete with bath and huge balcony. I'll post photos later.

    And we have WiFi... In case you hadn't guessed.

    Loads of cruise vessels followed us out from the marina although most are barely half full. Some appear to have less pax than our 13 pax. With 27 crew we're being pampered and I find it hard to believe there's anything better than Au Co. That's the boat name.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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