I just came back from a beautiful trip to Vietnam with a good friend from Venezuela (who now lives in Bogota, Colombia) and his wife. I will do different posts of my trip to the northern side of Vietnam, as each day was full of emotions, breathless landscapes and great energy, and I would like to share each one of the days with you all.♥️✨
We flight with Air Asia, as usual, from Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2) to Hanoi. As Venezuelan, I needed the tourist visa which I easily got it on arrival. The process is quite short and fast, really efficient! After like 10 mins, they were already calling me “Faibyoluu Luechee” 😂.. Yeap, that was me! And passing through immigration was as easily. At the exit, Mr. David (our tour guide) was already waiting for us.
I contacted Mr. David as he had already been the tour guide of my friends from Colombia in KL, and they totally recommended him. I planned about two months ago the trip with him, around the number of days we would be staying, the hotel “star level”, the cruise type (for Ha Long Bay), and so on. Mr. David was super professional and helpful when planning the trip, and even more when we toured around. He is really knowledgeable and we truly enjoyed the whole trip. BUT, before I continue talking about Mr. David and recommend him, let me tell you about a place for Calming the Heart.
We drove for almost three hours to get to what is better known as the Ha Long Bay in land: Tam Coc. As always, I did my research and I was mesmerized of the landscapes that I was going to see, I was prepared (visually) for it. However, seeing it with your own eyes was something totally different.👀😍
We got into this boat row by a lady with her feet. It might sound crazy, but no, she was actually doing it with her feet: a continuous, strong movement that I can assure you she could do all day long—and many of the village’s women were doing the samd which I think was interesting. So, we started our small trip, and it was just amazing! Only things I could hear: the sound of the water, the small noise the insects made when being really close to the water (almost touching the water with their bodies), the air moving and mixing the greens and the yellows from the leaves of the trees and the field rice’s, and the sun really bright and making the blue sky really blue. The image was picture perfect, but mostly it was perfect for the soul, enriching my heart visually. Going through the small water channels, enjoying the sounds, and the tranquility of the place was an incredible experience! ..Looking at the series of mountains pagodas surrounding us, and blocking our sight to not see beyond, but as to enjoy each moment, each minute was beyond perfection!
We went through two dark caves, full of mysteries, and no doubt that full of insects and animals that made the little passage through the caves more interesting. The Lady had a head light, and the reflection of the little boat, and of the stalactites in the water was magnificent! Wanted to keep it with me in a picture, but the lenses didn’t capture the true beauty of it, so it is something that I will keep in my memories only.
On the way back, many and many more mesmerized tourists, they all had our same face and you could tell they felt too the way this place was calming the heart. Each one of them share a beautiful smile with us, all happy for being there within so much nature.
From there we went to the Bich Dong Temple. Mr. David had explained that there are three different Buddhist temples, the first one in the ground and the other two uphill. The entrance of the place was like taken out of the Indiana Jones movie, and I was totally into character with my green pants, white shirt and big hat—oh! And, camera on hand! Lol!
We got in, and the first Buddhist temple is beautiful. We continued our way up, and there it was: the most beautiful altar in this little Buddhist temple that I had ever seen. There was something magical about it, I don’t know if it was the fact that it is up the hill with a magnificent view of the rice fields, and the river, or because it is so secluded for the exterior world.
We walked some more: through a small cave, up some stairs, some more stairs with the trees side by side, and there is was: the last Buddhist temple up in the mountain. The view even more magnificent (is it even possible?!), rocks and trees surrounding it. I just stayed there looking at everything, feeling everything. Calming the heart from the stairs was one thing, but the place itself was purposely there for calming the heart, calming the mind.
We went back to the van, and we border the river in order to make it to the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital where you can find the Dinh Dynasty temple. When you get there, there is an enormous bridge separating the little island where the temples of Kings Dinh and Le are, from the land. Walking through the bridge, buffalos taking a shower, people on their motorcycles, in their bicycles, taking pictures, walking around—everything looked like a movie set. How much perfection and synchronization can you see in such place?
We enjoyed our tour in the Ancient Capital, and we were ready to go back to Hanoi. After about two hours and a half going back, we got into this energetic city with miliions of motorcycles, which no doubt it is the preferable way of transportation here. Young men/women, families, old men/women, families with kids and dogs, all going around the city to their desire destination—it was a chaotic perfection! And in such chaos we actually made it to the hotel, and the challenge was to go across the street, cause car, or motorcycles don’t stop, they just continue their way and you must do the same. It was terrifying, but exciting and fun at the same time!! 🚙🚕🏍🛵
We had dinner in a little street in the middle of what is Hanoi’s downtown, between shops, beauty salons, restaurants…all mixing together in that chaos! We had Pho-Beef Nooddle Soup. The funny thing was the chairs and the tables, as they were miniature, it was like for my 6/4-year-old nieces – Comfortable tho! 😉
Mr. David also took us to get a local beer at a local place, and it was a great way to end this wonderful first day in Vietnam, and be ready and excited about the rest of the trip: cruising in Ha Long Bay in a private boat! Can’t wait to tell you about it!!