This journey is a very sudden trip. Well, we just thought that we wanted to go and just set out without a plan.
And I have to say also that, this is our first abroad trip together.
Before the trip, we were anxious, worried and afraid of many things.
Meanwhile, our friends gave us lots of recommendations so we are more careful.
This trip, we focus on easy and safe, chill and relax.
We fly to Hanoi with Air Asia which now fly throughout ASEAN, including Hanoi.
Let's find out about our first abroad trip together, let's go....
The preparation before going to Hanoi, Vietnam:
• Passport and Visa •
Thai people don't have to apply for a visa and can stay up to 30 days but the validity of the passport must be over 6 months.
• Transportation •
Air Asia offers two direct flight from Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Hanoi per day.
FD 642 : Don Mueang 07.05 to Hanoi 08.30 / FD 644 : Don Mueang 18.45 to Hanoi 20.20
FD 643 : Hanoi 09.00 to Don Mueang 10.50 / FD 645 : Hanoi 20.50 to Don Mueang 22.50
• Currency •
The currency of Vietnam is Dong. The exchange rate is 1 THB=667.07 Dong (updated 7th June 2017).
But I recommend you to bring the USD and exchange at the Hanoi Airport, 1 USD = 22600 VND
• Plug •
Vietnam use the same plug as Thailand, so we don't have to bring an adapter.
• Time •
Time is Vietnam is also the same as in Thailand.
• Sim card and Internet •
There're available throughout Hanoi but you could also get one from the airport.
I choose to use 3.5 GB internet for 4 Days 3 nights trip which costs me 9 USD. If you think you might use more, you can get a higher value package.
• Accommodation and Booking •
Accommodation in Hanoi is not so expensive, starting from xxx THB and located close to travel destinations.
I book the room with Traveloka and stay at Angel Palace Hotel. Each night is about 1,200 THB and it's luxuriously decorated.
Now that we have the basic information, let's go to Hanoi together....
Day 1 • Bangkok to Hanoi/ Check in to the hotel/ Buy a one day trip/ Explore eating and traveling places nearby
Day 2 • Hanoi- Hoa Lu Tam Coc
Day 3 • Hanoi - Halong Bay
Day 4 • Shop, eat, chill in Hanoi before going back
- Flying from Bangkok to Hanoi
- Checking in at the hotel
- Buying a one day trip package
- Explore eating and traveling places nearby
We start our journey by flying with Air Asia FD 642 : Don Mueang 07.05 to Hanoi 08.30.
The round trip airfare to Hanoi is about 3,xxx THB each which is not so expensive.
Air Asia offers flights throughout ASEAN daily which makes our journey easier.
I recommend you to reach airport at least an hour prior to the flight so you won't have to be too rush.
The international terminal is in building 1. After checking in, do not forget to fill in the information in the departure card.
That we fly early morning, we order breakfast beforehand. It is a "Salted Grilled Salmon" which is served with Japanese Rice and hot Miso Soup. "Strawberry Jelly" is our dessert. I really like this menu and want to recommend to you guys.
For more information of the meal option, please click:
After breakfast, it's time to sleep. But before any good sleep, we reach Hanoi, Vietnam already. The flight is only an hour, very fast.
After taking our luggage, we will see the counter for sim card/ money exchange/ tour services.
We exchange our USD to VND at this counter and get our sim card.
I choose to only use the 3.5 GB for this 4 days and 3 nights trip. It is 9 USD (300 THB). I think this package is sufficient for me.
It's quite good because I can use it for the entire trip. The package is varied, you can choose to have the one you like.
After that, it's time to go to the hotel. I book it with Traveloka which is easy, convenient, and fast.
The money is directly deducted via a credit card. It is about 1,200 THB per night at Antel Palace Hotel.
The hotel is luxury, clean, and offers a great services. For more information, please click https://goo.gl/DaKVjt
Like I mentioned earlier, we focus on easy and safe. We choose the airport shuttle service from the hotel which costs us 20 USD per trip.
For a cheaper price, you can call Uber or the van that park outside the passengers hall where you can share with other passengers and they also provide the drop off at the hotel service.
It takes about 45 minutes from the airport to our hotel.
The hotel is luxuriously decorated in gold. It's only 1,200 THB per night including breakfast and free WiFi.
For me, I think it's so worth the price. The room is clean and the service is great. It also locates near the eating and shopping area.
We arrive here at 10 a.m. so the room has yet ready. The staff ask us to wait for another 15 minutes.
While waiting, they give us recommendation of the nearby eating and traveling places in full details.
The staff also recommends the tour package to us. We were looking to visit Tam Coc and Halong Bay in a one day trip.
Since this is our first trip abroad, we decided to buy the tour packages with the hotel for the peace of our state of mind, haha.
Tam Coc tour is 45 USD (about 1,500 THB).
Halong Bay tour is 55 USD (about 1,800 THB).
If you want a cheaper price, you can walk around and get one from the tour company which you can easily find on the street near the hotel.
There're three different rates which differ in food and pick up services.
Once checking in, let's take a small nap as we traveled quite early this morning.
We get hungry after waking up. So it's time to explore around. Before leaving the hotel, the staff gives us a great recommendation.
Here it is, the tour companies.
It's only 10 minutes from our hotel to Hoan Kiem Lake or Lake of the Returned Sword, the popular tourist destination for both tourists and Vietnamese.
The road is close for people to sit, chill, and shopping on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Here it is our first meal in Vietnam. We didn't really know what to order, so we just point to what it has in the menu, haha.
When the food is served, we are also not sure how to eat so the staff teaches us to eat by saying inside...inside.
Well, just put everything inside and it's so delicious, haha.
The ingredient includes grilled pork, clear soup, rice noodle, and big set of fresh vegetables.
It is served with a fresh fried spring roll. This meal costs us 135,000 VND (200 THB). I learn later that this menu is called Bun Cha.
After the food, we explore around and walk until we reach Lake of the Returned Sword.
This area offers many great photography spots so we can't stop taking ones.
This area also has the red bridge which considers another landmark that we must take a photo.
It's so bright in this angle, so nice, hehe.
The more the evening comes, the more people show up. Vietnamese like to gather here for different kinds of activities.
At night, the lake also turns on the light which make this place looks even more beautiful.
And that is the end of our exploring around hotel mission today.
- A One Day Trip : Hanoi - Hoa Lu Tam Coc
Today we are going to Tam Coc. It is a well known places for having complex mountains like Halong Bay.
We bought this tour package from the hotel which is quite easy and convenient. The minis bus picks us up from the hotel at 8 a.m.
It is about 2-3 hours from Hanoi to Tam Coc. Along the way, there're several stops.
The first stop is the souvenir shop where we could use bathroom, enjoy coffee, and shopping. We stop here for about 20 minutes. I saw the no-photography sign so I didn't take any.
The second stop is Hoa Lu, the previous capital city of Vietnam.
Here offers old architecture and temples for us to enjoy and take photos.
The entrance is so beautiful so let's take a shot though the sun is quite strong.
After getting off from the bus, the hat sellers and photographers will follow you like you are a celebrity.
But if you pay no attention and just keep on walking, they can't do anything, haha.
Inside the temple was built with wood. The area is quite narrow.
After about 30-45 minutes, it's time to move on.
Then, after 10-15 minutes ride, we stop for lunch.
It is a buffet food included in the package (excluding beverages).
The taste is quite alright. It is a local food here.
After that, the mini bus takes us to Tam Coc.
Once we reach the pier, we will take a Bamboo Boat.
The boatman will take us to enjoy the view around, paddling using their feet.
This is another landmark of Tam Coc. Each boat can take two people (excluding a boatman).
If you are ready, let's explore this bamboo boating experience together....
Along the way, we see the rice field and beautiful complex mountains, so chill...
The day we visited, the sky is closed with a slight rain. I recommend you guys to bring an umbrella and heat prevention clothe too.
The boat also takes us into about 2-3 caves which is different and beautiful.
The entire journey is about 40 minutes.
At the end of the route, our boat will stop and let the boat sailing towards us to sell water, snack, and souvenir in which we didn't buy any.
After that, that boat takes us back on the same route. Again, we see this beautiful rice fields and mountains as well as other boats along the way.
Oh!! I forgot to mention!! On the way to the end, there're photographers taking your photo and sell to you with a photo frame at the end of your trip.
If you don't want, you can just enjoy your ride. But if you want, make a good pose to them and negotiate price with them.
Look at him, he's so professional. His feet is paddling while the hands are pressing the shutter... so cool, haha.
Before getting off, we tip our boatman about 100 THB for his nice service.
After that, it's the cycling program to enjoy the nature and way of people's lives nearby.
If you are ready, let's go together...
Oh wow... Look at that view, the green rice field and complex mountains. It's so beautiful.
It's such a chill cycling time with this nice weather. After cycling for a while, the tour guide tells us to stop for photography.
Then, the tour guide takes us to cycling through the field and village to see way of people's lives.
This area is very tranquil. It's a great place for relax and get a fresh air.
We are cycling around 45 minutes, the distance is not far. It's such a chill and fun time.
After that, it's time to go back to Hanoi which takes about 2 hours.
We reach the hotel at 18.30 p.m. At first we were thinking to just have a cup of instant noodle but we are afraid that we might be hungry again.
So we walk to eat nearby our hotel where we have spotted since yesterday exploration mission.
It's Bun Chicken that I don't remember the name. We eat it with Pa Tong Ko. It's quite delicious. This meal cost both of us 70,000 VND (105 THB).
- A One Day Trip : Hanoi - Halong Bay
Today we are going to Halong Bay. This place is quite famous so we wanted to see with our own eyes.
We buy this tour with the hotel and the mini bus picks us up from the hotel at 8 a.m.
It takes about 4 hours from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
Actually it's not that far, due to the speed limitation of only 80 km./hr, it takes longer time.
This route offers similar stop. The first stop is souvenir, bathroom, coffee, and shopping.
Once we arrive, the tour guide let us using bathroom while he go take care of the ticket.
Then, 15 minutes later, the tour guide calls us to get a ticket and onto the boat.
I recommend you to well keep your ticket because you need to show it again when visiting Tien Kung Cave.
Before taking the boat, we need to walk a bit further while many shops are set up like clothes, food, and souvenir.
Soon, after the boat set out, the food is served. We reach here 13.00 p.m. and are very hungry....
The food is served in a table of 6 people (food is included in the package but beverages are not).
After the food is served, a cool water is also served. I quickly drink it and learn later that it's not included in the package, haha.
While eating, the boat is sailing and the tour guide is explaining things. But we didn't listen because we are too hungry, haha.
But as soon as we are full, I take my camera and capture the outside view. It is a view of islands combining with complex mountains, quite beautiful.
- The outside view is quite white, haha. If I knew this earlier, I would have come out long time ago ... ^_^
After the boat sailed for a while, we stop at the pier in the middle of the sea in order to take smaller boat into the cave.
We can either choose to take the bamboo boat or kayaking boat.
We choose the bamboo boat so that we could take photo easier. A boat accompanies 4 people, excluding a boatman.
A boat takes us into the cave to enjoy the view.
Once we are in, the boatman takes our camera and takes photos for us. He also sings for us.
Well, do I want to listen to it? No!!! But I don't know how to tell him, haha.
He also plays with us by shaking our boat. He saw that we were so nervous, so he really enjoys playing with us, haha.
After 20-30 minutes, the boatman takes us back to the pier and off for other stops.
Along the way, we see another landmark island which appears on 200,000 VND banknote too.
Then, we see this strange looking island. It looks like the dogs are about to kiss each other, well, it takes some imagination....
After that, the boat stops us at Tien Kung Cave or Paradise Cave.
Inside the cave, different light are shed towards stalactites and stalagmites, making it look very interesting (I think Thailand should also do the same as it looks so grand).
Inside looks very grand. Each stalactites and stalagmites comes in different shape.
And certain area, the outside light shed in, emphasizing the beauty of the nature.
A groom and a bride
A long hair lady
After all the stalagmite stalactites, we walk up to enjoy a high angle view.
After that, we walk down and back to the hotel. We reach hotel at 20.30 p.m.
Since we reach the hotel quite late, we are too lazy to go out. Instead, we eat a big set of instant noodle and canned fish.
- Shop, eat, chill in Hanoi before going back
We spend our last day in a very slow life fashion after 2 busy days.
Today we want to wake up late a bit to relax from long hours on the bus.....
After breakfast at the hotel, we go out to chill in the rain, so fresh.
Today we try Egg Coffee that the hotel recommend for us. The staff said that we must try when coming to Vietnam because it's quite famous.
Usually, I don't drink coffee but the Egg Coffee is very delicious. It smells good, soft and not so bitter.
Sipping a coffee in the rain is so nice....
Together, it costs us 70,000 VND (105 THB).
After that, we walk to chill and find photography corners around Hanoi.
We start at Ngoc Son Temple or Jade Mountain Temple which is located in the middle of the Lake of Returned Sword.
We can walk to this temple from the red bridge and it is another landmark that people like to take photos.
The entrance fee: Foreign adult is 30,000 VND (45 THB), children is 15,000 VND (23 THB).
Inside the temple consists of ancient shrine and big stuffed turtle.
It is believed that this turtle is one of the two sacred turtles that has long lived in this island.
Vietnamese often come here to worship the sacred things in this temple.
After that, we just wander around, capture atmosphere around, and enjoy the interesting way of people's lives here.
And what can't be missed is .... the horn along the way. If I didn't hear that, I wouldn't feel like I'm in Vietnam, haha.
Then, we are at St. Joseph Cathedral which locates on Yajung Road, the north of Hoan Kiem Lake.
This is another place that I really recommend you guys to visit because it's great for photography and not far from accommodation and old town area.
After walking and getting tired, it's time to have a meal before traveling back.
There's this restaurant recommended by the hotel but we went to the wrong one on the first day. So today, let's to try it out.
This meal, we order it in full stream, like pork sausage, preserved pork, stewed chicken, and Bun bo nam bo, a noodle soup which topped with sauced meat, peanuts, bean sprouts. Then, it is seasoning with fish sauce and chili sauce, so good. It's my favorite dish.
The pork are also tasty where we can dip with sweet and sour sauce. The stewed chicken is a bit bitter, smelling like the herbal medicine here.
This meal costs us 253,000 VND (380 THB) // Bun bo nam bo is 60,000 VND (90 THB) each bowl.
After the stomach is full, it's time to go shopping before returning home.
After choosing and negotiating, we got 2 shirts and a bag of the North Face home.
It costs 960,000 VND (1,440 THB).
Here is the end of our review of 4 days 3 nights trip in Hanoi.
I have below summary out of my personal feeling of this trip.
This trip is our first abroad trip. Before the journey, we searched for information and saw several viewpoints. Many friends warned us about safety in Hanoi but we didn't experience any bad things.
Traveling to Hanoi is very easy. We could easily walk along the street, take photos, shop, eat, and chill.
Accommodations are not so far from the tourist attractions. The rooms are not so expensive, ranging from xxx THB. They are also very nice, worth every penny.
Or if you want to travel to different city, it's also quite easy to search for a one day trip tour from many available tour companies on the street.
It's a perfect place for people who want to try the first abroad trip or those who would like to have new experiences.
This trip offers things that I can't learn from textbook or the internet.
It's also the trip that doesn't require much planning because it's easy to go and we can go everyday.
Air Asia has a direct flight to ASEAN daily.
So we can travel just about whenever we want.
I recommend you guys to find a promotional price for the airfare. The round trip ticket costs us only 3,xxx THB, it's just like a domestic travel.
For the safety issue, I think this place is not that scary but we have to be careful. Do not risk yourself and you won't experience bad things.
Let's try your slow life in Hanoi, Vietnam and you will be happy and experience many new things.
Finally, I'd like to summarize our expenses during trip as below:
- Airport pick up service is 1,300 THB.
- Tam Coc tour is 3,060 THB.
- Halong Bay tour is 3,750 THB.
- A sim card is 300 THB.
- Food and beverages is 1,483 THB.
- Tips is 320 THB.
- Shopping is 1,590 THB.
- The hotel is 3,600 THB.
- The round trip airfare is 6,500 THB.
In total, it is 21,903 THB, divided by 2 people, it is about 10,950 THB each (including everything).
You guys could have spent less because this trip we spend to enjoy the most.
Thank you and Sawaddee Krab
Enjoy Eating and Roaming Around
Monday, June 19, 2017 4:49 PM