Monday, September 10, 2012

Hanoi - Water Puppet [Part 8]

14 February 2012 @ Hanoi, Vietnam

One of the major attractions in Hanoi is the water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.

We bought the 9.15pm tickets for 60,000 Dongs each, and we get to sit somewhere in the middle of the theatre. Not bad.

Vietnamese girl sitting beside me!

The show is mostly revolves around the lives of Vietnamese people and some of their folk tales.

I was trying to get a snapshot of the orchestra but I got a pretty dark shot. Did a little editing and the photo turned out pretty creepy...

The show ended in less than 1 hour but the performance was superb. It's amazing how the puppeteers can easily control the wooden puppets to dance on the water.

Right outside the theatre, there's a display of different types of puppets used for performance. I'm amazed at how these puppets are uniquely carved and coloured.

After the show, we took a stroll outside. At the busy street near Hoan Kiem Lake, there are many balloon sellers standing in the middle of the road trying to sell the balloons to the couples on bikes. 

It's quite a dangerous feat as there are constantly swarms of motorcycles trying to run you down zooming on the roads. You will never be able to cross the road if you want to wait until the road is clear!

It was valentine's day anyway. And I think the Hoan Kiem lake is the most romantic place in Hanoi because there were hundreds of couples sitting at the side of the lake! Guess there's not many places for them to hang out...

We joined the crowd and walked along the quiet chilly lakeside. I kinda like the serene feeling while looking at the lighted temple in the middle of the lake.

One of the favourite thing that I like to do when traveling is to hunt for street food. I can see a lot of people eating Pho Bo (pronounce as "Fur Ball" hahaha) at the roadsides and it looks good!

I picked a stall, sat down, ordered my "fur ball" and it was yummilicious! Having a bowl of hot noodle soup in the cold weather was the best thing ever!

Well, by the time I finish my noodles, most of the shops were already closed. 

We went back to our hotel to rest and left Hanoi very very early the next day, after our sumptuous hotel breakfast of course. And that wraps up my short trip to Hanoi! Billy, out.


Monday, September 03, 2012

Hanoi - Valentine's Evening [Part 7]

14 February 2012 @ Hanoi, Vietnam

The third place we stayed during this trip is at Meracus Hotel. We checked in immediately once we reach Hanoi town from Ha Long Bay.

The entrance to the hotel looks really grand and majestic. Even the interior is decorated lavishly.

We were ushered to our room and we got upgraded for free again!
There's a laptop, flat screen tv, a plate of fruits, wine, water and tidbits.

And rose petals were decorated in the shape of heart on the bed to welcome us! I don't know if it's just for Valentine's or they do it everyday...? But it's a very nice effort they've put in.

Added our own touch to it

Needless to say, the bathroom was very clean. There's even a power spray at the shower area to give you a little back massage while you're taking your bath. Brilliant!

Last but not least, a personalized letter for us on a hand-drawn postcard. How lovely...

Later in the evening, we headed out to Gecko Restaurant for Valentine's dinner. There are few branches of Gecko around the town of Hanoi. Guess it must be doing pretty well.

We had appetizers, main course and desserts. The food is good but they're not typical Vietnamese cuisine.

We took our time to finish up our romantic dinner and then headed straight to the Water Puppet Theatre located a couple blocks away to catch our "movie". More on that in my next post. Billy, out.

Next post: Hanoi - Water Puppet [Part 8]

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hanoi - Surprise Cave [Part 6]

14 February 2012 @ Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

We woke up super duper early to join the tai chi master on the deck for our morning exercise.

The surroundings is still very misty and could hardly see anything out there.

The morning tai chi session with the cool and chilly winds really freshen things up.

Breakfast was served immediately after our morning exercise.

We were then ferried to Hang Sung Sot (Cave of Suprises) for our last activity on the cruise.

We have to climb quite a number of flights of stairs to reach the entrance of the cave.

Inside the cave, there are 3 chambers. All 3 chambers are well decorated with colourful lights so that the visitors will be able to clearly see the beauty of the natural formations inside the cave.

A mini "lake" inside the cave.

The famous pink "cock rock"

There are wavy patterns on the ceiling of the cave

The 3rd chamber - the largest chamber in the cave

The exit is of a different side from the entrance. From the exit, we were able to enjoy the scenic view from above. The panorama was stunning.

We had our last meal on the cruise while we traveled back to the jetty, and then another 4 hours back to Hanoi.

There's an art centre where the bus stopped for our toilet break and the people there use thread to sew beautiful pictures. The pictures were unbelievably real that from a glance, I thought they were paintings! What an eye opener.

It was already evening by the time we reach Hanoi. We quickly checked into our 2nd hotel and I'll talk more on that in my coming posts. Billy, out.

Next post: Hanoi - Valentine's Evening [Part 7]

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hanoi - After Dark on Paloma [Part 5]

13 February 2012 @ Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

We were told to get to the deck of the boat right after we came back from the fishing village. And we saw fruits, juices and red wine awaiting our arrival.

All 12 passengers from different parts of the world had a good time mingling around while enjoying the refreshments prepared by the crew.

The sky was getting dark and we took a short rest before our next agenda.

At around 6.30pm, we gathered at the restaurant for a cooking lesson!

The dish that we will be making is the Vietnamese Spring Roll. The chef introduced the ingredients and started mixing them up.

Then he showed us how to roll them up using rice paper. Everyone's excited and can't wait to roll their own spring roll.

It's fun to see who has rolled the perfect spring roll. You'll be surprised how many different shapes and sizes of spring rolls we came out with.

That's Mine!

That's hers!

The chef then brings out a pan and deep fry the spring rolls in front of us.

While he's doing that, Jerry explained the most important part of the dish - the sauce. It's made out of chilli, coriander, sugar, water and fish sauce.

Though all the spring rolls were in different sizes, they were all tastilicious!

Dinner was served straightaway and we went for squid fishing after that.

First hand trying squid fishing and I caught one! You need some skills to get one you know. =D

No luck for JooLi though. Only 2 squids were caught throughout the entire session.

The mist surrounded us again and it's hard to see what's really out there. We can only see a few other boats in the sea also stopping there for a night.

The breeze was too cold to bear at night so we headed back to our room to hit dreamland. Billy, out.

Next post: Hanoi - Surprise Cave [Part 6]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hanoi - Pearl Farm & Fishing Village [Part 4]

13 February 2012 @ Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Our next agenda after lunch was to visit the Vung Vieng Fishing Village.

The place looks so calm and serene.

There were limited number of sampans there, so we visited the nearby pearl farm first.

At the pearl farm, they breed their own oysters for pearls. All sorts of jewelries made out of pearls can be found in that mini shop.

Moving to the back of the shop there was a girl (around 16 years old) sitting at the table demonstrating how to implant a little "seed" (mantle tissue) into the oysters to culture the pearls.

On the other side of the table, a man took out a bigger oyster and opened it.

Wua-lah!! A beautiful pearl sits right in the middle of the oyster.

Further into the sea, there were endless rows of oyster farms.

The farmers said that only 10% of the oysters produce good enough quality to make jewelries. And they need many years to culture a pearl. That is why the pearls are expensive.

If you look at the sea water, it's green in colour. That's because there're lots of microorganism in the sea, which serves as food to the oysters. "Yummeh yummeh!" says the oyster.

After visiting the pearl farm, the sampans finally arrived to take us around the fishing village.


The sampans were mainly rowed by young girls as the men are out into the deep sea to fish.

The scenery is breathtaking.

That's us! And Christopher from Australia

All sorts of floating houses you can see on the sea. Some nicely built, some are just an old shack.

Spotted quite a number of canines at the village too.

Selling stuffs on a boat is a common scene in the waters of Ha Long Bay.

Young girl rowing the boat as the brother watches

I can see that this fishing village is still very intact with the way they live, bathing in the sea, washing their boats, weaving fishing nets and playing in that tiny area in front of their house.

We returned to Paloma for a drink at the deck after that. A chance to mingle around with the other passengers. Billy, out.

Next post: Hanoi - After Dark on Paloma [Part 5]
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