After Ninh Binh we choose not go back to Hanoi but to organize on a very very short notice (actually the night before) a private transport to Halong bay and booked a three day cruise in the Bai Tu Long bay. We opted for Bai Tu Long as it is supposed to be a little bit less croweded than the traditional Halong bay tours. Indeed we did not see many boats around and the lagoons, inlets etc we visited were mostly deserted. We somehow survived the 5h drive from Ninh Binh – got even stopped by the police once – and arrived in Halong just in time to get checked in and boarded our home for the next three days. To make it short: although the weather did not play along and it even rained a few times we had a really good time on the cruise. Nice cabins, very friendly crew and guest as well as excellent food and even some other families with kids on board. We enjoyed the stunning landscape and even had the chance to do some kayaking which was really an adventure.
After two nights on board – without any seasickness- we left the ‘Dragon Legend’ and headed for our last stop: Hanoi. We have now been in this bustling city for a few days and it’s difficult to describe and quite different from all the cities we have visited so far in our trip. The traffic is just unbelievable! We thought Yangon or Ho Chi Minh City were pretty intense, but Hanoi is beyond everything. There is a 24h constant flow of motorbikes, cars, taxis and with it comes a steady honking. Passing the street is possible, but definitely a challenge – I think we are already used to the informal traffic customs and have become fearless. Another thing that strikes us more than in other cities: life takes place on the sidewalk! Everywhere little shops, kitchens, foodstalls and – of course – tons of motorbikes parked everywhere. Without much of a plan we just spent the last few days wandering around the city. We enjoyed the parks where we chatted with university students and observed the elderly do their fitness programs. Besides the mandatory shopping, we visited some museums, markets and had a few really nice lunches and dinners.
During the last few days we all felt that it is time to get home again. Everybody is excited as tomorrow is the big transfer day back to Switzerland!