Vietnam – The Trail of Hanoi (5)

Thanks for staying with me on my trail of Hanoi. Before I continue, let me share with you some information about the place that we will be visiting.

Ninh Binh is 90km away from Hanoi and is a popular destination for its’ beautiful tourist sites such as Tam Coc, Hoa Lu, Kenh Ga and Cuc Phuong National Park but today, the place of our interest is Tam Coc.

Tam Coc is known as Halong Bay on land for its’ breathtaking scenery. While Halong Bay features huge rock formations jutting out o the sea, Tam Coc has them jutting out of its rice paddies. Tam Coc means three caves; that is Hang Ca (the first), Hang Giua (the second) and Hang Cuoi (the smallest).

Our trip started with a boat trip which took us to all three caves. It took us about two hours; to and fro. Ok enough of writing. Lets enjoy the photos now.

Starting point to catch our boat ride which can carry a maximum of 3 adults which includes the ‘captain’.

20130530-215047.jpg

Yup.. you saw it right. It leg pedal power!!

20130530-215056.jpg

You bend down to go under the bridge or else….. Yes. Everyone had to bend down to cross the bridge to get to the caves.

20130530-215107.jpg

Waiting your turn to cross under the bridge. It is a single lane and everyone has to wait.

20130530-215115.jpg

A house built next to the trail.

20130530-215123.jpg

Beautiful scenery of the rock formation next to the rice paddies.

20130530-215133.jpg

Passing close to the rock formation heading to the caves.

20130530-215157.jpg

Trails of boats on both direction heading to and away from the caves.

20130530-215207.jpg

Love the photos so far? If yes, there are more to come. So keep following me on my next posting.

Advertisement

Vietnam – The Trail of Hanoi (4)

Another day in Hanoi but today, we were heading out of Hanoi city to…. Halong Bay on land. 😊 Yes you may have heard of Halong Bay where you take boat out to the bay but this one is slightly different.

This is a typical traffic in the morning in Hanoi. Lots of motorbikes.

20130527-230709.jpg

More bikes than cars on the road.

20130527-230721.jpg

20130527-230730.jpg

On the way, we could see lots of skinny houses as seen below.

20130527-230740.jpg

Not sure what sort of building out in rural area but can see that it is built behind a padi field.

20130527-230751.jpg

To get there, we have to go through small town and dirt road. What a bumpy ride.

20130527-230800.jpg

Along the way, I managed to take some shots

20130527-230806.jpg

Goats……

20130527-230814.jpg

and a nice red temple near the ‘bay’

20130527-230820.jpg

Follow me on my next posting to see the Halong Bay on Land.

Vietnam – The Trail of Hanoi (3)

Welcome back to Hanoi. We were heading back to the city for our lunch.

Another typical life style of the people in Hanoi having a meal on the side of the road on stools. A very common sight.

20130525-224217.jpg

A Vietnamese lady playing the Vietnamese bamboo musical instrument in the restaurant that we had lunch.

20130525-224224.jpg

After lunch, we headed to the West Lake (Hồ Tây) which is a freshwater lake in the center of Hanoi, Vietnam. This is the largest lake in the capital and a popular place for recreation with many surrounding gardens, hotels and villas.

Before stopping at the lake, we visited one of Vietnam’s ancient Four Sacred Temples built during the reign of King Ly Thai To from 1010 to 1028. The temple features detailed wood carvings of sacred animals, trees and flowers in its structure. It was said that visitors who visited were encouraged to pray for health, luck and happiness during their visit to Quan Thanh Temple.

20130525-224235.jpg

You could hire boats to go around the lake or have lunch on a floating restaurant.

20130525-224245.jpg

The entrance to the small island where the oldest pagoda is found.

20130525-224255.jpg

Trấn Quốc Pagoda in Hanoi is the oldest pagoda in the city, originally constructed in the sixth century during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De. It was believed that the age of this pagoda is around 1,400 years old.

20130525-224304.jpg

One of the building in the temple ground.

20130525-224312.jpg

After that, we headed to see the famous water puppet show in Hanoi near the Hoan Kiem Lake. Very interesting performance to watch.

20130525-224321.jpg

20130526-172152.jpg

20130526-172233.jpg

20130526-172243.jpg

The people behind the scene who are controlled and played the puppets in the water.

20130526-172252.jpg

Vietnam – The Trail of Hanoi (2)

Today we went to visit the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum at the Ba Dinh Square. It is located in a big park. It was nice to walk about but weather was a bit hot.

This is the Ministry of Foreign Affair office which was located a stone away from the mausoleum.

20130524-180828.jpg

This is the entrance of the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum with the mausoleum guards. There were a lot of visitors both locals and also tourist around the mausoleum.

20130524-180840.jpg

The map of the Presidential Palace ground in the Ba Dinh Square…which to area to see?

20130524-180850.jpg

The Presidential Palace which a hundred-year-old French colonial building in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex surrounding Ba Dinh Square. Nice bright colour, right?

20130524-180859.jpg

The tree roots at the Garden of Presidential Palace.

20130524-180907.jpg

Carp pond at the garden of Presidential Palace

20130524-180915.jpg

Ho Chi Minh Stilt house

20130524-180924.jpg

Old building converted to souvenir shops. Noticed they are also in bright yellow in colourful like the Presidential Palace.

20130524-180932.jpg

Postcards to choose from….

20130524-180939.jpg

Well.. so where’s next? Follow me and find out. 😊

Vietnam – The Trail of Hanoi (1)

This posting is of my trip to Hanoi, Vietnam back in October 2006. I have heard a lot of about Vietnam but just that I never been there until then when the low cost carrier Air Asia started their flight there, that people starting going there.

Our trip started when we landed in Noi Bai International Airport which is the only international airport and only airport in the north of Vietnam then. Hanoi is the capital and also the second largest city in Vietnam.

By the time we landed, it was already late and we were greeted by our local tour leader there. We went there in a group which consist of a few families. So it was practically a whole bus filled with a family affair. Lol!!

Our first stop was of course dinner at one of the restaurant in the city which I am not sure where but one thing for sure, the French colonial architecture style was very dominant as seen below and also the from photos from my later posting.

20130523-172523.jpg

In the morning, the noises motorbikes can be heard with hons blaring here and there.

20130523-172533.jpg

One of the lanes which I can across. (By now you would have guessed that I am a morning person who gets up early and go wandering around before breakfast 😊)

20130523-172545.jpg

Fruit seller on the side of the side walk…..

20130523-172559.jpg

Typical local food stall which can see on the inner roads where the local will go for their breakfast.

20130523-172609.jpg

A young boy having his haircut out in the open air barber which something you do not see often nowadays.

20130523-172618.jpg

Walking along the side of the street. You can some new apartments built to accommodate the increasing population in Hanoi.

20130523-172627.jpg

A slim building standing by its own which was also a common sight here in Hanoi and not forgetting colourful too.

20130523-172634.jpg

Took this shot outside a school there. You could see parents waiting for their children after school

20130523-172641.jpg

Demolition and clearing of old building to make way for new and bigger building which can be seen like anywhere else in the world in a developing country.

20130523-172655.jpg

Interesting? If yes… then I have more to share in my series of travel to Hanoi.

Japan – The Country side of Yamagata Prefecture (4)

Last day in Yamagata. Back to Tokyo then to Narita Airport for the night before catching my flight back home.

A shot from the bullet train going at about 250km/hr or was it 300km/hr. Everything seen to zooming by. Can’t believe the ride was so smooth and quiet inside the Shinkansen.

20130522-213822.jpg

Final stop was at Tokyo station where I only had an hour to spare before I taking my connecting ride to Narita airport. So where can I go within Tokyo and be back at the Tokyo station in an hour’s time?

By foot.. it would be Ginza district. Yup the most uptown district. Streets were full of neon lights and the crowd everywhere especially at the traffic light junction. Guess it was after working hours and people were rushing back or heading for dinner. Human jam!

20130522-213832.jpg

 

Colourful neon lights.

20130522-213840.jpg

Lots of cars and people.

20130522-213850.jpg

Yup… Xmas trees everywhere. Christmas was just round the corner.

20130522-213857.jpg

20130522-213903.jpg

I could not see much of Tokyo but at least got a feel of it. Well what can you expect from an hour (or less) by foot. =). Then it was back to the Tokyo station and on my way to Narita Airport to stay at the transit hotel.

My last shot in the next morning of Japan before heading back home.

20130522-213909.jpg

So where is my next place? Wanna know? Then.. stick with me and you will find out. =)

Japan – The Country side of Yamagata Prefecture (3)

2nd morning in the town of Yamagata. Again, waking up early and quickly taking a walk to other areas of the town which I have not explored. But before that…. this was my breakfast for the day.

20130521-220653.jpg

The houses here comes in all sorts of types and it really caught my eyes.

20130521-220417.jpg

20130521-220454.jpg

Another house with the ‘structure’ protecting their bonsai trees.

20130521-220510.jpg

Beautiful view of the ending autumn feeling with some golden trees on the side of the road.

20130521-220523.jpg

… a bare tree waiting for the winter to come.

20130521-220540.jpg

What a sight outside the office window….

20130521-220603.jpg

Along the street I was walking and I saw this…..

20130521-220641.jpg

Follow me on my last part of posting of Japan where I stopped over in Tokyo for an hour before heading to Narita Airport.

Japan – The Country side of Yamagata Prefecture (2)

In the Yamagata town, I walked around the housing area near the hotel which I was staying. I loved their simple wooden houses; clean and simply looking.

20130521-204045.jpg

This is the hotel which I was staying. I had only like an hour to walk around and also have my breakfast. I had to quickly stroll around and capture as many shots as I can.

20130521-204111.jpg

I was curious why they had this kind of ‘structure’ covering their bonsai. It was later only that I understood that this was to protect their bonsai trees from the winter snow. it was new thing to me as in Malaysia we never ever have snow or feel the 4 seasons like in Japan. Malaysia was just hot and wet weather all year round.

20130521-204208.jpg

A back lane (or was it front lane??) where I passed through.

20130521-204221.jpg

Another typical Japanese house. Wished I could enter and see how it was inside.

20130521-204232.jpg

My breakfast for the morning in the hotel cafe. A lovely and healthy breakfast ( and not cheap!)

20130521-204241.jpg

Another shot from my hotel room.

20130521-204331.jpg

Looks like it was going to rain with the dark clouds overhead

20130521-204341.jpg

…but eventually it cleared out.

20130521-204354.jpg

Want more? If yes, follow me on my blog on my next posting. 😊

Japan – The Country side of Yamagata Prefecture (1)

This is my trip to Japan way back in Nov 2005 (8 years already!!. wow!!).

It was one of my business trip and also my first trip into Japan and as usual it was always short and a rush visit. I was heading to Yamagata prefecture; a small country town up in the center of Honshu island.

My flight into Narita Airport was from Hong Kong. Upon arrival, I have to find my way to catch the train from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station, and then catch my Shinkansen to Yamagata Prefecture. Oh yes.. I bought my Shinkansen ticket way before I landed in Japan. So, good planning was required else I would have missed my ride. The total trip would take me close to 5 hrs just by train.

20130520-212053.jpg

When I arrived at Tokyo Station, I was surprised to see the sign had English too. It was a relieved as I could not read or speak Japanese. Moving around the Tokyo station and finding the right platform was daunting task especially in the evening when everyone is rushing to go home after work.

20130520-212104.jpg

One of the Shinkansen arriving at the station ….

20130520-212241.jpg

A typical kiosk on the platform where the local Japanese will buy thing before boarding for their trip on the Shinkansen.

20130520-212334.jpg

This Shinkansen look like a duck….. 😄

20130520-212346.jpg

This is the coach.. a double decker. In fact, it was my first time sitting in a Shinkansen (a few years later, I have also managed to sit in the bullet train in China and also the one in Taiwan)

20130520-212424.jpg

My dinner on board the Shinkansen which I purchased from the lady goes around from coach to coach selling food and drinks.

20130520-212446.jpg

This is the view from the hotel in Yamagata over looking the beautiful hills in the foreground.

20130520-212503.jpg

As usual, I will take the opportunity to walk around the town before heading to the office.

20130520-212518.jpg

… Very quaint place.

20130520-212529.jpg

follow me on my next posting in Yamagata, Japan.

Taiwan – Trip to PingXi train line (6)

This is my last part of my series on my trip to PingXi train line.

The old building in Shifen is nice. It’s a small town all within walking distance. It was previously also a mining town.

20130516-204837.jpg

While walking back to the train station, I managed to catch a close up of the lantern with hand written messages by the visitors who purchase and release it later. Can you read or understand what was written?

20130516-204851.jpg

There were also lots of shops selling souvenirs of the miniature lantern where some can even glow at night.

20130516-204913.jpg

Below is the message that was written by the tourists or local visitors on a bamboo sticks. Not sure what they wrote though. (I can’t read Chinese. Just only spoken and still struggling)

20130516-204927.jpg

…..and cute mailboxes too to sent yr snail mails.

20130516-204938.jpg

Here is another shot of one of the old machines which was used during mining times.

20130516-204951.jpg

A beautiful view of the hills with the bridge over a small river.

20130516-205003.jpg

My next and last stop was PingXi town.

20130516-205015.jpg

Where should I head too?

20130516-205026.jpg

A beautiful painted mural.

20130516-205038.jpg

That’s all folks. So wanna guess what’s or where will it be for my next blog?