FIRST OF ALL I DIDN’T GO TO PRISON!
Two planes and two taxis later we were finally at our second from last country – Vietnam. We are here for a few weeks so I will do a post with each city we go to.
Whilst queing at immigration I met my idle – Olivia. Since being on this trip I have met so many different and amazing people that have taught me so many things. The story behind Olivia. Olivia is around 70 years old and travels – see it is never too late! However she teaches English in different schools for around two weeks at a time. This is volunteer work. Well now she has inspired me to do something similar… We shall see!
Hoa Lo Prison.
Every city I go to I have a list of things I want to do in each place and this was one thing I really wanted to do whilst in Hanoi. I have always been fascinated by crime hence why I ended up studying Criminology and going into the Criminal Justice System. So we went to Hoa Lo Prison AKA “Hanoi Hilton.” This prison was very daunting, the walls painted black and you feel the misery and pain inside this prison. It was taking a walk back in time, where you saw the torturing techniques that were used including the Guillotine. We were able to stand inside a prison cell and it honestly creeped me out, to imagine people were in these cells waiting to be killed. It was almost a relief when I was outside, feeling the fresh air again.
On the way back we went by the lake and grabbed my favourite drink of all time – BUBBLE TEA! Walking by the lake I just thought about what I had just witnessed by being in the prison, reflecting on life and the recent events which has been happening in London. It’s sad to think that people are prosecuted based on the colour of their skin or background. Lets be honest we really do live in such a f**** up world, although the world offers so much beauty…
Do you want any beer with that froth?
The hostel we stayed in – Funky Jungle has the best offer for a backpacker – Free beers from 7-8. I never in my life have poured myself a pint, and lets say I need more practice. They bought out a keg and you just help yourself. I had more froth than beer! In Hanoi there is a place called Beer Corner. There is a place called beer corner, where everyone sits outside and has the cheapest beer for 20 pence. Imagine going to a English pub and paying 20 p for a beer, everyone would be drunk all the time!
The reason we wanted to go to Hanoi was for the famous Halong Bay, a world heritage site. Originally the plan was to go for a day, however it takes 4 hours to get there and 4 hours back meaning it will be very rushed. We decided to stay on a boat for a night instead. I have never been on a cruise, and to do it here was the best! It was such a good cruise to go on, with a lot to eat! The buffet which was served to us for breakfast, lunch and dinner was just WOW! There was so much food! Imagine if I went to a cruise for a week, I would come back as a ball!
Whilst at Halong Bay, we went to Sungsot cave which was incredible, it was huge! I can not explain how beautiful the views were from the top of the cave.
After this the boat took us to the beach and again there was another place where we were able to see some spectacular views. The walk to get to the view was pretty intense, but was so worth it once we reached the top!
That evening everyone mingled and drank free beer together as well as playing drinking games. What a better way to know strangers than to play never have I ever? I have also learnt a new drinking game – The Korean coin game! Can’t wait to show people in England how to play this game! When everyone went to bed, Natalia and I were so hyper we started to opera sing, not realising others on the boat could hear us – Pretty embarrassing the next day when a girl said “Oh that was you singing.”
After the drinking games we decided to go to the top of the boat to check out the views. It felt surreal being on a boat in the middle of Halong bay.
The following day we went Kayaking and again I can’t even explain how amazing this was. Just check out the pictures below. I’m not going to lie half the time I couldn’t be bothered to steer the kayak we was in, I just wanted to float!
The boat also offered a cooking class – To make Vietnamese spring rolls! I’m sure when I get home I will be a pro in cooking Asian food.
So I am not sure if anyone has heard of stinky fruit? It’s as well known fruit in South East Asia and it is sold everywhere but was warned not to try it as it is disgusting. Again although its nice to hear peoples opinions I always thought:
“It can’t be that bad, its just a fruit.”
WRONG – I HONESTLY THOUGHT SOMEONE HAD FARTED IN MY MOUTH!
I love my food, so never spit out food however on this occasion I had to! If only I took a picture of our reaction to the stinky fruit!
Meeting new people
On this boat we met people from the following places; UK, Australia, India, USA, France, Canada, Vietnam and Malaysia. It was so nice to hear everyone stories and background. I enjoyed having political conversations with people and to learn about Communism. A group of girls who had met whilst studying in Korea were so inspirational to me. They had taught me a lot about this part of the world which we all have our views on due to the media. Another girl I had met had been volunteering in Cambodia and was in Vietnam on holiday. A guy who teaches French in India! It was so good to hear their stories on there travelling experience, its so nice to meet people who really to inspire you to better yourself.
Hanoi is now over and one thing I will not miss the constant beeping of the traffic! Halong Bay was just so beautiful, it literally took my breath away.
Next stop Hoi An.
See below for tips.
Where to go:
Halong Bay – We went with Apricot Boat Tours, I would advise people to stay for a night otherwise it could be very rushed.
Beer Corner – 20P for a beer! Can’t go wrong! It is full of backpackers!
Lake – There is a really pretty lake in the middle of the town, its nice to chill there.
Hoa La Prison – A piece of history not to be missed.
Where to stay:
Funky Jungle Hostel – Free beer between 7-8. Free breakfast with a lot of options.