Our trip to the amazing mountainous Sapa

By Pernille Rasmussen-Lykke Amonsen-Astrid Andersen-Camilla Christiansen, Physiotherapy volunteers, Denmark

We started our trip to Sapa on Friday the 10th May 2013, which we had really been looking forward to. Our expectations were high, as many people had told us what a wonderful place Sapa is and that it was one of the “must see” attractions of Vietnam. After having finished our respective projects on the day, we were all slightly tired but also excited about our forthcoming adventure. Our train departed Tran Quy Cap station at 09:50 PM and should be at our destination around 7 AM the next morning. We settled in quite nicely into our tiny train compartment which had 4 bunk beds with a small table between, where we spent the next hour watching episodes of Friends before we went to bed so we could be all fresh and awake for the next day. The A/C was going on full throttle, so we were all very happy that we had been provided with warm blankets, otherwise we would have awoken with a massive cold. After a slightly restless night, the train conductor woke us at 6 AM by shouting “morning” all through the train. Naturally we assumed this meant that we had arrived safely at Sapa, so we pulled back the curtains to see the spectacular nature. What we saw was not exactly pristine nature, and it did not even look like we were remotely close to any train station. Afterwards we were told that a landslide had happened further up along the tracks, so we were barred from proceeding on to Sapa and they were unable to say when we could start off again. After all it only took 3 hours waiting in a desolate place in Northern Vietnam, and then we were off again. Luckily, we had bought sandwiches which became our breakfast that morning. In the end, our train arrived six hours late at Lao Cai train station around noon time, and we were absolutely starving. But we got there!

We followed the immense crowd of tourist to the arrival plaza where we had to find our guide who would take us to the hotel. We found him pretty swiftly, however we had to wait for yet another hour for the bus which were scheduled to pick us up. The bus was filled to the brim and the last few unfortunate passengers had to vacate plastic chairs which had intermediately been placed in the bus. We were the only foreigners and the rest were local Vietnamese. The bus ride took roughly and hours time, and here we got a preview of the breathtaking nature around Sapa with the green mountain tops and stunning rice paddies. Arriving at Sapa City, we immediately noticed the clean, fresh air which was a stark contrast from the usual grey and polluted Hanoi air. It was reinvigorating to take a big gasp of fresh air, without having a major cough afterwards. The temperature was also considerable cooler than Hanoi, which suited us quite well.

The city of Sapa is placed on a mountainside with a view over a valley covered in rice paddies, forestland and small villages. When we arrived at our hotel, we got the chance to enjoy this spectacular view from our hotel balcony, before we went out for a well-deserved lunch. Thereafter we started out on a hiking tour with our English speaking guide to “The Cat Village”, which is the tribe that is most closely situated to Sapa.

When we were approximately 200 meters away from our hotel, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by tiny, local villagers all clad in the same colorful clothing (which were to show that they all belonged to the same tribe). Unfortunately their questions were as one-sided as their clothing, as each of them asked the same four questions to us time and time again. So after 6 kilometers of hiking, we were pretty bored about answering how old we were, where we came from, how many siblings we had and most importantly: whether we fancied  in buying some of their dodgy souvenirs. However they were all extremely nice, and some of them even followed us all the way in the hope that we would finally succumb and buy some of their junk in order to get rid of them. Our hike brought us through several different villages which had dozens of small shops with homemade clothes, bags and jewellery which were all made in a cacophony of colors resembling their tribal clothing. All through the hike we enjoyed the most amazing views of mountains, rice paddies on the mountainsides and all the way down in the valley we heard and saw the thunder of a stunning waterfall. The hike down to the village was quite steep and we were suddenly well aware of what a strenuous hike it would be to climb back up to Sapa again. While we were walking along, we suddenly realized that a massive buffalo came stampeding down the narrow track that we were occupying. Fortunately it did not direct at any of us, but it did not take a long time before its partner-in-crime chose to take the same run down the track, and our guide did his utmost to distract it with shouts and flapping his arms, in order for it not to run towards any of us. It is safe to say that we were all somewhat shocked by this turn of events, but luckily no one was hurt. Later on we learned that some small boys had been taunting the buffalos further up the road which had caused them to run amok.

In the evening we ate dinner at the hotel. The food was okay but nothing special. Thereafter we chose to relax in our hotel rooms and got a long night of sleep.

We checked out of the hotel at 9 AM as we had scheduled to hike for the whole day together with our guide. The trip went to Lao Chai, where we would eat lunch and then we would return to Sapa. This is equal to about 17 kilometers walking on mountain tracks. We were accompanied (once again) by the tiny tribal ladies that were very keen to sell us their souvenirs once again. However they were extremely friendly in helping us and supporting us on the slopes, which had turned into treacherous patches of tracks due to the heavy rain the previous night. We realized that these ladies were from a different tribe, as their clothing was quite different. It was also surprising to ask about who they were. Even though they all looked to be over 60 years of age, the oldest of them stated that she was 35 years old. The weather was benign all through the Sunday and the sun was shining from a clear blue sky. This also resulted in some badly burned arms and shoulders, as our skins are not really used to the Vietnamese sun.

We took a lot of pictures of the spectacular scenery that surrounded Sappa. It is rather difficult describing how breathtaking the nature is in this part of Vietnam and the pictures we took does not justify this at all, as they can of course not capture the silence and the sounds from the nature.

When we arrived back at the hotel we had a few hours to eat and shower before we were picked up in a minivan and driven to the train. We embarked the train around 08.30 PM and our compartment was even smaller than the one we had had on the way to Sapa and the beds were smaller and different. Thus our train trip ended up being somewhat less comfortable than on the way up and we were rather tired when we met up at work after we arrived safely back in Hanoi.

(Source http://www.mytripblog.org/tag/sapa)

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Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com

SIX DAYS IN HANOI, VIETNAM

(By Sivan Askayo  http://sivanaskayoblog.com/)

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Tet Holiday, Old Quarter

‘Madam, Motor’… ‘Madam, Motor…’ This is how most of the Vietnamese motor-bikers in Hanoi used to approach me, trying to convince me to get on their bike for a ride for a certain amount of money. For those who didn’t experience Vietnam yet, please be advised that crossing the streets is a challenge.

The country in general and Hanoi in particular, is humming and buzzing with traffic. A steady stream of motorbikes, rickshaws and cars driving around in both directions. Not once, did I join a group of people or someone else just to cross the street, and I won’t lie if I say that sometimes I just hold my breath, praying silently I will make it safe to the other side of the street. I arrived to Hanoi at the end of January, few days after Tet Holiday and the streets of the city were even more buzzing and humming, especially during night time, when families went out for dinner, ice cream treat and some loud Karaoke.

I arrived to Hanoi planning on staying for only two days but ended up staying for longer.

One of the reasons was the place I’ve stayed. I booked a room in Hanoi Hibiscus Hotel, a family hotel, few meters away from the Saint Joseph’s Cathedral in the Old Quarter and it instantly became my ‘home away from home’ place to stay. The central location of the hotel and the friendly professional staff, made my stay much easier than in Ho Chi Min City, where I landed, which has inspired some culture shock. The area around the Cathedral was packed with young crowds, all sitting in the local cafes on plastic stools, drinking tea with lots of lemon and cracking sun-flower seeds, leaving a trail of shells on the ground. Fashionable young girls driving on their motor bikes, was a common thing to see.

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Tet Holiday, Old Quarter

The variety of places to see and visit, the comfortable weather at that time of year, the great street food and the sense of tourism, made the North of Vietnam more welcoming and easier to travel.

I’ve booked an initial tour to get to know some parts of the city with Hanoi City Tours, a free tour by a local young student, who wants to improve his/hers English skills and at the same time introduce and promote their city.

I chose to have my guided tour in the Old Quarter or what called the ’36 Streets’, a labyrinth of old streets, evolved in the 13th century when artisan guilds were concentrated along each of the original 36 lanes, and clustered by speciality; Silver street (where you can find silver jewelry as well as gravestones), Silk Street, Mats Street, Paper Street, etc. Each of the 36 craft guilds once had its own communal house, however, like most of the quarter’s pagoda and temples, they were shut down during the communist takeover and transformed into schools or public housing.

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Old Quarter.

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Old Quarter

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Old Quarter

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Old Quarter

In the outskirts of the Old Quarter, there is the Temple of Literature (located to the south of the Fine Arts Museum at Pho Quoc Tu Giam street). When it was first built, it was the school of the Elite of the Nation and Vietnam’s first University. After passing exams at the local levels, scholars who wanted to become seniors came here to study for rigorous examinations. It got its name ‘Temple of Literature’ at the beginning of the 19th century, and now serves as a place where people and mostly students come and write a prayer and a wish and ask for success in their studies. If you want to be like the locals, have your wish or prayer written by one of the calligraphers outside the temple. I visited the temple one afternoon, during the last days of Tet Holiday. It was packed with young students who came by, all excited and anxious when there was a special ceremony, all praying for a good luck in the up coming year. The Temple is a homage to Confucius, peaceful and spiritual, arranged in a series of a linked courtyards. I was walking past tone-stealed shaped like turtles, overlooking the students praying with a great intention. (Felt so relieved I don’t need to pray for my next school year)

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Temple of Literature

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Temple of Literature

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Temple of Literature

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Temple of Literature

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel, Temple of Literature

One of the most beautiful pagodas that exists in Hanoi is the Tran Quoc Pagoda, which is located beside the Red River and perhaps is the oldest one in Hanoi, dated from the year of 1639. I was there one afternoon watching the crowd lighting perfumed incense and giving fruits and fake money to their Gods, just at the last days of Tet Holiday.

Hanoi, Vietnam, Tran Quac Pagoda

Hanoi, Vietnam, Tran Quac Pagoda

Hanoi, Vietnam, Tran Quac Pagoda

Hanoi, Vietnam, Tran Quac Pagoda

While you are in the area, you can walk along the river towards the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Presidential Palace near by. Make sure to check the opening hours in advance and the strict rules of the mausoleum. By the time I got there by noon, it was already closed. Some of my friends told me I didn’t miss a thing though….

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel

Vietnam, Hanoi, Travel

Even though I didn’t plan it, I paid a visit to Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the infamous Hanoi Hilton. The prison was used by the French people who imprisoned, tortured and guillotined Vietnamese revolutionaries, and later on was used by the Vietnamese who prisoned American pilots, including the Republican senator John McCain. One can easily notice the hinted propaganda by the way the Vietnamese represent themselves as considerate to the American needs. As scary as it is, I really recommend to visit this site.

From Hanoi, it is very easy to book a day-or two day trips to Halong Bay or book a midnight train to Sapa in the North. April is a great time to visit Vietnam. The weather is comfortable, the trees are blooming and the food is always great.

Hanoi, Vietnam, Travel

 

( Source: http://sivanaskayoblog.com/six-days-in-hanoi-vietnam-2/)

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Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com

 

My Hanoi Travel Experience: My Favourite Destination in the World

By Julie Bowman

Many people do not have a definitive image of Hanoi before visiting, their perceptions have probably only been formed from watching some of he many Vietnam War movies. Hanoi is a city that blends an exotic feeling with modern life in its grace, history and architecture. The city has shed its past image and has been economically reformed. It’s also getting noticed more and more on the global tourism circuit and in fact has just been announced as one of the cheapest cities in Asia!

Now, the boulevards are filled with mansions and the area has an abundance of parks and lakes. I recently got a chance to visit Hanoi and was astounded by how much the city has to offer. Here is a look into the things that I got to do and see along with a few tips and pieces of advice for others who are considering the journey as well as a few things not to do in Vietnam!

5 Must See Historical Attractions in Hanoi

Hanoi offers a great amount of attractions to tourists within both the metropolitan areas and the natural countryside. Here are just a few of the top attractions that should not be missed;
The Temple Of Literature

One of the most amazing places to explore, The Temple Of Literature (pictured above), is actually not a temple, but is a large compound of gates, lakes, a courtyard and museum. Back in 1070, it was the first University of Vietnam and dedicated to the famous Chinese Philosopher Confucius. I loved the serenity this attraction offered. Make sure to leave plenty of time to roam around, take pictures, and soak up the ambiance.

One Pillar Pagoda

One of the most iconic attractions, the One Pillar Pagoda, or Chua Mot Cot, is a Buddhist Temple that stands in a lotus dam on one stone pillar and is pictured at the very top of this post. Inside this structure, there is a statue of a goddess with one hundred arms, it is believed that she can help couples who want children, but are suffering with infertility issues.

Hoan Kiem Lake

In my opinion, the Hoan Kiem Lake district is the best part of the city. The Turtle Tower is the center point and is pictured below. It is a nice place to take a walk, chill out for a moment or grab some of the best photos of Hanoi, provided its not too misty!
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

A visit to Uncle Ho’s mausoleum is a truly eerie and surreal experience (pictured below). Many fellow travellers had their fruit confiscated on entry (what are they going to do with it?) and many were also turned away for wearing shorts and vests. No talking, no photos and single file only but what a view! To see Ho Chi Minh himself laying there embalmed Lenin-style is an awesome experience.

Hoa Lo Prison aka The Hanoi Hilton

The Hoa Lo Prison museum was dubbed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ during the Vietnam War and the captured American POWs were held here. The museum was just down the road from my hoteland a real must-see; the museum exhibits the struggles of the Vietnamese people against the cruel French colonial rule. Many pieces show propaganda in full force and it’s a real eye-opener.
Shopping And Nightlife

The streets of Hanoi are filled with shopping opportunities where tourists can look and touch all of the goods. The Old Quarter market is filled with beautiful silk and embroidery. Crafts like ceramics, paintings and furniture can be found as well.

One of the most popular night time experiences is the water puppet theatre. I got a front row seat to the show and had a wonderful time. The show includes short stories and orchestra music. It is a wonderful glimpse into the cultural background of Vietnam.

Tips And Advice While In Hanoi

Even though Hanoi appears modern, the people remain traditional, especially in the way that they dress. It is best to dress conservatively when visiting popular attractions. Tipping is not required, but is appreciated since many workers are on a low wage.

You’ll reap the benefits if you can fly direct, their are now direct flights from the UK straight into Vietnam and new airports are schedules to open both this year and 2013.

The dong is the currency of Vietnam, but I found many places that accept the dollar. Getting around the city is mostly done by taxi. This can get expensive, so I used the local cyclos for shorter trips.

It may be wise to pack a comfortable pair of shoes, a sweater since it gets cold in the evening, and insect repellent if visiting during the humid season.

Hanoi has become one of the most interesting places to visit in Asia. It is rich in culture and beautiful natural surroundings. It remains a modest area filled with excitement and wonderful experiences. I cannot wait to go back.

Best Time To Visit Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is preferred over the more crowded locations such as Ho Chi Minh City in the south, because of its charm and original culture and historical influence. The climate is best in early spring or throughout autumn, since most travelers wish to escape the hot and humid weather and summer rainy periods. As the year ends, the city becomes most crowded and hotel prices soar.

I had the opportunity to visit Hanoi during Tet, the Vietnamese New Year celebration; the biggest holiday of the entire year. Tradition states that the days prior to the holiday, people are to bring special gifts to the individuals they wish to impress. Since there is a high demand for specialties, shops pop up all over town. City streets are filled with vendors selling hoa doa; peach trees that equal the sentiment of an American Christmas tree. It is a truly exciting time and one I’ll not forget in a long time!

(http://www.puretravel.com/blog/2012/09/04/my-hanoi-travel-experience-my-favourite-destination-in-the-world/)

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Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com

TRAVEL: A QUICK GUIDE TO HANOI

By a pair & a spare

(http://apairandasparediy.com/about/)

I’m not exactly sure what I expected when I visited Hanoi recently but what I found was a quaint, chaotic and full of life city (more like a big village) with such an enthralling street grain and inspiring energy, I fell in love instantly.  Although Hanoi doesn’t have the nightlife of Bangkok, or the trend culture of Tokyo, it has a distinct flavour and energy of it’s own, layer upon layer of history that makes it feel part Paris, part broke down Palace. The cluttered streets of the Old Quarter are filled with swarms of motorbikes and on every corner there’s boiling pots of street food and vendors selling vietnamese drip coffee. Lot’s to see, lot’s to do, and lot’s to eat. Could a weekend getaway get any better? See for yourself, and feel free to share any other tips you have!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The best thing in the whole world (seriously) – drip coffee with coconut frozen yogurt

Stay

After pretty much everyone recommended it, we splurged and stayed at the Sofitel Metropole Hotel, it was only for a couple of nights and we loved it! After being in the city I can see that there are quite a few options of places to stay, but nowhere beats the atmospheric charm of this French colonial hotel. It really is a touch of Paris in Hanoi!

See

Old Quarter – If you only do one thing while in Hanoi, take your time to wander the busy, hectic and utterly charming old quarter. I have to say I fell in love the first day and didn’t feel the need to do anything else other than that the whole time! The maze of streets are filled with tiny shops, each street dedicated to a single type of merchant, it’s utterly riveting walking around all day and felt relatively safe to do on your own (although, as usual, keep your wits about you).

Hoan Kiem Lake – At the centre of the city, this lake and it’s surrounding strip of park is a breath of fresh air amongst the old quarter, a place to stop for a rest and enjoy a brief moment of tranquility. In the top North West Corner of the lake there’s a very cute little rotunda and cafe where you can have a cool drink and relax.

Hoa Lo Prison – First built by French Colonialists to house political dissidents and then used during the Vietnam war to hold captured American POW’s, this prison has a chequered past. A museum has been built in what was the gatehouse and it’s an interesting insight into the history of the place and the city itself. The seemingly happy coverage of the POW’s while in prison (note all the smiling American servicemen) seems to be at odds with accounts I have read elsewhere, but see what you think when you go.

Ethnology Museum – We loved this museum, filled with tribal art and explanations of the many differing ethnic groups of the Vietnam region. It’s a little while away so perhaps combine it with a trip to West Lake.

West Lake – ‘Tay Ho’ is a large freshwater lake to the NorthWest of the Old Quarter, a suburb where it appears lots of expats live, and I can understand why. Such a beautiful area with a mix of old and new Vietnam. Visit the flower markets or grab a drink at the Intercontinental. A welcome (short) reprieve from the busy old quarter.

Shop

Shopping streets – The Old Quarter is full of great shopping, with the best stores centred around Hang Bac (lots of silver jewelry here), Hang Gai (tailors, fabrics, linen), Nha Tho and Ly Quoc Su (clothing and handicrafts) and Hang Trong (slightly nicer textiles and homewares)

Tan My Design – When you’re in Hanoi, make sure you don’t go home without a new set of linen, the city is known for it’s cotton, silks and embroidery. The best place to do this is around Hang Gai, I bought the most gorgeous set from Tan My Designs, not completely dirt cheap but worth soooo much more than I paid for them. I look forward to crawling into my cloud of a bed these days like never before!

Dong Xuan Wholesale Markets – These markets are just to the North of the Old Quarter, and super hectic, but a great place pick up some trinkets, cheap jewellery or a pair of sunnies after you lose yours (naturally).

Cho Hom Markets – This market, although a little bit to the South of the Old Quarter (grab a taxi to get there if you’re staying centrally), is filled with fabrics and the area around it has a few tailors who may be able to stitch you up something if you have the time.

Chie Handmade: I found lots of stores around the old quarter selling Asian handicrafts, and after a while they tend to all look the same – same fabrics, bags, toys etc. I chanced upon this store and loved the uniqueness of their designs, a little bit different and a lot more elegant than the usual tat you find everywhere. I bought a few fabrics, some cushion covers and some other handmade goodies here. Definitely recommend! Currently located at 49 Hang Trong, with another store on that street too. They have a facebook page but no website, as is the case with lots of places in Hanoi.

Eat & Drink

Cong Caphe – If you only have one vietnamese coffee while you’re in hanoi make sure it’s here. Seriously. I don’t drink that much coffee anymore but took up the addiction for a few days just so I could revel in drip coffee with coconut frozen yogurt. I visited the Hang Dieu store everyday and sat on the tiny military stools for hours, taking in the activity on the street and loving the tongue in cheek military vibe of the cafe. Love!

Metropole Chocolate Buffet – What better way to while away an afternoon than a chocolate buffet afternoon tea in the light filled conservatory that is Le Club at Hotel Metropole. One of those please-roll-me-out situations, leave all diet restrictions at the door!

Bar Betta – An amazing terrace house in the Embassy district that’s been turned into a super fun kitschy bar, decked out with old records and mismatched vintage furniture – perfect for a lazy after dinner drink.

Green Tangerine – Pretty courtyard restaurant that serves up interesting french/vietnamese fusion food, to be honest I loved the spot more than the food but sometimes that’s what it’s about when you travel

67 Hang Dieu Street – Best simple beef noodle joint on the streets of Hanoi. Just go.

The Hanoi Social Club – Tiny little veggo cafe in the Old Quarter, great place for a lunchtime pitstop.

Indochine Restaurant – We loved this pretty house with simple food and a lovely late night vibe. Note to all, most kitchens close around 9pm so make sure you head out early.

Bun Cha Dac Kim – Street side stall selling BBQ minced pork balls served with vermicelli noodles and salad. On Hang Manh and best for lunch.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Street fruit vendors in the old quarter | Propaganda poster shop on Hang Bac

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

High tea / chocolate buffet at the Metropole (promise this wasn’t all for me!)

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

You’ll see painted signs all over the city which apparently advertise handymen, plumbers etc | Old wing in the Hotel Metropole

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Stopping for a bite at Bun Cha Dac Kim, Hang Manh Street in the Old Quarter

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

I went to this cafe virtually every day for the people watching as much as the drinks. As someone who rarely drinks coffee you can imagine it was like: zing!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Was so inspired by the amazing tiles!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Just a simple day in the old quarter | Bicycle florists

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

One of the quieter streets in the old town.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The Metropole was truly magical | Brokedown palace doorways are everywhere in the old quarter

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Streetside hairdressers

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Tailors around the Cho Hom markets | Peeking into people’s houses in the Old Quarter

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Tomato noodles on the streets of the Old Quarter

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Dodging scooters!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

It’s always tea time! | Meeting Miss Scarlet in the conservatory (ie Le Club in the Hotel Metropole).

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The Old Quarter has such a gorgeous broke down palace feel, I didn’t want to leave!

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Wearing: Witchery chambre suit, Whistles bag, Witchery watch

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The upper courtyard at the Metrpole, talk about dreamy! | More tile love.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The Old Quarter is full of amazing shop fronts.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Simple travel outfit: Zara flats, J Brand shorts, 7FAM top, Whistles bag

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Shopping on Hang Gai | Shopping on Hang Dieu

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

The perfect place to read a book.

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

Shopping on Hang Bac | Shopping on

Geneva of A Pair & A Spare goes to Hanoi

(Source : http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/01/travel-a-quick-guide-to-hanoi.html)

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Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com

World’s Largest Cave, Son Doong, Hosts First Public Tours

By Huffingtonpost

The Son Doong Cave in Vietnam is the biggest cave in the world. It’s over 5.5 miles long, has a jungle and river, and could fit a 40-story skyscraper within its walls.

But nobody knew any of that until five years ago.

The newly discovered cave has been touted as the largest in the world, although other caves vie for the title of longest (Mammoth Cave in Brownsville, Kentucky nabs that title with about 400 miles of passageways) and deepest (Krubera Cave in the nation of Georgia).

A local man discovered the cave entrance in 1991, but British cavers were the first to explore it in 2009. Tour company Oxalis has been running trial tours of the cave since last summer. According to their website, there is currently “no availability” left for 2014 tours, but the schedule for 2015 will be posted “later this year.”

The lucky few who have entered Son Doong so far, like photographer John Spies, have emerged with some amazing photos.

The man who discovered Son Doong didn’t go in because the entrance he found had too steep a drop. On tours, visitors rappel 80 meters to enter Son Doong.

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On their first night inside the cave, visitors camp near Hand of Dog, a humongous stalagmite that looks like a dog’s paw.

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The roof of the cave collapsed centuries ago, allowing a lush jungle to take root. Monkeys and flying foxes live in what explorers named the Garden of Edam.

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Fields of algae from ancient pools blanket parts of the cave’s interior.

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Son Doong is a jackpot of rare cave pearls. The pearls form over hundreds of years as water drips down, dries up and leaves layers of calcite crystals on grains of sand.

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Scientists have discovered never-before-seen plant species around Son Doong’s waterfalls. Oh, and there’s a whole river in there, too.

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Can’t shell out $3,000 for a tour? Take this virtual journey into Son Doong’s forests!

( Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/29/son-doong_n_3873341.html)

Photos by John Spies and Carsten Peters/Getty Images.

 

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Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotline: (+84) 972004080

Email: kellyyouthhostel@gmail.com

 

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