TSM Fave Things – November : A Trip to Vietnam – From Hanoi to Halong Bay

I know it’s January already… and yet I am still sharing with you photos from November!

Since the crazy holidays happened, I have a series of backlogs and so I hope you don’t mind that this travel post is 2 months late! And since this is one of the nicest things that happened to me a couple of months ago, I am filing this under my TSM FAVE THINGS : NOVEMBER category! 🙂

Last November break, the family and I decided to head to Vietnam. We stayed in Hanoi for just a couple of days to relax and take a breather. We didn’t do much except eat and do a little bit of sight-seeing in between. So this is our little photo album on that quick but refreshing break from Manila!

Let’s start with food… since FOOD is the be-all and end-all of every trip! 🙂

Every morning, I would start my day with some freshly baked breads and a cup of very strong Vietnamese coffee.

On some days, I would have it hot…like in this photo above.

And on some days… I would have it iced and cold!

Whatever it is, there is something about Vietnamese coffee that makes it oh-soooo good! Well I must give credit to their coffee beans for sure — and their rich condensed milk — that you just have to add in there! (It would be a sin not to!) Their coffee is pure, dark and strong (I think it is even stronger than our Kapeng Barako), and it takes a couple of cups to get used to… but once you’ve been drinking it, I promise, you’ll be addicted to it!

Well, at least that’s what happened to me! 😉 Now I am always on the lookout for some good Vietnamese coffee here in Manila! (Any leads?)

Aside from bread and coffee, our breakfast always consisted of a hot bowl of Beef Pho Noodle Soup. I like the way they serve this — always fresh and made on the spot! They also add a lot of fresh herbs on top which I think is what makes Vietnamese noodle soup taste so authentic compared to the others.

And on some days when I feel like it, I even add more fresh red chopped chilies on top to add to that zing!

We stayed at the historical and iconic hotel, Sofitel Legend Metropole , which is a few steps away from the Opera House, located in Hanoi’s French Quarter. It was the ideal location for us, since it was right at the center of just about everything!

Now it must also be said that his hotel has an equally gorgeous spa, Le Spa du Metropole.

As soon as you enter, you are immediately transported to a very chic and yet calming sanctuary. Indeed, it was the ideal place for tired and weary travelers like us!

Going around this colonial-hotel, I noticed too that every nook and cranny is just picture-worthy. Its neo-classical interiors is matched by modern decor, making it truly a classic luxury hotel.

Now moving on to our sight-seeing itinerary :

One Pillar Pagoda

Built on a single pillar, this pagoda is surrounded by a lush green garden which appears to be floating above the small pond.

Temple of Literature

This is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, this old building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture.

Hoan Kiem Lake

This is a famous lake located in the center of Hanoi. People consider Hoan Kiem Lake as the city’s bouquet, as it makes the landscape of the city even more beautiful.

As you can see I could never stop at having just one photo by this lake — such gorgeous scenery, don’t you agree?

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Located in Ba Dinh Square, this is one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi. It is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the most iconic and popular leader of Vietnam, known to his people as ‘Uncle Ho’. His body is preserved here inside a glass case — although against his wishes.

The following day’s itinerary was quite different. We decided to leave Hanoi (just for the day) to see the world-famous and natural wonder of Halong Bay…

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is definitely worth visiting. It is a great place to relax, sight see and find adventure. It is ideal for everyone who is interested in great beaches, stunning water and nature.

Hạ Long Bay, in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald green waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Halong Bay is popular for scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking — that is if you have a lot of time in your hands. In our case, we visited just for the day.

The best way to experience Halong Bay is from the water. There are so many boat cruises you can choose from  – ranging from half a day to a few days, depending on your budget and style.

We rode a ship modeled on a traditional-style junk boat, an ancient Chinese sailing ship — and this was part of the fun!

Halong Bay’s is northern Vietnam’s number one tourism hub. And now I know why! Everywhere I looked I was surrounded by crystal green waters, thousands of islands and limestone formations of all shapes and sizes!

Halong Bay is nature at its best, a true vision of ethereal beauty!

‘Till the next one!

If you want to read our previous months’ TSM FAVE THINGS, click here. 

And if you have any travel tips that you would like to share with me and our readers, leave your comments below!

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The Spoiled Mummy