Sunday, 12 August 2018

Merempat trip part 2 (Halong Bay & Vietnam-Laos Border)

2nd July 2018

basically, we spend day 2 on the bus all day long.

So, we woke up early around 6.30 am to get ready.
Cao Bang-Hanoi bus leave every hour so don't worry if you miss the early bus. We manage to get the 8 am bus. However as we all know local bus usually stop here and there so i think we only leave Cao Bang for real around 9.30am. Since it's a long journey, we stuff our bag with a lot of junkfood.
and one of the essential for me to bring is my earphone! Mau emo-emo dalam bas bah. hahahah

We arrived Hano around 3 pm and continue with our second bus to Halong Bay. See our day 3 was spent on the bus all day long. although i enjoy watching the scenery while being emo with my song tapi buntut panas juga la hooo... lol,

We arrived at Halong Bay around 9pm. And with the help of the bus conductor (Again! i know) we manage to get a taxi to our hotel! yeyyyy. No because why we always ask the conductor to help us because the local here hardly speak English. Also, from my previous visit to Vietnam, they love to charge more if they know you are not from their country (Happen in all country). with the help of the local, we manage to get local price of course!

3rd July 2018

We woke up around 5am to hike but when we look outside it was still very dark so we decided not to go out early for safety reason (or because we both are just a scaredy cat. Whatever you called it).
We only go out around 6am which is very bright for hiking.
I book the Viet Nhat Hotel on purposed because it's very near to the Bai Tho Mountain or more like hills to me. Cheaper and only a few minutes from the Entrance.
It might be a little bit hard to find the entrance to the hills but you'll definitely find it if you ask around. See, most of the people who leave near the entrance is an old folks and they can't speak english but they were helpful. they really wants us to find the entrance that after the hike some of the old folk we met asked us if we manage to find the entrance. Sweet la baaa..

Unlike any other hills, the entrance to this hills i actually among the shop. YAS. you need to go through someone yard to get to the peak and we still need to pay 40k Dong just to go through their house's yard. lol. And the most shocking thing is, it's not even a proper way! the gate was closed and we need to climb the gate to get through it. AHAAA..

The hike is pretty much easy because there's a stair along the way.
The sun was already shining when we went up there but the view is just amazing!
arghh the view!




Want to go again


I wanted to spend more time up there but we have another plan in the afternoon so we need to go back to our hotel and get ready.

Halong Legacy Cruise.

Initially, i plan to with the day trip cruise but since its my partner birthday 3rd july, so we plan to stay 1 night on the cruise and let her enjoy her moment. haha.
Istarted searching for a nice cruise with affordable price for the cruise.
Normally the best cruise is where you pay more.
I book the cruise through Agoda.com with RM263/p not including transportation Hanoi-Halong. Usually the price can be around rm350/p but that's including transport form Hanoi to Halong. If you want a transport. you will need to add another USD 20(2 way). Since we want to go hiking first in the morning we decided to go ourselves to Halong the day before. And of course the price is cheaper if you go with public bus. So, from our hotel we still need to pay rm20-5usd to go to the Halong Gate via taxi.

Our kind guide Mr.Thang greeted us and united us with other cruise-mate from all around the world. waisey. And here we met another Malaysian from Melaka which is very fortunate!
The cruise is well maintained. The toilet+shower is clean but the bed is hard (The truth is i seldom found soft bed in Vietnam's hotel). But there's some of our cruise-mate complained about the room being so hot. The air-conditioner will only turn on at 7pm to save energy so, yes it's quite hot but we spend most of our time on the roof top so honestly i have no compaline about this cruise.
the food is also nice. Not super-nice but nice for me. most of the food is asian food so our table-mate who came from Mexico didn't really like the food. probably because its too asia for them. i don't know. But i am okay with the food. i don't eat pork so i requested for no pork food which is very convenience for our Muslim friends.

the activity on the cruise is  something like this.
Day 1.
-Hiking
-kayaking + swimming
-squid fishing(at night)

Day 2.
-Taichi at 6 am
-Cave Visit.

We decided to skip the hiking since we already went hiking that morning and decided to relax on the cruise instead. But we went for the Kayaking and swimming. it was really fun but i think the time is limited so macam tidak puas mandi manda. lol. The squid fishing is not really interested to me. quite boring.

You can click here for my vlog about the trip


4th July 2018

The next moening we woke up very early actually to catch the sunrise. I just love the morning breeze in Halong Bay. so, refreshing. not so cold and not so hot.
AMAZING SUNRISE FROM THE CRUISE
And then we went back to our room which i regret it  because i miss the taichi! i woke up again at 6.30 but they are finish already. huhu..so sad.
After breakfast we went to visit the Sung Sot Cave and then we had lunch and we head back to the departure gate.
the view from the Sung Sot Cave
We decided to go with the tourist bus to Hanoi. We arrived at Old Quarters,Hanoi around 4pm and went to buy the ticket as soon as possible. I think we are very lucy because i have a friend who used to work as a tourist manager in Hanoi. she actually offer us cheaper bus ticket RM92 to Laos compare to other place rm120.

The 22 hour sleeping bus.


this is our 22 hours sleeping bus.


I've read it through the internet that Hanoi-Laos sleeping bus is a nightmare. But i thought it was just a one time bad luck until i experience it myself. There's this thing with every Vietnam bus, the local always come first. The same thing happened to us. When we enter the bus, there are still plenty of pleasant seat in the front row but the conductor scold us when we tried to seat there and told us to go to the back lower seat which has no window. Huhu. And then i just realize that all the Non-Local placed at the back. I didn't really care about the seat has no window because we are going to sleep all night long anyway but what makes it worst is that, the air conditioner is not functioning well. Like everyone on the bus are self-fanning themselves and its a 22 hours bus for God sake! I keep waking up in the middle of the night because i was sweaty and smelly? lol.
watching Movies in the bus is our favourite.

5th July 2018
click here for the Vlog


When i woke up at 3 am, the bus is not moving. And there's a lot of other people are sleeping on the floor of the bus. Turn out that we have arrived at the Vietnam-Laos Border but it was only open at 7 am so we need to wait until 7. And my guess is that the people sleeping on the floor is probably the driver and the conductors. Me and my buddy both woke up again at 6 am and went to clean ourselves in the toilet. It was raining and i really don't want to get into the bus again because it was so hot in there so we decided to wait at the immigration office until 7.

About the Vietnam's culture i mention earlier that local always go first, even if you are already lining up for an hour, if 1 local came, the officer will let the local go first. I don't have any problem with that but the local is usually the bus conductor (the bus conductor will gather all the local passport in the bus that night and go to the immigration officer as a representative to all the local). So, imagine this, you've been waiting in line for 30 minutes and then there's one local conductor went to cut your line and he brings 20-30 passport with him.  Yup. You still have to wait because that's their culture. Hurmmm.. And non-local still need to pay for 1 dollar to the immigration officer. huhu

After we passed the Vietnam Immigration, we ran to our bus only to know that we still need to go through the Laos Security to enter LAOS. So, we went out the bus again and guess what.. there's a sea of people (mostly local) were already waiting there. We stood by the side od the sea of people feeling hopeless because we know we can't never go through that in an hour or two. Lucky us, earlier while we are lining up for the Vietnam immigration officer we met this uncle from China. He was lining up behind us and had a chit chat with Stacy (I can't speak Chinese and the uncle can't speak english so i just stood there smiling. hohoho. i should study mandarin!). He was travelling alone too. So,while waiting for that ton of people to reduce its number, the uncle gave us hope. He ask us to follow him closely from behind and go through the sea of people to the LAOS security officer. Turn out that half of the many-many people can't go through the immigration security yet because their passport is not with them (remember their conductor took all their passport to cop at the immigration officer?).  They were just there to mark their place. My gosh. We were really thankful to the Chinese uncle because if its not for him we might stood there for an hour or two. huhu.

After going through the Laos security we finally headed to the LAOS immigration office where we need to walk for 15 minutes and cross the bridge. Malaysian are lucky, we don't need visa to enter Vietnam or Laos so the process is quite simple but most of the non-local with us that day need to apply visa first to get through the immigration. Unlike Vietnam immigration officer, Laos Imiggration officer didn't allowed local to go first. when i was in the line, one of the conductor try to cut me but the Laos Officer told them to get in line. YEYYYYY! i finally found some justice! lol. Just kidding.

Hurmm.. what else ahh.. Ohh the currency exchange! Laos only accept Vietnam Dong,Thailand Baht and US dollar. All the other currency are not accepted including Malaysian Ringgit. And i couldn't find a shop that accept Laos Kip in Kota Kinabalu, so make sure to change your money to Vietnam Dong or Thailand Baht before entering Laos. Or you can change it in dollar to make you life easy.

The bus only departed from the Laos border around 10am to Vientiane.

So it wasn't actually a 22 hour sleeping bus. Hanoi to the Vietnam border is only 8 hours and from the border to Vientiane is around 6 hours. so it was actually only 14 hours approximately but since we need to almost 4 hours for the immigration to open and then wait for all the passenger to pass the immigration took almost 3 hours, so yes it was a 20 plus hours la juga.
To Vientiane!

We arrived in Vientiane around 3PM local time and there are still a lot to tell.
But I'll post about our journey Laos in my next post so stay tune.
Read my previous post about the Ban Gioc Waterfall. CLICK HERE

Show some love by watching my Vlog about the trip.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


XOXO,

S o p h i e l o u i e


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