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The magnificent women of the Sa Pa valley….
Continent : Asie
Language : Vietnamian, languages of minority ethnic groups (Khmer, Cham, Thai, Sedang, Miao-yao, Chinese).
Population (2016): 92,699,227 inhab.
Density: 285 inhabitants / km2
Capital: Hanoi (largest city: Ho Chi Minh).
Currency: Dong (VND)
Political system: communist, single party. The Vietnamese Communist Party has about 3.7 million members, divided into 56,000 cells, or about 5% of the total population
Main religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam
Our 'Wish List'
- see the Ha Long Bay
- cross a street in Hanoi
- take a night train
- see the rice fields of Sapa
- eat Vietnamese dishes!
What to do in (North) Vietnam ?
We stayed 12 days in Vietnam. We would have stayed longer. But 14 nights is the duration of a free visa for French people in Vietnam. With a visa at 60 EUR per person to stay longer, the accounts were quickly made, for 4 with our small budget… too bad.
We arrived by plane on Hanoi, where we stayed 4 days to acclimatize to this new country of Asia. Hanoi is full of charm and deserves to stay there for several days in order to capture the atmosphere. We then went to Sa Pa, in the north for a handful of days and headed south on the island of Cat Ba to explore this famous Ha Long bay for a few days. A circuit thus concentrated on the North Vietnam, itinerant and rather rapid (for us who prefer slow-travel mode) because of this limited visa...
We keep a very good memory of Vietnam, of Vietnamese. Particularly from Hanoi and Sa Pa. Hanoi is full with people, it circulates in all directions. There are millions of scooters, bikes, cars. It honks every 5 seconds. It is polluted and very noisy… but… despite all that, in a very surprising way, it has a crazy charm. There is a very special atmosphere in Hanoi. We could not really understand what it was, but we were absolutely charmed! It's funny because we came from Hong Kong, where the crowd, the pollution and the noise were also omnipresent, but the feeling was completely different ... we never felt good in Hong Kong. We are not sure why. In contrast, we immediately felt very good in Hanoi…
- as said above: Hanoi is noise, pollution, crowds ...
- millions of scooters
- circulation noise, permanently
- a real challenge to cross a street
- disturbing electrical installations…
- an old colorful and decrepit colonial architecture
- street vendors
- a special atmosphere that charmed us 😉
Hanoi Old Quarters
TO DO :
- stay at a crossroads and admire the ballet of traffic ... impressive, hypnotic, mind blowing ...
- cross the above-mentioned crossroad !! Mouahahah!
- simply wander through the streets of old Hanoi - the 'Old Quarters', take your time and wander quietly, do not hesitate to embark on the micro alleys, that is all the charm of Hanoi…
- visit the different pagodas and temples of the city center
- Hoan Kiem lake and Ngoc pagoda
- the imperial citadel of Thang Long: a former site of the Vietnamese capital, used as imperial city for dynasties, then as military place during the wars of independence - an important historical and archaeological site.
- the temple of literature: temple dedicated to Confucius and his disciples, with historic buildings, ponds and gardens, places for meditation (be careful to arrive early at the opening to avoid the buses…).