My goal is to travel around the world! Yep, this is a bit too ambitious. One important principle I learnt from software engineering is how to manage complexity. By breaking down the big problem into smaller, manageable pieces, we could achieve something amazing step by step. Travel to Vietnam is one of those easy trips to spent a weekend without using annual holidays.
HERE ARE SOMETHING YOU CAN DO IN HANOI
01 | KAYAKING AT HA LONG BAY
My Instagram photos always look good with a couple of layers of filter, but at Ha Long Bay, the scenery is looking as good as the postcard photos without any photoshop. Although the ride from the city was a bit long for 4 hours, this UNESCO World Heritage site was worth the time. Kayaking is my favourite activity for an up-close way to explore the amazing limestone. Don’t forget to bring a waterproof bag to protect your iPhone, just in a case falling in the water!
02 | WONDER OF NATURE
Whittled away over centuries by wind and water, the Dong Thien Cung cave is breathtaking. With enough imagination, you could see a lot of things at the multi-coloured stalagmites, like dragon, lion or even a breast. It is funny to hear that superstitious woman without enough milk to pray in front of that rock for blessing her for the milk. Those boobs must be pretty hard, LOL.
03 | CROSS THE ROADS AT NIGHT MARKET
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Mid-autumn festival is one of those time, which allows me to visit the busy night market, but got stuck in the crowd at the same time. Everyone on the street has ice cream in their hand, so I also got one like a local. The mint favour tastes a bit like toothpaste, but it was really fantastic at a hot and humid night. The most challenging thing in Hanoi is to cross the road, which is full of motorcycles. Red light or green light doesn’t mean anything as people will get punished to follow the rules! So with my body to block the cars, courage is required to cross the road every time with wheels right in front of and behind of me. Still can’t believe how did I make it. Thank god.
04 | JUST KEEP EATING
Depending on if you are a risk-taker, like me, there are many things to try and eat on the street. The best thing to travel with a local is knowing how to order local food. I tried very hard to remember the name of what I ate but just can’t remember the Vietnamese name. The language sounds like a song to me, with up and down lyrics, but I still don’t understand a single word what people said. Luckily, my camera ate before me, so if you could recognize the name of this food, leave a comment below.
05 | DRINK EGG COFFEE
This is not disgusting, in fact, it’s f**king awesome! Only in Hanoi, you could taste the traditional Vietnamese egg coffee (Cà Phê Trứng). Thanks to the local guide, I have a chance to visit a hidden upstairs coffee place with the ‘same same’ price, since other places would probably charge differently for tourist. With my love of coffee, it is a must to go also another old shop for the classic condensed milk coffee, such a perfect mix of sweet and bitter.
06 | GO TO THE JAIL
Father, I didn’t commit a crime. After visiting the French style St. Joseph’s church, somehow I went to the Hoa Lo Prison museum. I’m always fascinated by the dark side of human beings, like torture and execution. Looking back into history, I feel blessed to live in a period and place now without cruel political suppression or major war. Vietnam War is not just a movie, but a real historical event with bull-shit political reasons. Every soldier has a family, and every loss of life breaks the heart of the family members. Suddenly I miss my girlfriend and wish her safe at all time:)
… AND NOW, MAKE A BOOKING
You are maybe able to get a good deal with travolor if you’re an early bird. There are lots to discover in Hanoi, and I almost missed the flight because of that. I will keep travelling and conquer the world. Looking forward to the next trip!
Originally published at victorleungtw.com on October 2, 2015.