Villegas in Vietnam 2014!

Okay I’ve really been a bad girl. I haven’t written since my birthday, which was about 3 months ago. Well, I’ve been busy with my new work, but then more on that later.

Today I’m writing about my recent trip to Vietnam with my family. My family and I always use that time between Christmas and New Year to travel together. In fact, we’ve been doing it since 2008, when we went to Bangkok. This year, it was Papa’s choice to go to Vietnam because he was very interested in the stuff about the Vietnam War. I personally was not too excited about this trip because I had this idea that it was just going to feel like home. Boy, was I wrong.

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As with other family trips abroad, we had to book a private tour for papa’s comfort.  I contacted Vietnam Alive Travel and was in constant correspondence with Mr. Van, the owner, about our itinerary for the 5 whole days that we were staying there. He was very courteous, and I liked that they had this policy that they have to reply within 24 hours of receiving an email. He was also very helpful in making sure that we remain within our budget while being able to explore their country. 🙂

After weeks of correspondence, this is what we came up with:

  • Day 0, December 25: Flight from Manila to Ho Chi Minh City
  • Day 1, December 26: Ho Chi Minh City Tour (Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Post Office, Ben Thanh Market)
  • Day 2, December 27: Cu Chi Tunnels, Thien Hau Temple, Binh Tay Market
  • Day 3, December 28: Flight from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi, Hanoi City Tour (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison, Water Puppet Show)
  • Day 4: December 29: Hanoi to Halong Bay, Halong Bay Cruise
  • Day 5: December 30: Halong Bay to Hanoi,
  • Day 6: December 31: Flight back to Manila

Cebu Pacific’s flights to Vietnam are at weird hours. We left Manila at about a little past ten pm on the 25th of December, so we got to HCMC early morning on the 26th. Similarly, the flight to Manila from Hanoi was at 1:00 am of the 31st (it was delayed so we got to leave at a little past 2:00 am) so we got home at around 6:00 am, Manila time. (I wasn’t really paying attention of the time, I was too sleepy to care haha)

In HCMC, we stayed at the Lan Lan 2 Hotel in District 1. District 1 is where most of the sights are, so its always good to stay at a hotel in that area. We were lucky enough that the end of the street where our hotel was, was Ben Thanh market, and the Reunification Palace was a short 10 minute walk away. Although the location was perfect, my only issue with this hotel is that the pillows were a bit hard. They weren’t those fluffy hotel pillows that I like so much so I ended up with a 2 day stiff neck. 😦 The breakfast was okay, nothing special. But then it was the first time I got to taste Vietnamese coffee, which of course, is another story in itself. (Who knew adding condensed milk instead of creamer would make the coffee taste so much better?!)

We stayed at the Noble Boutique Hotel in Hanoi. The room was smaller, but, being a boutique hotel, the aesthetic looked a lot better. Their pillows are the fluffy ones, so I got to sleep really, really, really well! 🙂 We only stayed here for a night, so I have nothing much to say about it. Their staff was very friendly, and even gave us a map with instructions of how to get back to the hotel without us even asking for it. The breakfast was also good, with a wider variety than the hotel we stayed at in HCMC. The hotel is just a short walk to the Hoan Kiem Lake. Just like in HCMC, it seems to be the area where a lot of tourists stay, as evidenced by the numerous 2 – 3 star hotels in the area.

You won’t have any problems booking hotels in Vietnam, as the hotels are all very affordable. The hotel rooms we booked were all in the range of P3,000++ a night, which isn’t bad considering there were three of us in the room with breakfast included.

Okay, more on this next time! Gotta sleep, got work tomorrow!

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