When traveling on tight schedule you always worry about time and if you are actually going to enjoy or just feel like you are running after time. I spent 3 days in North Vietnam, traveled to Ha Long Bay and Mai Chau and let me tell you something, it was perfect!
Remember i told you about Lilly’s travelling agency? Well, through them i booked a day trip to Halong Bay. I got picked up from my hostel at 8 am, and after 3.5 hours on bus we arrived. When you plan a trip, you spend a lot of time in research, looking at pictures on Google and reading blogs. You think you have an image of the place, but then you actually get there and it’s nothing like you imagined, but so much more.
After a great lunch at the pier, we began sailing. The sky was clear and blue, boats ahead and then these mountains rise from the sea. Gigantic mountains, covered in green plantation, standing there, keeping secrets, legends, oh the stories they could have shared with us.
It’s just remarkable the beautiful way of nature and the world we live in. To have created such beauty and special landscape.
After a short sail you arrive to a remarkable cave and again you try to grasp how such beauty could have been formed.
If you thought it’s the end of the tour, nope! You will be able to enjoy a tour on a smaller boat amidst the the water of Halong and explore it a bit more, the perfect ending to a wonderful day.
You head back to Hanoi at around 4pm and arrive at 8.30pm.
I know many recommend taking a cruise in Halong for at least 1 night, but if you are tight on money and time, this 1 day trip is perfect to explore this world wonder.
I spend my next 2 days in Mai Chau, a wonderful alternative to Sa Pa. Hardly any tourists, peaceful and so beautiful!
Again i booked the bus trip with Lilly Travelling agency in Hanoi and stayed in a great homestay Hoaban homestay. Mai Chau is only 3.5 hours from Hanoi, unlike Sa Pa, 8 hours. Greenish, blessed with picturesque mountains, authentic and untouched nature, small bamboo villages, rice fields, waterfall and children greeting you with Hello!
On the first day we were a group of four and did an easy rider with Vinh and Lyne from the homestay. Exploring the green hills, passing through villages, and arriving at a spectacular waterfall. We had a fruit break, and just enjoyed the scenery.
Every corner is picture frame for you to discover.
On the second day you can rent a bicycle or explore the countryside on foot. Walking through the hills, rice fields and just exploring the Vietnamese daily life in North Vietnam. Make sure to the check the weather before you head North, because there is nothing more breathtaking than Mai Chau on a sunny day.
From there you i headed back to Hanoi and booked my bus to Tam Coc, so if you wish to continue South it’s up to you to check buses and itineraries. But, regardless of what you might have heard, passing through Hanoi again won’t the worst and can even be another adventure! Check out my post on Why spend 3 nights in Hanoi, Vietnam.