Morning just began when my plane landed at Hanoi's Noi Bai international airport, northern Vietnam. This is the second time I come to Vietnam. Previous time, in 2011, I visited Saigon, Ho chi Minh, southern Vietnam.
Noi Bai International airport is not too big. After the immigration, you only need to walk a few meter before facing the main exit.
Bus number 86, which I was looking for, is on the left side of the airport's main door. With 35,000 VND, around Rp. 22,000, we can go to the center of Hanoi by this comfortable yellow bus, similar to TransJakarta in Indonesia. Many backpackers from another countries use this bus because the price is cheaper compared to taxis or online transportation such as Grab car.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam which used to function as the capital of North Vietnam. Located on the right bank of the Red River, Hanoi has wet climate; during the summer it is very hot and wet but in winter it is relatively cold and dry.
In February this year Hanoi was still cold and foggy and still raining. Therefore jackets and raincoats must always be prepared wherever we go.
Vietnam, which is officially named the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula, Southeast Asia. It borders on China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest while the South China Sea stretches to the east.
As a Muslim backpacker, my challenge in every trip is to seek halal food. Halal food in Hanoi is not so difficult, but not really easy to find too. In the area of Al Noor Mosque, Hang Luoc street, there is a small canteen that provides halal food with very tasty menus. In the afternoon,when I took a short break, I entered and met many Muslims from various countries.
Like the old siblings who did not meet, we immediately got along and shared chairs. Some men even ate on the porch of the mosque because the canteen chair was full. I agree with the Malaysian brothers that the food here is very good. Even just with stirfried water spinach menu it tastes amazing. Maybe it was also because I'm very hungry.
Not only at Al Noor Mosque, I also tried the Indian halal restaurant PK Spice Restaurant on Hang Manh street located in the Old Quarter.
Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter is a place that consists of 36 streets and is more than 1000 years old. Various store outlets are on this road such as souvenirs, herbal medicines, clothes, rainbow silk, flowers and more. These roads are named after the products sold.
In my opinion the Old Quarter is very interesting. There are also tourist attractions such as the Ba Ma Temple, the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Son temple, Viatnemese Women’s Museum, Dong Xuan Market and several other interesting touristic destinations.
I prefer to walk along 36 streets in the Old Quarter even though I can use Cyclo, or a typical Vietnamese rickshaw. After that, you can walk to the edge of Hoan Kiem Lake to sit and enjoy the twilight.
The next day I met four backpakers from Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brazil on the way to Halong Bay (Halong Bay). The four solo travelers were brought together on a bus to Halong Bay and had traveled around Indonesia all the way to the curves, meanwhile me, the Indonesian native, hadn't.
Halong Bay is a bay in the north of Vietnam which border with China is about 170 km from there.
I ordered a tour package from Klookbecause I couldn't go on a motorcycle alone and also didn't know how to go alone. In my opinion, Klook is highly recommended because service professionals and their responsive guilds are also friendly.
Ha Long bay
I was picked up at the hotel and met other participants on one of the streets of the Old Quarter and returned to the road near the hotel again. The bus I boarded was also nice and comfortable, including food and boats at Halong Bay. Even requesting halal food when ordering tickets online is also provided when eating together on board. In particular, the guide presents a special dish of halal food.
Since 1994 Halong Bay has been designated as a world heritage by Unesco. Even in 2012, the bay became one of the 7 New Wonders Foundation's 7 world wonders.
Ha Long bay
This bay consists of 1900 more dramatic towering limestone islands. Some islands have large and beautiful caves such as the Hang Dau Go cave which is the largest cave in the Halong region.
Visiting this bay, I was dragged into a mystical and extraordinarily beautiful foreign place. The fog that covers the towering limestone islands adds to the beauty of this bay.
Cave in Ha Long
Beautiful Hanoi, its friendly inhabitants and pleasant travel companions, made my short trip very memorable.
When the receptionist apologized if there were any shortcomings during my stay there, then along with three other hotel officers drove me to a car that would take me to the airport, I was suddenly sad. I was reluctant to leave, but the walkers had to keep going even though my heart was tied up in Hanoi.
Tary Lestari, Author, Scriptwriter & Blogger: