Day 6 Hanoi
I reached hanoi around 4.30am! And slowly make my way to the homestay. Lucky I put my luggage at the homestay before I go to Sapa, so I need to drag my luggage in the dark. Although is dark but you definitely not lonely because at the front of the train station, there is a horde of taxi drivers! Seriously they really know how to earn money. Anyway I have booked a tour to Perfume Pagoda which is at 8.30am. I took a quick shower and nap for a while.
In the morning, I stood at the gate of my homestay for almost an hour before the tour bus arrived! It is drizzling and lucky the shop has shelter for me to stand. If not, I will definitely be drenched. At first, I thought that I'm going to Perfume Pagoda. End up, there is no people going there. So the tour agent just slot me into another tour - HOA LU & TAM COC!! If she told me in advance, I will know be that pissed. But morning I make so many calls to her, she didn't even mention it at all! Anyway, she did refund me USD4 for the cable car. But still mega bad service!
My itinerary turned out to be "Inland Ha Long Bay”. The area of Tam Coc and Hoa Lu is characterised by the limestone geology that gives rise to the towering karsts that make this picturesque area so unique. On this enjoyable day trip, the atmosphere is relaxed as you casually pedal and paddle your way past green rice fields, along waterways and through underground passages.
AM : 8.00 leave Hanoi by coach to Hoa Lu (2.5 hrs). Visit the historic capital of Viet Nam and the famous ancient temples of Le and The Dinh Dynasties. Bus transfer or cycle for an hour on picturesque quiet roads through villages, rice fields, rivers and rocky outcrops to Tam Coc (12km) for lunch.
PM : Boat trip to visit TamCoc to see the beauty of the karst formations as you pass along their base and row into one of the many caves carved through the limestone. Dive back to Ha Noi. Tour ends around 6pm.
The boat trip is another con case! The women will row the boat using their feet, pointing nice scenaries to us. Trying to explain with their very limited english. While people with camera will keep on taking your photo on another boat and trying to sell photo to you at the end of the boat trip. You think is bad, this is not the worst. At the end of the river, the women have to U-turn and row back. Then you will tio horde by a group of women, selling drinks & snacks. They will block your boat and pestered you to buy! You think is the end? NO WAY! Half way back to the river, the woman rolling our boat stopped and tried to sell us souvenior! After saying NO for million of times, we finally reached back to the shore!
We took our bus back to Hanoi and I met up with my couchsurfing friend for dinner at her place.