Travel Diary at Hanoi, Vietnam

Should Taiwanese apply for a VISA to Vietnam?

Yes, for a Taiwanese, Vietnam is not a VISA-exempt country. If you are a Taiwanese, you should apply for a travel VISA. For Vietnam travel VISA, I spend 1164 TWD. However, because I applied online at the last minute on Saturday, there is a weekend processing fee of 3689 TWD. I learned that first, arrive at the airport two hours before the flight. We can not take our flight at the airport cuz the gate is already closed around an hour ago before the plane took off. Second, plan your travel in advance. So you can apply for your Vietnam VISA in advance. It’s cheaper to apply for VISA weeks ago without a weekend processing fee.

People in Vietnam

They are super friendly. Several times I got lost in the middle of the road, I asked the local people how to find a place on Google Map, they help us find the way by grabbing our hands kindly to direct us to the right place. Another time, we couldn’t find our taxi driver, then we asked a local, they helped us find the taxi driver which is on the opposite side of the road. He even led us to pass the super chaotic traffic!

About the traffic in Vietnam, Hanoi, it’s terrible, people use the horn frequently. They use the horn to inform people to watch the road, to cross the road. The is usually no traffic light, people even walk in the middle of the traffic.

 

We rented a scooter for 240 k VND for two days, from Sunday noon to Monday night, from this vendor: 

When getting the scooter, you need to give deposit either by your original passport or one million VND. When topping up gas, I usually do 20 k VND at the gas station.

 

20190804:

Hanoi City

Actually, Vietnam is a developing country. There are lots of people used to be poor. Most buildings are old. However, people are more friendly and kind. It’s not like cold people in advanced countries. What surprised me is that Vietnamese like nightlife. There are many shops open until late at night. Especially in the city center, there are many modern shops, night clubs, night markets.

Cute locals packing stuff on a motor cycle

The Messy Traffic

The traffic is chaotic here. Many scooters and cars join on the road. Unlike Uber, they use Grab, a motorbike and taxi driver app. I had a good experience being picked up and dropped off by a motorcycle taxi using Grab. The driver is friendly. When it’s rainy, they will lend you raincoat. It cost only around 25 ~ 35 k VND for a distance of around 15 ~ 20 minutes by motorbike Grab. Grab also offer food delivery by motorbike.

Riding a Motorbike in Hanoi

Enjoy listening to the horn of scooters. People here use the horn very often to inform people for safety reason. People don’t follow the traffic rules. We rented a scooter for 2 days for 240 k VND.

View this post on Instagram

Riding a motorbike in Hanoi #hanoi

A post shared by Tim🔥Warren (@tim.d.warren) on

Old Quarter

This is the main attraction where foreigners visit. There are many shops and buildings to visit.

a corner of the Old Quarter

local fruit stall on a bike

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

 

Having lunch at Hanoi Food Culture

We had a good talk with their staff for around 2 hours. The female staff shared their food culture and even offered us a free traditional dessert of red rice at the end. This restaurant supports disadvantaged group like students, local food providers, and farmers. We felt very good after the meal. Their food is very delicious and special.

What we ordered:

Roasted fish in banana leaf

Seafood noodles

Mango juice

Watermelon juice

Total price: 560 k VND

 

20190805:

It’s cloudy with sunny now, we’re departing from Hanoi to Ning Bing now.

 

Bad Review to Travel Agency “Strawberry Holiday Vietnam

On Sunday night, we walked at the Hanoi night market and stopped by Strawberry Holiday Vietnam, a travel agency. We booked a two-way bus the next day between Hanoi and Tam Coc, Ninh Binh (920 k VND for 2 people). The agent told us to take the bus back at where we will be dropped off at Ninh Binh. However, the bus didn’t take us to Tam Coc. The driver said no to take us to Tam Coc which is very ridiculous. They only dropped us off at the Ninh Bính bus station (Ninh Binh city center). We have to rent a scooter by ourselves to go to the attractions. When we wait for the returning bus at Ninh Binh bus station, the agent called us to go back to Tam Coc for the bus. But it’s too late. The bus has already gone. We have to pay another 330 k VND for two people to take another bus back to Hanoi. We called the agent, Lê Bích Ngọc, to ask for the refund of the extra bus fee. It’s not our fault to lose the bus cuz the driver didn’t take us to Tam Coc. The driver even lied to the agent that he took us to Tam Coc at first while the driver didn’t. The agent has the responsibility to make sure we arrive at the destination. We’ll never go to this travel agency.

Ninh Binh

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

When I arrived at Hoa Lu by motorcycle, I really didn’t like the behavior of the residents there. They stop you, asking to park your scooter at their place for a fee while it’s free to park elsewhere. When you don’t park at their place, they threaten to break your motorbike. I parked at a place of one woman. Afterwards, she asked you to buy their food at their stall or buy their souvenirs.

Goat at Hoa Lu

an ancient temple, Hoa Lu

Tam Coc

 

Traditional Boat at Tam Coc