Monday, January 25, 2016

Disembarkation, Hong Kong 03Jan2016

It was wet and cold morning
when we arrived in Kai Tak cruise terminal
which was once world famous airport
with jumbo airplanes taking off through 
high-rise apartment buildings until 1998.

It is now turned into the cruise terminal 
as well as Ocean terminal in Tsim sha tsui.

 Disembarkation was as smooth as usual
even though it is sad to leave the ship,
 fellow passengers and friendly crew.

 Group of young men are getting ready
to welcome us with Chinese Lion Dance

 Our flight to return home 
is not until 7pm so we took a ship's tour
that includes airport drop 
after 5 hour tour of the city.

It is handy with few luggage loaded 
to a bus directly from the ship.

It was still raining when we got up
to the Victoria Peak by tram.

It is supposed to be a magnificent view 
of Hong Kong sky line and harbour 
all we could see was just fog.

I have been to Hong Kong
for countless times but
it has been few decades
since I have been to the peak.

Thank goodness for the fine weather at that time
even though the view would be quite different now.

 They took us to Aberdeen where 
we enjoyed short ride of a boat.
Our captain of the boat
seems to be in her late 80's
but looks very experienced.

 Wharf for the boat ride and also for the boat to 
one of the most famous icon of Hong Kong,
Jumbo floating restaurant.

We also visited one of the oldest jewellery factory
and it's display hall in near Aberdeen.
There were all kind of jewellery with gemstones 
as well as Chinese jade art and craft
but photography was not allowed 
except for inside of the factory.

Behind the Stanley market

Our flight to home took more than 9 hours
and it was long enough to be a pain
especially after early morning wake up.

Having said that, we do not really 
have any complaint whatsoever!
We still consider this particular cruise
the very best cruise trip we ever have experienced.

Thanks to wonderful crew who looked after us
and fabulous food and generous alcohol service on board
and lastly for those fellow passengers we became close friends!

Hanoi from Halong Bay, Vietnam 01Jan2016

 Sunrise in beautiful Halong Bay

This big Ferris Wheel must be brand new.

Big tourist theme park was also being built
on the beach which is a shame.


We took a ship's tour of Hanoi today
as this is our third visit to Halong Bay.

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam
which is well mixed it's Asian
and French heritage.

It took 3.5 hours drive from 
Halong Bay by mini van.

It is just 170Km away 
but two lane road
has to find the way through
many small villages, too.

 The Presidential Palace at the Ho Chi Minh quarter

 Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at the quarter

 A guard at the Mausoleum

 In front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum


Our tour group has been divided into 
3 small groups of 6 people each.
So, it was quite swift to move around.

 One Pillar Pagoda is a temple
 just 5 minutes walk from the quarter.

 Built in 1049, It has been a place where
people wish to have baby come to pray for. 
 This pagoda is one of two 
most iconic temples in Vietnam

 Ho Chi Minh Museum is located in 
right next to one pillar pagoda


 Temple of Literature.
Serene retreat, built in 1070 to dedicate to Confucius.
It was the first University in Vietnam.

 Having fun with visitors from local high school 


Our next stop for the day was Hoan Kiem Lake 
where the city is built around.
Literally, it means 'Returned Sword Lake'

 Turtle Tower standing in a small island
nestled in the middle of lake

 The turtle in the legend with the sword

 Temple on the island crossed over the wooden red bridge


Bustling Hanoi's Old Quarter (aka 36 Old Streets)
was found next to the turtle lake

 Theatre for Vietnam's famous water puppet show

 Bit of French heritage

 Street scenes from the 36 Old Streets 
alongside of the lake

As our last stop, we came to look around 
the Hoa Lo Prison Museum(aka Hanoi Hilton).

It was used by the French for Vietnamese political prisoners
then later for American prisoners during the Vietnam war.

Well, today's tour has taken nearly 12 hours
and our mini van was the last tour group 
to arrive back to the ship.

But Hanoi is our pleasant surprise
with it's charming history and heritage.

So glad that we decided to 
visit this wonderful city.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hue, former Imperial Capital of Vietnam 30Dec2015

Da Nang is located in half way between
the capital Hanoi in north
and Ho Chi Minh City in south.

We have been Da Nang before and 
have seen famous
marble mountain and Cham temple
and visited ancient charming town of Hoi An.

We decided to take a ship's tour to Hue this time.

Hue was the political, cultural and religious centre 
under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945

 Da Nang Port

 A local fishing boat

 Da Nang is clean and pleasant in many ways

Our tour to Hue takes 9 hours.
It includes 3 hours drive each way from Da Nang.

We drove through Hai Van tunnel 
which is the longest (6.3km)
tunnel in South East Asia.

It was rather interesting drive through
fishing and farming villages in rural Vietnam.

It was overcast and somewhat chilly
which was completely different to Ho Chi Minh City.


On arrival in Hue, we first visited the Royal Citadel.
It was built by Emperor Gia Long in 1804.

 Forbidden City, on the other side of the Citadel.

 Heavily decorated roof with dragons and 
other mythical animals like turtle, unicorn and phoenix.

 Inner City

Royal Theatre

 One of the gates to Forbidden City

Forbidden City from outside


 Thien Mu Pagoda was founded in 1601
and it is the most famous landmark for locals

Thien Mu Pagoda is on Perfume River
where many dragon boats are cruising on

 Temple inside the Thien Mu Pagoda


Vietnamese lunch is served in a hotel restaurant.

Food was good but typically made for Western tourists

A couple was selected from our group
for King and Queen to 
experience the formality of a Royal meal
while 7 member band is playing 
Vietnamese traditional music.

We have not got a time to dress up... ^^

 Nguyen Dynasty Emperor Tu Duc Tomb

 I thought this girl was a paid model 
for tourists' photo shoot
until I got close and realised that 
she was on her mobile phone.

Maybe, she was doing both poising and chatting.

The tomb.

 It was a fabulous tour of Hue uniquely in style of Vietnamese.