“Vietnam is a new modern and at the same time an old-fashioned type of nation. Well, it does have its own similarities with its other neighboring Southeast Asian Countries. But what makes it unique from all of them? I think it would be the French influence and the sense of nationalism of the Vietnamese people. A country that is so proud of its ancient culture and traditions.” -Jassy
In continuation of sharing with you the story of our trip in Vietnam, we are officially down to the fifth and last day of our exploring there.
So when the day had finally come for us to get ready and pack our things in preparation for our journey back to the Philippines. Fatimah and I were both feeling kind of emotional because we still can’t believe that it was almost over. And to make the most out of the time that was already left on our stay there, the first thing that we did was to enjoy the last few moments of eating at the hotel’s breakfast hall – taking it all in the ambiance of the area, greeting our fellow travelers, and of course, looking out once more the amazing view of Hanoi city specifically the Hoan Kiem Lake.
Since we still have time before checking out, we’ve decided to visit once again the Hoan Kiem Lake, and just sit at its nearby benches, and enjoy the view while drinking some lemon juice and taking some pictures. After that, we walked for about 10-15 minutes to go to the “Kem Trang Tien”, a small factory that sells a locally produced ice cream. And I must say, their ice cream is definitely not too sweet, but it tastes so delicious, and despite the lack of its artificial flavors, it didn’t actually hurt my tonsils at all, especially since we’ve tried a variety of its different flavors.
Then at 11:30am, we were back at the hotel to check out, and leave our baggage in the lobby since we’ve requested Mr. Henry Nguyen that we would like our driver to arrive at 6pm. So we still have the whole afternoon to explore again.
For our lunch, we went exploring at the old quarter to find and try the world famous Banh Mi 25, and all the walking that we did in order to find that place was definitely worth it because their sandwich tastes so yummy. However, the place was a bit crowded for the reason that there were tons of foreigners who were also familiar with the popularity of this French Baguettes. So it’s a good thing that we were able to get a table. Plus, I had the chance to meet the new owner of this third-generation family business.
We were there at Banh Mi 25 for more than an hour, and then we’ve continued our exploring from the old quarter all the way to the St. Joseph Cathedral. At first glance, we thought that we were in France because of the European ambiance of the area which makes it also a very enchanting site to visit.
For the rest of the afternoon, my younger sister and I just walked around the other side of the French quarter all way back to the Hoan Kiem District. It was really exhausting, but we didn’t mind because in a few hours, we will be on our way to the airport and we just want to absorb every surrounding that we would see in Hanoi. Then in the late afternoon, we took the time to take a short break at a certain overlooking café near the HM Boutique Hotel and ordered some take-outs at the Popeye’s for our dinner later at the airport.
And as I’ve already written from my previous blog, it’s kind of hard to believe that our stay in Vietnam only took for about five days. Because it tends to feel like we’ve stayed there for a number of weeks.
After that, we were back at the hotel to take our luggage and wait for the car that would transport us back to Noi Bai International Airport. And while waiting, both of us had given our deepest gratitude to Mr. Henry Nguyen (Manager), and also to all the hotel’s staff for the wonderful customer service that they have given to us during our stay at the HM Boutique Hotel, and for that, we will surely miss them. So if you’re looking for a wonderful place to stay in your upcoming visit to Vietnam, I would definitely recommend this hotel for its one of the best spots to stay in Hanoi. Just don’t forget what I’ve noted about it during our first day there.
Then we were on our way to the airport and had arrived there at 7pm. The thing is that the journey should only take for about 40 minutes. But due to the heavy traffic, it took us for more than an hour just to get there.
It was still an early evening, so we took our free time by sorting out and making sure that we won’t have an excess baggage. Then ate our dinner, and had taken some short naps while waiting for the check-in counters for the Cebu Pacific airline to open.
And while we were also there, we’ve discovered something new about the culture and the people of Vietnam, and that is when a family member would go abroad, (either as an overseas worker or an exchange student). You will be surprised to know that a lot of people will send him/her off at the airport, and I’m not just talking about their immediate family members, but also the extended ones – the close friends, and if possible, including the neighbors. It’s like the whole town was actually there. Although that kind of culture is somewhat similar in the Philippines. But the surprising part is that these people love to bring tons of foods with some utensils (including kitchen knives!). Just shows that their airport isn’t that strict when it comes to their security. Something that I don’t usually get to see back home.
Anyway, we’ve also had the chance to converse with a certain Vietnamese Family, who were also there to send off their younger sibling because he will be working in Japan for about three years. They were very friendly, and from our conversations, I’ve learned that the Vietnamese are the kind of people who love to live in peace, and that is why it is so rare for them to hear some activist that opposes their government, but nevertheless, they truly trust its leadership. In which case, I can sort of agree.
By the way, in case that there’s a possibility that a particular Vietnamese local would give you something like some food, please accept it graciously even if you don’t want to. Because the Vietnamese are known for that, and in doing so would somewhat be an impolite thing to do.
Also, it was a very exhausting night while waiting for our flight back to the Philippines. But from the moment that we were officially on board, and were ready to take off, I was tearfully emotional. For I still can’t believe that the trip was definitely over.
Moreover, I’m also grateful to God for making our journey a very memorable and safer one. Bringing with us also all the unforgettable experiences that we’ve gained from there. Including those people that we’ve met, and making us believe the importance of being content in life, the love for our family, and showing us the passion of patriotism to our very own country. Something that we’ve bought with us back home, and wanted to share with our fellow countrymen.
For our next trip, I hope and pray that we would be able to gain more insights and learnings just as much as we did from all those previous travels that we’ve already made.
I guess that shows that the more you travel, the more you will realize how small and different we truly are from one another.
As I finish writing the story of our trip, I would like to dedicate and say my heartfelt gratitude to our friends and family who’ve been giving me and my sister their all-out and 100% support, especially to my parents. Moreover, a special mentioned to a friend of mine that I’ve met in Taiwan, Aleks Paat. I just wanna say thank you so much for all your help in sharing with us your tips and insights about Vietnam especially for being so accommodating to all of my inquiries during those months of planning. Again, Maraming Salamat!
And course, I want to say a big thank you to my younger sister Ray2x for choosing to come with me and be a part of this unforgettable experience. Seriously manghod, I’m so grateful for the all the patience that you’ve given me specifically during those times that I was acting way more anxious, and for that, I’ am truly sorry. But nevertheless, I’ am so proud of the success that we’ve achieved on this trip because it had made everything so worth it, and I’m so looking forward to exploring and seeing more places with you, my dear sister. Love yah!
Well, that’s it, the story of our exploring to one of the most awesome places in Southeast Asia. Next to the Philippines of course!
Cam On Rat Nhieu Vietnam!
(Thank You So Much Vietnam)
Till we meet again!
Plus, thank you so much for reading the Vietnam Project Series!