Vietnam: Halong Bay & Hanoi

About Vietnam

Vietnam is a southeast Asian country on the South China Sea known for its bustling cities, picturesque beaches and vivid history. Hanoi is the capital city and at its heart is the old quarter where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade amongst the french colonial architecture. Halong bay in northeast Vietnam is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rain forests. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994.

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Getting there

You can fly from Dublin to Hanoi however we flew from Manila which was only a 3 hour flight. When we got to Hanoi we had organised a car to drive us straight to Halong Bay. We arrived at 5 am and absolutely fell into the bed in our hotel. We stayed in Halong Bay for 3 nights and got the same car back to Hanoi where we stayed for 3 nights before flying home.

 

Accommodation

Halong Bay is absolutely filled to the brim with hotels however there’s not much else there in the the city itself. Looking back, I would recommend anyone to just go down to do the boat tour and then leave again. We stayed in the Halong Palace Hotel and it was fab but the restaurants were expensive inside the hotel and there is not much around in Halong itself. We stayed a night on the Castaway boat tour which was great craic. Then in Hanoi we stayed in the Splendid Boutique Hotel in the old quarter it was very small but clean and in the perfect location.

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Halong Palace Hotel

What we did

  • The Halong Bay Castaway tour. We did the two day one night trip and to be honest it was enough. It includes kayaking and free alcohol so what’s not to love?
  • Visit Hoàn Kiêm Lake and Ngoc Son in Hanoi.
  • Explore the Old Quater.
  • Visit the Dong Xuan Market.
  • Hoan Kiem Bia Hoi. This is the street bar scene in the old quater where you can sit and drink some of the cheapest beer in the world. A bottle will cost about 15 cent.
  • See the Long Bien bridge over the red river.

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Hoan Kiem Lake
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The red bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake

Food

Halong Bay:       Halong Palace Hotel
1958 restaurant
Café Nam Phong
Hon Gai restaurant
Hanoi:                 Hanoi Taco Bar
Marvellous hotel
Splendid boutique hotel
Giang Cafe (try the Vietnamese Egg Coffee)
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Egg Coffee
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Honestly, I wish we had more time in Vietnam to explore the rest of the country such as Sapa and Nha Trang but I guess that just means we will have to go back lol. It is such a beautiful country filled with an immense amount of culture and history so if you plan of travelling through Asia put Vietnam on your list!

Mini Mint x

 

Electric Picnic 2017

Hey everyone! I have been so busy lately between moving back to college for my final year (cue nervous laughter) and attending electric picnic aswell as the all Ireland final. We won’t talk about that last one. I’m severely wrecked and broke but I’m gonna quickly fill you in on the last weekend for anyone thinking of buying electric picnic tickets for 2018 which are on sale NOW!!
Getting there
So my first year I went from Waterford and it was a breeze, we drove up at 7 am and didn’t meet any traffic. We got a clear run and stopped for breakfast on route. We parked in the yellow car park which is a 5 minute walk from the Jimmy Hendrix campsite where we stayed. I would definitely recommend bringing your car if you have one because you can leave stuff in it and go back and forth as opposed to a bus where you have to carry everything at once.
This year we drove up from limerick around half 8 and didn’t meet too much traffic but we had to park in the red car park which was a fair trek to the campsite especially when you’re carrying 20 cans and 4 litres of mixer.
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My outfits
Day 1:
Luckily the weather was actually ok this year so I was able to wear this tie-dyed maxi dress which I purchased on holidays in El Nido. I wore this oversized festival jacket from boohoo.com and just an old pair of converse because as we all know festivals are not the place for fancy footwear. I wore this (what I thought was funky) septum piercing from Penneys also and got the piss taken out of me for the weekend lol.
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Day 2:
I wore this slogan t shirt dress which had the saying “stop everything and dance” paired with a multicoloured kimono/dressing gown which I purchased in a market in Vietnam for about 20 cent. These boots are years old and they’re from schuh.
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Day 3:
Day 3 I went up to Croke park to the all ireland so the attire was fairly basic in jeans and a jersey. I was devastated about the result but if Waterford couldn’t win, I was glad it was Galway if that makes sense. Hopefully this time next year it will be a different story. We are some of the best supporters in the country and I’ve no doubt they’ll come back stronger than ever.
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What to do
  • Body and soul is hands down the coolest place ever also they have a bonfire so when you’re freezing I would deffo recommend heading in there.
  • I know it’s super tempting to stay in the campsite and drink with all your mates but do make the effort to actually go inside and see some acts, you’re after paying €240 in fairness
  • Exploring the food trucks is also a great shout because you can get anything you possibly want, don’t be afraid to try something different inside or getting a burger every day.
  • The salty dog and trailer park are also such cool places to go explore at night time.
So that’s ep in a nutshell really. Even if there is a “bad line up” I would still recommend going because you might be surprised what you could find for example we went to see The Magician at the Heineken stage and going in we only knew one song, but it was the best two hours ever and we had such an unreal time.
Mini mint x

Turning 21

Hey everyone! I’m turning the grand ole age of 21 this week and this is going to be a bit of a different blog post compared to what I have done so far as I’ve been feeling severely contemplative about what I’ve achieved and what I have not achieved in my life so far. I know I’m only 21 not 60 and what could I have possibly have to share? I mean I’m only starting off in life right? Well here is the story..
  1. No one is going to hand you your dreams. I always thought if you were a good person and went to mass, that good things would fall in your lap. This is not true. You seriously have to work to get what you want in life. You want to travel? Work and save and then book your holiday. You want to go to college? Study and organise yourself. You want to meet someone special? Then go out and ask someone out. If you want something in life you are going to have to go and get it yourself. No one gets handed success and opportunities, you have to want and work for them                IMG_6585[1]
  2. It is physically impossible to be everyone’s friend. This is very true for me in the case of college especially. Throughout school I tried to be friends with everyone and I learnt that it’s just not feasible. When I went to college it was an eye opener as to who truly cared about me and who didn’t. Hang onto the people who text you to see how you’re doing and actually make an effort to meet up because they are the ones who are actively making an effort in keeping you in their life. I’m not saying to ditch people or to be mean. I still love going home at Christmas and seeing practically my whole school year out because it’s nice to see how much people change and grow but you don’t need to be everyone’s best best friend. Just be kind. IMG_6588[1]
  3. Your parents are right (most of the time) It legit took me 21 years to realise this one hahaha. They have been through more ups and downs in life than you so they have a better perspective. It’s just common sense. They’ve been through more in life and can offer some pretty decent advice when it comes down to it. I know “times were different when they were teenagers” and “they don’t understand what it’s like nowadays” TRUST ME I have used all the excuses in the book but at the end of the day you are their child and they really do want what’s best for you so take a step back and listen.                                                                                                                              IMG_6586[1]
  4. Time is a great healer. If it’s overcoming a great loss or a lost relationship, it becomes more bearable as the days go on. I know it’s super cliche but I lost some great people over the years from people passing away to just drifting from good friends and I found that it doesn’t hurt as much now to when it happened. Just something to bear in mind if you feel like your world is ending.
  5. Hangovers get so much worse the older you get. Seriously. Our older brothers and sisters weren’t joking about this one.
  6. Food can cure most arguments. Your boyfriend is mad at you? Buy him a chicken burger. Your sister is thick you stole her dress? Buy her a bag of jellies. Sorted.

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These are just some things I thought I would share because I’ve been feeling very emotional all week. I found a letter I wrote to myself in Leaving Cert and bawled crying which is so unlike me. One last thing I would say is to live your life for yourself. It is too short to waste your whole life pleasing others. Now I’m off to pack for my 3 week trip to Asia and I’ll be sure to post about everything we do. I’m sure there will be loads of mistakes ahah, see you soon.
Mini mint x
(P.s We went to Bellissimo in Waterford City for dinner)