DAY 07 - Aboard the Victoria Express, they do not simply knock to make sure we are awake prior to arriving in Hà Nội...they also serve coffee!
Valerie slept much better on this train, but the carriage still bounced and made a bit of noise during the night
I slept quite well...probably helped that I listened to tunes the whole night long (Photo by Valerie)
It is pouring rain when we arrive at Ga Hà Nội, so I could not get any exterior shots of the Victoria Express. Quyet, same driver we had during our stay in Hà Nội, picks us up from the station.
As with our arrival in Lào Cai, we check into a three star hotel in Hà Nội just long enough to freshen up
Our room at the Flower Garden Hotel in Hà Nội is much nicer than the one at the Thien Hai Hotel in Lào Cai...not that it really matters
View of Hà Nội from the hotel's restaurant
Phở Tai...an essential part of this balanced and nutritious breakfast.
Eric with his daily bowl of Phở Tai. This hotel has a sizeable buffet, but none of the items are particularly good (Photo by Valerie)
Valerie with her daily bowl of Phở Tai
Trúc Bạch Lake (and West Lake beyond) can be seen from the hotel
En route to Hạ Long Bay, we see a new rail line under construction
This new line will service passengers traveling between Hà Nội and Hạ Long City
Just minutes later and we are caught in a heavy downpour. Fortunately Leo receives a text from his wife reporting sun over their home in Hạ Long City.
Sun is out, school is out
Our driver drops us off at a private dock in Hạ Long Bay. Leo will not be joining us for our excursion into the bay. Since he lives in Hạ Long City, he gets to go home and spend time with his family.
During our 2005 trip, we took a junk from a much more crowded public dock to the west. We can already tell this will be a different experience.
The Emeraude departs from a private dock further to the east
We walk down the dock to the tender which will take us to our junk
Bãi Cháy Bridge was under construction during our tour in 2005. Completed almost exactly one year after our visit, it joins east and west Hạ Long City.
We approach the Ha Long Jasmine
One of the crew members waves to us as we approach