Ha Long Bay Junk Boat Tour

Hi guys! Today’s post is about a little more of my Vietnam trip but focusing in Ha Long Bay. I’m going to share with you my visit of this beautiful sightseeing experience on a junk boat tour. Ha Long Bay is near the city of Ha Long (Quang Ninh province) on the northwest of Vietnam. The area contains amazing limestone islands, emerald waters, rock formations and caves. You can take a cruise for 2-3 nights or a junk boat tour for a full day tour, which is the one we took. All junk boat tours are different, the one that we chose had transportation (3hrs bus from Hanoi), lunch and 2 options to choose from kayaking or bamboo boat ride.

The view is amazing with the limestones and majestic caves… however, I noticed the environment was highly compromised. The bay was overrun by tours with very little concern for waste and conservation. Despite of the environment feeling, we enjoyed the sightseeing, the formation of the rocky mountains where just beautiful. It is a very relaxing tour, although, I really think I would have enjoyed more going by cruise. Traveling by bus is like 3hrs going and then 3hrs back from Hanoi, which was tiring and my neck hurt… a lot. We had 2 stops to stretch up our legs and eat but by cruise is another experience in which you can go swimming, watch the sunset, enjoy the sightseeing trip from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, plus you can actually take your time exploring for those 2 or 3 nights in different islands. So if you have the time, I do recommend going to Ha Long Bay by boat cruise, it’s not too expensive unless you’d like the fancy luxurious ones. I have crew friends that have done it and they truly recommended as well.

The lunch was great, they served chicken, pork, rice, salad, drinks were not included though. The tour guide explained the limestones and islets names in which I honestly couldn’t understand nor see the formations from them. For instance the Stone Dogs; my friends and I laugh so hard because we were like “Where’s the damn dog!”. The guide tried to explain it to us, but we just couldn’t catch up. There’s a couple of other ones like Duck Island, Finger Island, Fighting Cocks Island (but my guide said chickens…) and Finger Island.

 

Around Ha Long Bay

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Discover Hanoi

Vietnam has always been in my bucket list and still is. There’s so many places to visit and things to do that a week is not enough. At least you need 2 weeks to visit some main attractions, sightseeing and tours. Most places are far away depending on where you’re staying, for instance Hoa Lu and Tam Coc which are in the country side of Vietnam. In addition, also Sa Pa and its spectacular landscaping sightseeings and rice fields, Ha Long Bay by boat or the beautiful Ban Gioc and Datanla waterfalls, I can keep going all day. However, you can always enjoy Hanoi if you don’t have time to visit all other places, after all, Vietnam is big!

Trấn Quốc Pagoda

I met with 2 friends in Hanoi at the hotel that we booked that by the way, very cheap. Vietnam is very, very cheap! The hotel was (Splendid Holiday Hotel) not fancy, just nice location with breakfast included, just what we needed. I downloaded an app called Grab for transportation which works like Uber or even better. Once I arrived to the almost location, the driver was trying to explain me for about 7 minutes that the hotel was located inside these narrow streets that obviously cars can’t go through. But, I didn’t knew Vietnamese! I tried body language, pointing things with my hand, fingers, facial expressions… ugh! We just couldn’t communicate. Until I asked him like this: “Hotel-Map-Phone” while I was pointing him to the phone. He understood and searched on google maps the hotel, I took a photo with my phone and went walking with my luggage to the hotel which it wasn’t that far. Later, right after I arrived and meet with the girls, we went out to explore. We only took transportation when we really needed, despite the super hot weather, we walked to everywhere and enjoyed Vietnamese culture.

Our first stop was visiting the West lake where the One Pillar Pagoda is, which is regarded as one of Vietnam’s two most iconic temples. We also visit Trấn Quốc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi and The Vietnam Military History Museum.

One Pillar Pagoda

 

Today, this pagoda is like a temple for people to visit and pray if they want to have children. I did not, of course 😀  haha. But is a beautiful landscape to take photos, built on a single pillar to represent a lotus flower which is a symbol of purity in Buddhist culture.

 

Continue reading “Discover Hanoi”

Doha express

Doha express

Visiting Qatar was unexpected, I was initially stopping as transit in Russia but I didn’t knew their policy changed; for transits American citizens passengers need a visa to enter the country -or- airport. If I knew this, I wouldn’t book it in the first place. We didn’t need visa before, but due to politics issues from the President of the USA with Russia, as I was informed from Aeroflot staff, our agreement has changed. Long story short, I rebooked my flight to Hanoi stopping in……Qatar!

Now, I used to love working this flight back when I was cabin crew because from Dubai to Doha is like 48 mins, easy pease flight. But, it was not a layover and never got the chance to visit, until now. This came up because a friend invited me to travel with her and her friend, I skipped some countries in which I already been couple of times and decided to meet them in Hanoi. And yes, I was traveling alone. I left my baby taking care from my mom and husband and went flying solo on a mommy time off week.

On that flight (New York to Doha), when we were doing the first descending, I noticed that the blouse I was wearing had really thin sleeves but not reviling anything though. My next flight was next day and didn’t want to sleep at the airport, I wanted to go out and take a shower… I grabbed my carry-on and searched for any other blouse or shirt. I always packed extra clothing except for this darn time I didn’t. A woman seating behind me saw me struggling and asked me if I was okay. I explained to her my matter as she replied “You’re good hun, there’s no problem what you are wearing at the airport..” I then smiled and told her my plans was not staying at the airport. Her face turned serious and ‘shocked’ as she was asking me very surprised Why would you explore Doha, and alone?  I, on the other hand, was curious of how she assumed I was specifically doing a layover in Doha… She also mentioned she never travels alone, she was to scared of getting lost and that exploring an Arab country such as Qatar, is even more scary for her. She was going to stay the whole day at the airport, kill me. I couldn’t do that.

I was actually really excited to walk through the airport, I read so many things from the Hamad airport and let me tell you, I didn’t get the time to explore all their facilities, but it the airport’s architecture is really modern, beautiful hallways, full of technology, big TV screen, lounges that you can rest, sleep, take a shower, have a spa treatment, jacuzzi, they also have an indoor train to speed you faster to the gate (I did it!), big swimming pool, full range of workout equipment, fancy hotel…and I can go on all day. This is by far, the most luxurious airport in the Middle East. Continue reading “Doha express”

Amazing Phuket

Amazing Phuket

Hello everyone! I would like first to apologize for the lack of post, as I promised I was going to even write about my first leave back at home but unfortunately some situations came by and I was unable to write often as I was doing. I promise to keep you update of what’s going to happen now in my new journey, yes, I might leave my wonderful ‘Emirates’ experience soon. Some details will be posted very shortly, for now let’s enjoy my Phuket gallery!

PHUKET_______________

My very last layover in which I bid for it and got it twice, was Phuket. I was indeed very excited to work this flight, although I was pretty down and sad. Phuket flight was right after my first leave, therefore I was (or I think I was) a little depressed of leaving home, again. I thought of resigning, I started to search for a new job, I was constantly crying over night. I asked a friend who’s been working for Emirates some years as Cabin Crew Supervisor “When this feeling will go away?” he replied- “It would never go away..” I decided to put a side the ‘feelings’ and just work and enjoy my job on these following layovers. Phuket helped me Continue reading “Amazing Phuket”

The City of a Hundred Spires

The City of a Hundred Spires

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague; one of the most beautiful cities of the world and I had the pleasure of finally visiting it, twice! Before I commence sharing my journey, I would like to dedicate this post to Renata from Czech Republic, Thank you so much for having the initiative of inviting me to walk around your city, it was more than a pleasure.  Your wings will be spread soon, I’ll see you in the sky!

The flight was extremely exhausting. Prague peeps like to drink and a lot, thus the entire flight was very busy. We arrived at almost 1pm of the afternoon really tired. I arrived at the hotel with my eyes rolling back. Yet, I managed to text back to this wonderful girl who follows me on my blog. She wrote me, inviting me to walk around the city and to meet me. I don’t tend to do this, in both ways it could be dangerous. I mean, I could be ‘someone else’ or she could have been some ‘guy with bad intentions’ however, she gave me a trust feeling and also we were going to meet at the same hotel I was staying, so It was pretty safe. I told my mom and boyfriend and went down straight to the lobby. She was already waiting for me, she was very lovely and beautiful. We start with a laugh realizing I forgot to bring boots, it was winter already and I had sandals! Jesus Christ! We took the subway and arrived to the city where all the shops where at. It took me more than 2 hours to find a pair of boots, not to expensive and that I really liked it. Thank You Renata for being so patient.

While we’re walking, we talked about my experiences in Emirates, good and bad, she asked me about how’s living in Dubai, my new roommate, and more about the dislikes (pros and cons). She told me she wanted to join Emirates after finishing her MA, which I think is a Continue reading “The City of a Hundred Spires”