2011 - China Part 7 - Hanoi, Vietnam

Backpacking Adventure
26 days through 6 Provinces in China
Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Guangxi
and 3 days in Hanoi, North Vietnam
29th Mar <> 26th Apr 2011
at Pingxiang bus station
Day 26 (23.04.2011) Pingxiang >Hanoi

Pingxiang is 15km away from the Vietnamese border crossing. We took the 11am van (CY70) to Youyiguan the Chinese side friendship border first and then to Vietnam border town of Huu Nghi and not to Langson. From Huu Nghi we took the big bus (D150k) to Hanoi in 4 hours bus journey.

Sleeping at Real Darling Cafe Guesthouse @ US10 a room

this is Huu Nghi the Vietnam border town
this is the car that we took for border crossing

the Vietnam country houses

we had to walk all the way from the bus stopped to hotel in Hanoi
I have to assist Kam Boon in carrying his backpack for the big walk in town

sea food every where in the Hanoi old quarter

the oldest cinema in Hanoi
if you are in Hanoi, never never miss the local Beer Hoi
cheers! you will regret for not drinking Bia Hoi
started with D2,000 a glass in 2007, now is D5,000
am getting the real taste of the local cigarette
making friend with Vietnamese girl Ms. Sam. (samnguyen.ftu@gmail.com)
the ever smiling Ms. Sam (samnguyen.ftu@gmail.com)
Lee Kam Boon and his other girlfriend
our European drinking friends

the big crowd drinking by the road side
this is a disorderly orderly traffic in Hanoi
we stayed at this Real Darling Cafe Guesthouse

Day 27 (24.04.2011) Hanoi

Today we made a day trip to Halong Bay which cost US17 per person booked at our Darling Cafe Guesthouse. We stayed at Homey Hotel @ US9 a room.


this is my favorite baguettes
typical Vietnamese building - tall and narrow
Halong Bay jetty
this is our Chinese Junk boat

Lee Kam Boon post for a photo shoot

this is the floating market where you can buy for the boatman to cook
different kind of sea shells for sale

the floating fruit vendors

a boat made of mat and bamboo
cave exploration by small boat

this is the Dong Thien Cung cave entrance

an island jetty
Beer Hoi in the evening to cool down

today we stayed at this Homey Hotel

Day 28 (25.04.2011) Hanoi

Today is our second last day and it is free and easy. Morning was shopping and walking all over of Hanoi, visited the huge wholesale market. Had our favorite Pho Bo for lunch and Wantan mee for dinner. Evening was the Thang Long Water Puppet show.

the 5 storey spiral stair case of the hotel
a street fish vendor
the HSBC bank on the main street
the lake
the wholesale market
Kam Boon and his new girlfriend a book vendor
the best Pho to eat - we have been here for the past many years
the temple at the lake
the best Van Than My in Hanoi
the evening was Beer Hoi, cheers!

Day 29 (26.04.2011) Hanoi > KL

The last day was and early rise and took a van (US15) at 7.30am to the airport for our flight back to KL.

Total expenses in China and Vietnam to-date is RM2,925 per person
Air-Asia : Hanoi - KL is RM320.90

Please take note of this while traveling in China:
  1. To wear face mask in China as it is very dusty and smoky.
  2. Never ever pay any hotel booking deposit through a 3rd party.
  3. Never ever accept any deal as proposed by tout or individual acting as agent of hotel or travel agency at airport, bus or train stations and along the road. Always go to a reputable travel agency or in hotel.


  1. Enjoy reading your write up. Very informative. Seems like we have a common friend, my ex-classmate Dr Goh Chooi Beow

  2. Ling Yoke Tek04 September, 2011

    Dear Mr Ching,
    Thanks for sharing the nice photos. Enjoyed looking at them and really wish I can join you in one of your trip. May God continue to grant you good health so that you can enjoy your retirement.
    Best regards
    Yoke Tek

  3. Superb, very nice, thank you for sharing. China is truly beautiful.

  4. Cheng Chin Kheon04 September, 2011

    Hi NB,
    Thanks for sharing! Enjoy reading your write up, short & sweet.
    Keep on trekking !
    Best rgds,
    Jeff Cheng

  5. Ong Bee Leng04 September, 2011

    Hi Mr Ching,
    What an adventurous trip at such an economical cost. The view is fantastic! Thanks for sharing your adventure. Keep us posted.

  6. Gan Choi Geok04 September, 2011

    Thanks Ching for putting up the photos/commentary ! Hope to go with you on another trip sometime!

    "Life is not a race but a journey"

  7. Hello Mr Ching
    My sis, Bee Leng introduced me to your travel blog. Great to see you photos of your memorable China trip. Keep it up you intrepid travellers! Best wishes in your retirement.

  8. Jo Tan send me your travel website, and I spent hours admiring your travels in Asia. Thanks a million posting those photos…. we’ll be visiting Beijing, Xian and Shanghai on the 18 Sept for 2 weeks. Don’t think we’ll be visiting so many places like you!
    I’m presently retired as of Feb, 2011, would love to travel like you too…. Thanks a Million again.

  9. Dear Mr. Ching, You are very adventurous!!!!!!!!! Thanks.
    Take care.

  10. Thanks for sharing Ching, it is one adventurous trip! Got to see China through your beautiful sharing .... keep it up!
    Best wishes

  11. Teh Chak King05 September, 2011

    Hi Ching, I really envy you man! You are really such a good traveler in wonderful places like this trip .. keep it up bro.....

  12. Hi Ching. I don't know how my address ended up in your mailing list. Perhaps it was thru mutual friends of ours but I truly enjoyed your adventures just as you have enjoyed it. Thank you very much for sharing which makes our lives more enriched even though we may not be physically there, but we were there to share the wonders. Best regards.

  13. Phill &amp; KC Tinkler14 September, 2011

    Hi mate,
    KC and I have been sitting down reading your excellent narration of your wonderful tour...and drooling. Sounds absolutely wonderful.

    We see you are anticipating another 18 day tour in November and wonder a. would you accept a +10% Gwailo and wife and b. if yes, what are anticipated dates.. I'm supposed to be helm on a yacht race 18-26 November.

    We will be coming through China in October off a cruise ship so we could get a multi entry visa.

  14. Ching,
    I was coming from PingXiang to Hanoi and HoChiMin City, where I met you on the Delta River Cruise, three years ago. The scenery in that part is better than Guilin. I did not go to Halong Bay, kept it for my next trip. Will join you one day perhaps. Have a nice trip.
    New York

  15. Ong Ming Teck14 September, 2011

    Hi Mr Ching
    Thanks very much for the interesting updates .. btw, Happy belated birthday to you and I guess it is fun to celebrate it in China this time.
    Best regards.

  16. Chang Shaw Yee14 September, 2011

    You guys are definitely having the time of your life after retirement.
    Way to go and I salute the group of you.

  17. Hong Foo Wah15 September, 2011

    Dear Mr Ching,
    I have been receiving your emails for quite sometime now. I thoroughly enjoy them because I am also a very keen traveller. I am retired teacher, aged 69 years. I am originally from Bidor but has since 1965, been residing in Kajang. I received my earlier education in GESS Tapah and the Chung Hwa Middle school in Bidor. I taught Mathematics for about 26 years in Malaysia before opted to go to Brunei in 1992. I was attached to the Ministry of Education, Brunei for 10 years before I retired in 2002. Presently I am the Vice president cum Director of Studies of an established college of tourism in KL. We specialise in the training of tourism professionals in the like of national tourist guides and IATA courses. I plan to call it quit next year and would like to spend more time travelling. Would be very keen to join you in your exciting adventure if so welcome. Thank you for your time. Best regards to you and your family.
    Hong Foo Wah @ Achai

  18. Sip Seng Cho15 September, 2011

    Thanks Ching; what an intrepid traveller you are ; and what an enviable existence. Good of you to share with friends. Take care.

  19. What an exciting life you have! A great role model you are! Thanks for sharing. Keep us in the loop please.
    best wishes,

  20. Hi Ching,
    Thanks for all the sharing. I wish you would convert all these writing into a book to share with the world. They make very interesting reading.
    I have a request, could you please use my new email address as the old one is full? The new email address is engeng1956@gmail.com.
    Thanks and kind regards,

  21. You're simply a great guy. Really appreciate all your fantastic write-up. Have a wonderful time. Regards

  22. Rosalind Chan Yee Fong24 September, 2011

    Dear Neng Bin
    Your adventures are so interesting!! Admire your energy and love for travel. I travel a lot but I am a pampered traveller!!

  23. Ching, thank you for this gem of a travel info. I hope to get there sometime soon after I've recovered from repairs to my house flooding in Brisbane. Wish you a most delightful journey for the rest of your trip.

  24. Absolutely great and wonderful trip! Keep it up and do share with me. :)

    I will refer to your note to plan my trip to the same places, perfect! Take care and enjoy fullest in Hanoi. I just came back from North of Vietnam from 22-30 March, it was very cold for us. Regards, Elvi :)

  25. Hi, That is really an achievement!! Do you allow others to join you on your trips. Do let me know.

  26. Chan Kang Fei25 September, 2011

    Thank you Ching. Reading your emails and following your journey is like watching a movie.

  27. Hi All,

    Glad to know that you all enjoyed my backpacking travel. I started traveling way back in 2001. Am inspired by Mr.Ian Wright of Lonely Planet on Astro. Need to rough it out and many a time required to sleep in bus or train station. Traveled alone once in 2004 to Cambodia in 12days.

    Currently, four of us the so called hardcore traveler will normally plan and plot the route in the country that we want to travel. Having done that we would patiently wait for AirAsia promotions for cheap fare.

    Only after getting our air ticket, we would invite friends who are interested to join us to book their air ticket. We normally limit to 10 pax.for hard traveling.

    As for free and easy backpacking trip for about 10 days, I may invite friends and family up to 28pax like I did for Saigon last December.

    The advantage of backpacking is that you will save a lot of money,
    especially if you are looking at food, budget mode of transport and

    The best thing in backpacking is that you will actually be able to
    experience and feel what it's really like in those places, rather than just see what it's like as an alien tourist.