Existing Member?

Aisling Travels 2013 3months volunteering in Hanoi and whatever happens after that

March - Halong Bay and An Lac

VIETNAM | Monday, 25 March 2013 | Views [623]

Hi guys, been ages since ive done a blog so thought it was time for an update. So since tet, i've moved house, the company has now split the teachers and the volunteers into to separate houses. The volunteer house is about 5/10 min from the old house and its nice. Over the last month we have had about 10 volunteers living there. Most from england. We've had lots of card games, nice dinners and a few nights drinking in the old quarter. We've all gotten on really well most of the time!

The volunteering is going good. Mostly playing with the kids who are very cute. Will get some pics of them on facebook but will leave it until i've finished which is this friday, cant believe the time is gone already but im ready to do some traveling now so hopefully will have plenty of pictures for you all to be jealous of!!

Last week was a busy one wet on two trips one to Halong Bay and the other to An Lac, both were really good but shattered today.

Halong Bay with Maddy, Jem and Charlie - it was an early start, had to leave the volunteer house at 6.45 to get into the old quarter and find the travel agaents where the bus was going to collect us. Que had organised a taxi for us to the old quarter. Had a bit of a problem finding the travel agents but eventually found it and made it to the starting point. We paid up and our tour guide Binh collected us and brought us to our air conditioned bus thankfully. From there drove around collected people from hostels and hotels and finally headed off on the 3 hour bus journey to halong bay. Half way we stopped off for tea, coffee and toilet as the tour guide liked to say. It was a bit strange, they were selling buddahs as well as refreshements along with a bit of everything really. Finally arrived to Halong Bay, it was pretty hot but unfortunately very cloudy so not much sun to be seen but the views were amazing. We had a tour of 16 people, some from australia, canada, china and the uk so quite a bunch of people all of them friendly. The food was great. We went all around the bay, stopped off for some kayaking around floating fishing village, went to Ti Top island where we climbed up 450 steps to an amazing view of Halong Bay. Then went swimming and finally back on the boat where we stayed over night. Had a lovely dinner and some entertaining karoke (there mad for it in Vietnam). We slept on the boat and next morning it was up for breakfast at 7.30 for some yummy toast and egg (its been a while since ive had any toast so it was very good) Then off to the suprising cave for a look around then another sail around the bay until we made our way back to Hanoi. All in all a very worthwhile trip. Had an amazing time.


An Lac with CSDS - This is a tour set up by the company who organises the volunteering. Its only very new and we were kinda the guinnea pigs for western tourists. Its a commune 4 hours outside Hanoi, bus journey was pretty long and quite bumpy but well worth the trip. It was to an authentic village where the people depend mostly on agriculture to earn a living. Theres no toilets in most of the houses or showers but fortunately the one we were at had recently invested in western toilets so we were lucky. We stayed with a homestay family who cooked our meals which were authentic vietnamese dishes, tried snails - not that gone on them - but the spring rolls were yum. We went to a waterfall in the forest beautiful and had a nice swim in the lake really needed it as it was quite hot at that time. We then planted a peach tree where the tour guide is going to take care of until we come back in a few years so theres an aisling tree growing in vietnam lol

In the evening we went to a school where they put on a cultural performance, women sang vietnamese songs and played musical insturments. Our group then sand a vietnamese song which Thuy reports went down well. They could understand us apperently which is always good! We then had a bonfire and some games before heading back to the homestay for some much needed sleep.

It was an early start Sunday, up at 6.30 for breakfast, met up with the rest of the group where we headed off into the forest where we went to a lake. We then did some treking through the forest which was very hot and sweaty but good fun. The views were amazing but unfortunately my camera battery died the 1st day so dont have many pictures but will put what i have up on fb at some stage.

Overall have had a really good month. This is my last week in Hanoi. Heading to Hue Tuesday night 2nd April so will hopefully do a bit of blogging after that. A night train from Hanoi to Hue should be interesting anywyay. Hope everyone is well at home. Miss ye all :)

Tags: an lac, halong bay, on the road, trekking

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About ashbyrne

Follow Me

Where I've been

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Vietnam

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.