Our Saturday started very early while our Friday the night before ended very late.. Now the 3 hours ride from Hanoi to Halong Bay actually came in quite handy..
And ta-dah, next time I opened my eyes (ok, with a little break for food on the way) we had arrived. There are lots of tour operators starting from the harbour that is located an around 30min boat ride away from Halong Bay. We boarded one of the lovely boats below; they are actually quite comfy from the inside. I was surprised to see proper ‘dinner’ style tables in there plus clean bathrooms and a sun deck! So all in all, this was actually a ‘romantic’ fisher boat..
After lunch on the boat we arrived at the first of the thousands of limestone karsts and isles that make up Halong Bay.
It was too bad that the sun was quite a no-show that day. Halong Bay looked stunning anyway though and maybe there were fewer tourists because it wasn’t that sunny – a good thing!
After a little bit of a journey through the isles we arrived at a floating fisher village in Halong Bay.
It seemed that our tour guide found the last ‘parking’ spot available which was behind another boat. Hence, in order to leave ours, we had to climb into the next boat and walk through their ‘dinner’ table area to get to the jetty.
Next on the list was hopping in a little boat and being shown around some of the little islands by a lovely Vietnamese lady.
After having seen the pretty little islands of Halong Bay for around 4 hours, we headed to one of the beautiful caves in Halong Bay. Read more about them in the Part 2 of Halong Bay!
Though I really love Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk from street shops that serve their coffee in little plastic cups (seriously super amazing yummy coffee!!), I also love sitting in somewhat unique and cosy coffee shops. Especially when it is a bit chilly and rainy outside and I have a book on my Kindle that is just waiting to be read. So while strolling through Hanoi during the last days, I found three amazing cafes that are just perfect for reading or working on your laptop. They serve good coffee and cappucchino and have a great ambience and interior!
Manzi Café is the perfect coffee shop for art lovers as it actually has its own little art gallery inside the coffee shop. It is a spacious café located at 14 Phan Huy Ich with a stylish interior. They serve cakes, fresh fruit juices, smoothies, cocktails and lots of coffee mixes. I had a cheesecake, a Vietnamese Coffee and a carrot juice – all super yummy. Wi-Fi works great and the staff is super friendly and attentive. The café has two floors and a little outside area in front of the entrance. Manzi café is located in a relatively quiet street in Hanoi, so even sitting outside gives you a quiet and relaxed experience. On the second floor of the café there is a little art gallery where local artists show their creations. Totally love this place and its artsy style!
The Tang Tret Cosmo café is located at 10 Khuc Hao, Hanoi and has two floors and a little outside area. This place has kind of a hipster kitchen / living room interior (like you are visiting a good friend at home) and serves amazing egg nog coffee, cocktails, desserts, sandwiches, soups and lots more of other coffee mixes. I came here to work on my laptop and found a super relaxed and quiet (!) atmosphere with swing music playing in the background. The Wi-Fi is fast and there are sockets all around so your laptop never runs out of battery. At some point one of the waiters just picked up the guitar and played some nice background guitar tunes. Great ambience.
Tranquil Café is located at 5 Nguyen Quang Bich Street in one of the more busy and loud parts of the Old Quarter. In fact, once you leave this quiet little oasis café you are immediately thrown back into the crazy and loud traffic of Hanoi. That said, if you want to get away from the noise, just enter Tranquil café for an instant chill out effect. The café is smaller than the other two places but cosier. Whilst Manzi Cafe and Tang Tret Cosmo Café are a bit hipster and perfect to hang out with friends, Tranquil café is perfect if you feel like something cosy and quiet. The café serves great cappuchino and, like the other places, has a fast Wi-Fi. It’s like a little hideaway in the middle of Hanoi’s craziness. I loved this place so much, I wrote a single blog post about it :)
I really like Hanoi, though it is quite chilly, 15C – 20C degrees, and I have to wear a jumper after 5 weeks of bikinis, dresses and flip flops. The day I went to Tranquil Café it was actually raining non-stop. But then, sitting in a café with a yummy cappuccino and your Kindle is even more fun if the weather is cold and wet.
Tranquil Café is hidden in a little corner of a relatively busy street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The minute you arrive at the entrance you feel super relaxed as suddenly all the previous traffic noise around you has disappeared. The cafe is not that big; there is a little outside area in the backyard of the place and a small two-floor inside area. Overall the cafe probably has the same size as an average Starbucks cafe. But it is of course way more cosy than a Starbucks :) When I was there they played piano music which is just perfect for getting comfy on one of their couches and reading a good book.
The staff is super friendly and the prices are fine for a place like this (c. 50,000 VND or 2 USD for a cappucchino).
So if you are in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and are searching for a coffee place that serves well made cappucchino and has fast wifi – this is your place :)