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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hanoi Itinerary

This itinerary is for all my readers and friends who have showed interest and would like to visit Hanoi. This was the given itinerary by Jewel Tours, the agent we engaged during our recent trip to Hanoi. When time permits, I will blog about our trip in detail later on :) Our convoy had 7 adults & 3 children under 12 years old. We had a good experience with the tour as the tour guide put into consideration that we had children in our group. He tried to accommodate and move some of the visits around to suit the timing of the children, which I thought was a thoughtful act. Overall, we had fun!

The North of Vietnam Tour
8 Days - 7 Nights

Suggested Itinerary:
15 Nov 2014
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
All guests are warmly welcomed upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport by our local guide then transfer to check in the hotel. Free at your own leisure until dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.

16 Nov 2014
Day 2: Hanoi city tour – Lao Cai (B/L)
After breakfast at Hotel, you will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed on Monday, Friday and during the entire months of September & October) and his former residence with Humble House on Stilts (closed on Monday and Friday) and the Temple of Literature, known as the first university of Vietnam and built more than 1,000 years ago. Lunch is served at local restaurant.  

The tour continues with a cyclo tour through Hanoi’s bustling Old Quarter, a place where Hanoians buy everything from noodles to light fixtures to Buddha statues. The quarter’s 36 streets were named for the products that were sold from their shops. Today, vendors on Tin and Bamboo Streets still sell the same wares. After exploring the old quarter’s shady alleyways, sip a strong Vietnamese coffee in a cafĂ© overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake — an important symbol in Vietnamese folklore. Snap a photograph of the downtown skyline before returning to your hotel at around 4.30 PM.

Around 8.00 PM you will be transferred to Hanoi Railway Station. Overnight train trip to Lao Cai in superior 4-berth compartments sharing with other passengers. Train departs at approximately 21:50 hrs.

Notes: Train schedule is subject to change. Private compartments on request at surcharge. Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless private cabin is requested and all berths paid for - with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages complete the local experience.

17 Nov 2014
Day 3: Lao Cai – Sapa – Lao Chai – Tavan (B/L)
Early morning (approximately 06:30 hrs) arrival at Lao Cai, the border town to Yunnan, China. The journey starts with a 38 km drive on winding roads up the mountains to Sapa, located approx. 1,500 m above sea level. On clear days you can see the highest mountain of Vietnam, the Fansipan. After breakfast at the hotel, drive from Sapa town down to Lao Chai village. Views of the Muong Hoa Valley and magnificent surroundings of mountains and rice terrace fields can be seen from this road. Along the road, people from many ethnic minority groups (H’mong, Zay, and Red Dao) are likely to be met, and there are stalls along the way that serve tea, fruits and sweets.  Soon after turning off the main road and taking a local path, we will arrive in the Black H’mong village of Lao Chai, where you will experience the daily life of the villagers. Continue walking from Lao Chai to Ta Van village, where the Zay hill tribes live. Here you take a rest and enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by your local guide in a local house.  After lunch, continue walking to the meeting point for your transfer back to Sapa town.  The rest of the day is at leisure. Discover Sapa town on your own, its bustling market, the colourful dresses of the ethnic people, tea and coffee shops as well as the local life in this mountain town. Accommodation at hotel in Sapa.

18 Nov 2014
Day 4: Sapa – local market – Lao cai  (B/L)
After breakfast at hotel this morning group will check out and continues to visit Coc Ly local market on Tuesday to visit many minority groups like Flower H’mong, Black Zao, Zay…come to trade for their weekly plan. After lunch, you drive downhill for about half an hour. You will then start a short walk to Trung Do village, which belongs to the Tay minority. Here you can stop by a traditional Tay house for a cup of tea before you get on a boat. You will have a cruise downstream the Chay River to experience the picturesque scenes and the magnificent sight of a beautiful cave. The boat ride ends at Bao Nhai bridge, where you get on the car for the journey back to Lao Cai. After dinner, you will board the overnight train to Hanoi at around 20:15 hrs (shared sleeping compartments, sharing with other passengers in 2 lower & 2 upper berths per compartment). 

Notes: Train schedule is subject to change. Private compartments on request at surcharge. Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless private cabin is requested and all berths paid for - with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages complete the local experience.

19 Nov 2014
Day 5: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
Arrive in Hanoi early this morning, pick up from the train station and transfer to the a mini hotel for breakfast, shower and freshen up. At 8:00 AM, you take a transfer to to Halong Bay – the number one’s destination in Vietnam. Arriving just before lunch, you’ll embark on a traditional Vietnamese junk. Take lunch on board and enjoy the afternoon and overnight cruise as it provides you with fantastic views of the fabulous scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands which amazingly rise from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves, some of which you’ll visit.  Overnight on board in Halong Bay.

20 Nov 2014
Day 6: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B/L)
The tour continues with a morning spent cruising on to the Man’s Head, Tortoise islands and then Luon Cave by small bamboo boat.  After an brunch check out and continue to travel though Bai Tu Long to the harbor for disembark, meet the driver and guide to transfer you back to Hanoi. You are arriving just in time to enjoy the traditional water puppet show. The Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry has roots that date back to the 10th century when it originated in the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. The farmers in the region celebrated festivals and harvests by performing this unique art form. Learning to manipulate the puppets is usually a tradition that is passed on as a family secret. It takes a great deal of skill and because the puppeteer’s hands are underwater, it is easy for them to hide their methods. The fascinating part is that the central stage is below the water line, and the puppeteers stand in the waist-deep water. A rattan curtain hides them, but they can see the stage and the audience through the bamboo slats. Overnight in Hanoi.

21 Nov 2014
Day 7: Hanoi free day (B)
Today you have free day for shopping or discover the city of Hanoi by your own. Overnight in Hanoi.

22 Nov 2014
Day 8: Hanoi – Departure (B)
After breakfast at hotel, depends on you flight time the departure transfer will be arranged.

*** End of services ***


Hotels – 3 star
Authentic Hanoi (Superior)
Sapa Paradise view
Halong Junk
Marguerite Garden

Included in the tour price: 
• Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver
• Accommodation:
double or twin sharing room at mentioned hotel or similar
• Return train ticket: Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hanoi
(Soft sleeper cabin of 04 persons) 
• Meal as mentioned in the program: B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner
• Entrance fee to indicated sights
Boat trip as mentioned in itinerary
Overnight cruise in Halong Bay
• English
speaking guide throughout the trip

Other meals, tips, drinks, international airport taxes, single room supplements, peak season surcharges, personal expenses, travel insurance, visas, flights in and out Vietnam, any optional additional tours or activities during free time.

Our tour was arranged by Jewel Tours.

** As a token of appreciation, Jewel Tours would like to offer a 5% discount which, also extends to your family or friends for any new bookings made before 30th June 2015 and travel to either Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia or Myanmar with Jewel Tours within 2015. ** I guess just mention Josie Recommend. :D

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Halloween Costumes 2014

This is the first time we are making a costume for Lucas & taking him trick-or-treating (candy collecting) at Straits Quay. 2 years back, he was dressed as a tiger.

So this year, we decided to make him a costume. *in a very last min manner*
We wanted it to be simple so we chose his favourite bus character... Tayo. Daddy sprayed painted a cardboard box. For the headlights, eyes and mouth, we printed it on sticker paper, cut it out and then just adhere it on the cardboard box. Black sugar paper is used as windows and finally, used circle cutter to cut on black and white card stock to make the wheels. Punch some holes and tied a ribbon so we can hang them over Lucas.

But, as expected, during the event, Lucas was cranky even though he manage to get some sleep abit before the event. He just wouldn't want to wear it. Also the crowd was massive.  So much larger than we expected. We saw a lot of superheros & princess elsa :) Seeing the crowd grab sweets like "piranhas" at each stop actually scared me. I think Lucas was shocked too. As the crowd moved on to higher floors, suddenly Lucas asked to wear his costumes. 

We quickly grabbed the camera and took some pics with him and his costume. He started smiling again. Fuh!

The next day, we brought the costume over to my cousin's place and he wore it again for a bit... :) and finally, aunt Sha gets to take pic with him.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Picture Book - We're going on a bear hunt

Yesterday, Lucas and I had so much fun during our bear hunt. We walked through tall grass, we walked through a river, snow storm, mud & even through a thick forest... and then we ran away from the big big bear! It was so much fun playing with imagination... Yes, we literally ran around the room, tip toe into the cave (our wardrobe) while the YouTube video was playing... It was a picture book from a classic children's picture book by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury. Check it out from the link below...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Visit to the Saanen Dairy Goat Farm

This weekend, the Yeaps, the Kams & the Lims, planned a family outing to the Saanen Dairy Goat Farm, Penang. The farm is open everyday from 10am-5pm. Admission is FREE.
The Farm provided us with grass to feed the goats, so, No, we don't have to bring our own grass. *in case you are wondering*

Lucas was really excited to visit the farm, in the morning, he waved his grandpa good bye and we made our journey to Balik Pulau. On the way there, hubby's remarks was, I used to see goats running around our kampung, now lucas have to go to a farm to see goats...! Hahaha. Quite true actually :P Soon, kids will only learn about animals from Farms or Zoos.

We arrived around 10.15am, the weather was a bit cloudy but it was a good day.

"This way to the goats!" 

They have a place where the grasses are, with the sign that says, Please take one. 

Well, first impression of the farm is, it isn't as BIG as I have imagined... Maybe, my idea of farm was more of a free range kinda farm, like those in Australia! :D but although it has a strong goat poo stench, it is in my opinion still a very clean place to bring the kids to.

Making our way up the stable.(is that what you call it?)

Second impression of the farm, adult goats are really greedy! They grab your grass at any chance they have, and they are pretty strong too. It is advisable to have adults to help the kids during feeding session as the goats tend to pull quite hard and kids might fall or get hurt.

The goat kids are more popular among the children because they are gentler and less aggressive.

Why Hello there!

Daddy and Lucas giving their share of grass to the goat kids... :)

Mummies, Shu-Yin & Cindy

Shern showing me his grass.

After visiting the large stable we head out, where there's a smaller stable.

Abby finally braving herself to feed the goats.
Lucas attempting to feed the goats.

Kids love the rabbits! 

After having fun feeding the goats, there's a place where goat milk products are sold. 

Daddy Kam bought us some Pau. They are served hot & quite tasty!

Lastly, a group photo!

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm
298 MK 1 , Sungai Pinang , 11010 Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang, Balik Pulau
Tel : 0195163017
Opening Hours : 10am - 5pm daily
Admission : FREE