What an amazing trip we had to Vietnam! From the moment we boarded the bus from the office, it was non stop till we got home 2 weeks later.
Our first flight to Qatar was kept busy with all the films that were available and with all the free drinks!
Our next flight was from Qatar to Hanoi with a refuel at Bangkok. The stopover in Bangkok is where we played our 1st game of UNO which became the most played game while we were away with the object of the game not to let Dom win! I have never known a game of where you have to cheat so much.
Once we arrived at the airport at Bangkok we were met by our tour guide Nam and our coach driver Ha who were going to be with us for the next 2 weeks. We were taken to our hotel, The Dolce Vita where we checked in, had a quick shower and then we were off on our first tour of Hanoi.
The traffic in Hanoi (which is mostly mopeds) was quite scary at first and we were all told to stick together like " sticky rice" while we were crossing the road. Our first visit was to watch a water puppet show which some of us found really hard to stay awake for after such a long flight.
After the puppet show we went for our first meal which was delicious. Some of us had never used chop sticks before so it was hard getting used to them but it was either them or your fingers.
The next day was taken up with visiting local tourist places and having a go on the local rickshaws as well as learning how to make spring rolls.
The next day we started our journey of 4 hours to the home stay where we would be staying while we were doing the building of the wash room block for the kindergarten. Once we had settled in and found our mattress on the floor with a mosquito net over it, we had lunch and then it was off for a bike ride.
After a rather uncomfortable night on our hard mattresses with all the bugs to contend with, we were taken to the village where we were to start the building work. The next 4 days were really hard work moving piles of bricks and sand from one place to another and digging a rather big hole! The evenings were taken up with more games of UNO and having a few drinks. We were also treated to a quiz which David did for us with the winners being let off from doing boot cleaning duty the next day.
On the final day at the home stay it was time to hand over the building to the villagers where they laid on a snack for us with some dancing from the locals. The finding of a pool at a local hotel to use was most welcome relief from the heat of the Vietnamese sun on our final day at the home stay and everyone really enjoyed this even Nam and Ha after they were thrown in.
After the home stay we had another 4 hour journey to Ninh Binh where we do more sight seeing of local temples and a boat ride where the ladies rowed the boats with their feet.
After Ninh Binh we had another 4 hour journey (and more games of UNO) to Halong Bay where we were to stay on a junk boat for the night and do a bit of squid fishing. The junk boat was not what we expected, it was a bit of luxury after sleeping on the mattresses on the floor at the home stay. While in Halong Bay we managed to do some kayaking,swimming and visited a local cave.
After all this it was back to Hanoi for our final night at The Dolce Vita before our said our sad farewell to Nam and Ha.
I can honestly say this is one of the best experiences of my life which completely took me out of my comfort zone and would like to thank Access Point for letting me be part of it. I could not have wished to go with a better bunch of people.
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