Vietnam(Hanoi and Halong Bay) with a toddler 子連れでベトナム(ハノイとハロン湾)

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I’ve always wanted to go to Halong Bay, but it’s a difficult choice since it’s a long bus/boat trip from Hanoi.  With two toddlers, we had our reservations. In fact, Marc, who is half Vietnamese, refused to go to Vietnam anymore while the children are young, since we had such a chaotic time on our last trip.

But when my sister casually pitched doing a sister’s trip to Vietnam, Halong Bay immediately came to mind. With an extra pair of hands, maybe, just maybe, I could pull this off.

I did ask Marc if he had any interest in coming along, but the answer was a resounding no.  He also suggested leaving Nina at home since he did not want to keep disrupting her school schedule and routine (we had just gone to Phuket a few weeks before).  He could put her to bed and help her in the morning.  She goes to daycare full time, plus we have an awesome helper that can look after Nina if need be.  Nina didn’t enjoy Vietnam last time either, so it was quickly agreed that Mila, who hasn’t started daycare yet, would come with me to Vietnam and we would go during the week, so the family could be back together for the weekend.

My sister was planning on a budget trip, but with Mila, I needed some level of comfort, so we decided on a budget of USD50-100 for our stay in Hanoi. We figured that should get us a decent accommodation since when we went to Ho Chi Minh, Marc’s grandmother was staying at a place for only USD30 a night (she negotiated the deal) and it was actually pretty nice. With no negotiator this time, we figured a 50-100 would be a decent enough budget. We planned to arrange an overnight trip to Halong Bay, staying in a hotel to for safety concerns.

We looked exclusively at hotels in Hanoi that had “Family Room” offerings, as I’ve usually found hotels that offer family rooms to be more helpful with a toddler.  We booked Tu Linh Legend Hotel since this one seemed to have a nice family room, was very responsive on email and was offering lower rates for advanced booking directly through the hotel. Even when we had to push the trip back 2 weeks because of my sister’s jellyfish accident, they were accommodating and re-booked us right away.

The schedule was pretty much a roller coaster ride

Mar.18 – Leave Singapore in the AM, arrive at Hanoi around lunch time
Mar.19 – Leave Hanoi in the AM, See Halong bay (Night at a hotel)
Mar.20 – More tour of Halong Bay and head back to Hanoi expecting to arrive around 4PM
Mar.21 – Leave Hanoi in the AM and arrive back in Singapore around 2PM

On the way there, we flew just me and Mila and she was perfect.  8AM, got on the plane, slept for the first 2 hours and ate the last hour.  We got off the flight and my sister was there, along with the hotel pickup. It was truly one of those moments when the stars aligned.  Hanoi was very hazy, but unlike the Singapore haze, it didn’t have that terrible burning smell, so it didn’t feel half as bad.

Tu Linh Legend Hotel is located in the tourist area of town and it’s pretty convenient to hang out around Hanoi. The hotel lobby is simple and clean, has comfortable couches, computers, a friendly doorman and lobby staff. Every single staff member was friendly, spoke English decently well and loved children.  They had tea, coffee, bananas and milk in the lobby and they were very good about refilling that tasty plate of bananas that Mila downed.

The family room was quite spacious, though from the photos on their website, I thought the room had two king beds; it turned out to be one king bed and a folding bed.  The folding bed was quite small and uncomfortable and I took the couch since my sister has a bad back and needed the bed.  She’s fairly picky about her bed, but was pretty comfortable, even with Mila rolling around next to her, so it was a nice space for a family.  I actually have this weird obsession with sleeping on the couch, so I was actually quite comfortable. I’m sure they had a baby cot if we had asked, but I knew Mila was going to end up on the bed anyway, so I didn’t bother.  As long as there’s enough room, we are good!
**When we came back from Halong bay and stayed another night, instead of the folding bed, they had a small mattress and my sister was happy to sleep on that. So I guess you can probably request it if you don’t want the folding bed**

There’s also a water boiler (meant for tea) for those of us who may want to take extra caution with washing water-bottles for the babes. I don’t usually sterilize water bottles for a toddler, but considering the bad water in Vietnam, the hot humid climate and other risk factors, while I travel, I sterilize the pacifier and straws and small pieces of the water bottle that accumulate bacteria quickly.  My kids have never been sick on a trip fortunately, and that’s one of the safety precautions I take.  It may be irrelevant, but better safe than sorry.

The room was also very clean including the bathroom so we were happy with the accommodation.  All of this for USD45 a night, pretty good!

Here’s the website for Tu Linh Legend Hotel and the tripadvisor reviews. When we went, there were not mane reviews, but it looks like it’s getting great reviews now!
http://tulinhpalacehotels.com/tu-linh-legend-hotel
http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Hotel_Review-g293924-d5063732-Reviews-Tu_Linh_Legend_Hotel-Hanoi.html

シンガポールに引っ越した時から、(いや、もっと前か)ハロン湾に行きたかったんだけど、ハノイからバス4時間プラス船、子供連れては無理だと諦めてました。

実際ハーフベトナム人のマークでさえ、二回子連れでベトナムに行ってから、もうごちゃごちゃしてるし、子供が大きくなるまで行きたくない、と諦めてたので、無理かな~と思っていたところ、妹が姉妹旅行に行かない?と誘ってくれて、大人の手もう1セットあれば行けるか~、とまたしても無謀な事を…

一応マークには一緒に行く?どうする?と誘ったところ、即時に、行かん、平日行って来て、週末帰ってくれば?とのお返事。しかも新菜無理に連れてかなくても、どうせデイケアに行ってる方があの子は楽しいだろうし、自分が夜帰って来て寝かせたりするから置いてけば?とのお言葉。いいのか~!?実良一人で大人二人ならどうにかハロン湾まで着けるかも?と思ったのでブッキングしちゃいました。

妹は今回はセミバジェット旅行との事で、20から30USDの比較的安宿に泊まってましたが、流石に幼児連れて失敗したらきついので、私達がいる間はUSD50から100までで探そう、という事で、色々探しました。うちもホーチミンに行った時はマークのおばあちゃんの泊まっていたところにUSD30で泊まったけど、あそこの良かったので、ま、50から100だせば十分なところに泊まれそうだし、マークほったらかしの旅だし。後は、ファミリールームのあるホテルを探すこと。ファミリールームをわざわざ作ってるところはやはり家族連れに理解があるし、部屋以外の点でも融通がきいたりするのがうれしい。色々見た結果、メールの対応も早くて、大きめのファミリールーム有り、しかもアドバンスブッキングの場合はがっくんと値下げもしてくれる、Tu Ling Legendホテルに決定。こちら、出る3日前に、妹のクラゲ騒ぎで日程が二週間変わった時の対応も良く、ハロン湾ツアーも組んでくれたので、とっても助かりました。

スケジュールはちょっと強行?
3月18日(火)朝シンガポールを出る、昼ごろにハノイ
3月19日(水)朝ハノイ出発、バスでハロン湾移動、船でハロン湾を回る
夜はホテルステイ
3月20日(木)朝ホテルを出て、船でハロン湾をもう一廻りしてハノイへ戻る
3月21日(金)朝ハノイを出てシンガポールへ、2時ごろ到着

行きは実良と私二人だし、どうかな~、と思ってましたが、朝早いフライトの為に起こしたせい(おかげ)で、朝8時に乗ってすぐ爆睡。最初の2時間寝て、最後の1時間は食べてたので問題なし。飛行機を降りたら丁度ホーチミンから着いた妹とホテルの運転手さんが待っていて、こんなに上手くいっていいのか~、と結構テンション上がったりして。ハノイは意外にもヘイズに包まれていたけど、はっきり言って、シンガポールのヘイズ(インドネシアから流れてくるあれね)程くさくもないし、余り気にならず。

Tu Linh Legendホテルは観光地のど真ん中にあって、とっても便利。美味しいものも回りにあって、ハノイをうろつくには申し分ないロケーション。スタッフは全員フレンドリーで子供ラブで英語も問題なく喋れる。豪華ではないけど、メンテのしっかりされた綺麗なロビー。コーヒー、紅茶、バナナとミルクはいつも補充されていて、実良はバクバクいただいてました。

ファミリールームも広いし(写真だと小さく見える)、バスルームまで手入れがちゃんと出来ていて綺麗。ただ、ウェブでみたところ、大きいベッドが二つあるものだと思っていたら、キングベッド一つと折りたたみベッドが一つ。折り畳みの方は使えたもんじゃなかったので、私はソファで寝させていただきました。私はなぜか昔からソファで寝るのが好きんんだよね。つくづく貧乏性なのかなぁ。で、結局キングベッドの方に、背中が悪くてしっかりしたベッドでしか寝れない妹と、ころころ実良が一緒にねるはめに。一回は妹が顔をけっ飛ばされたようですが、まくらで防衛して過ごしたとか…ベビーベッドは聞けば持ってきてくれたんだとは思いますが、どうせ夜起きて泣きそうなのでパス。

子連れでアジア旅行する時に部屋にあるととっても助かるのが水沸かし機。本来コーヒー用に常備してあるんだろうけど、水が信用できない、暖かいところにいる時は一応幼児のを水筒のストローとかを煮沸するのに大活躍。それさえあって部屋が綺麗なら、後はそれほど気にならない。おしゃぶりとか水筒のストローとか細かいところはばい菌がたまりやすいので、煮沸しとくと、気休めかもしれないけど、いい気がする。実際うちの子供達は親がお腹壊しててもぴんぴんしてる。アジア育ちはやっぱ違うのかなぁ。

お部屋はバスルームも含めて丁寧に掃除してあって、綺麗でした。これでUSD45!最近リゾートばっかりだった中で、このお値段でこのサービス、うーん、ベトナム、侮れない。朝ごはんは、まあまあかな。フライドヌードル、フライドライス、野菜一品、卵ステーション、茹でたまご、パン、スープ、おかゆに果物と一通り揃ってます。どれも可もなく不可もなく、なお味。パン、果物ゆで卵は実良のおやつ、お昼用に頂いて行けるので、ありがたいです。実良はおかゆも好きなので、よく食べておりました。

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The dining area for breakfsat

Tu Linh Legeng Hotel

The small bed, the couch and the king bed

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The small couch area to hang out

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