Friday, November 11, 2016

Free half day tour in return for English sessions in Hanoi!

A week before actually travelling to Hanoi I spent my days, nights, hours and seconds Googling about everythhingggg. It was like a crash course of Hanoi. Where to stay? Where to eat? What to do?! Rush, rush, rush, type, type, type. 

It was the fastest itinerary I've ever done!


Even though I had saved enough, I was still very thrifty at that time after having to travel to Shanghai, to KL and then to Hanoi. I was stubborn so I tried to push the envelope of travelling for my birthday as well while keeping it minimum. Always travel within your means guys or you'll have to swallow your own saliva.

While I was busy looking out for the best deals possible online - I read tons of blogs, I even found my dear Tho and was immediately attracted to how she wrote and spoke about food! Please follow her at tholovesfood.wordpress.com :) While getting lost in all of the blogs, which I diligently read line by line, I saw people talking about HanoiKids.org which offered free half day or full day tours around Hanoi.

FREE TOURS?!

What's the catch?!


After a much comprehensive research, I learned that HanoiKids.org is a non profit organisation that groups and gathers students/ adults all over Vietnam who are currently based in Hanoi. They will host FREE half day or full day tours in return for sessions to better themselves in English. Also, you HAVE to pay for the entrances' fees if required or if there are mealtimes in between - which was an absolute NO BIGGIE for me. I was like WHAAA- how awesome is this organisation.

It fit my bill of 1) me wanting to visit only specific places in half a day, 2) learn the history from a local, 3) save money from booking tours and 4) all these while doing good. I am very passionate about helping young adults better themselves, so this was a no brainer. 

In order for you to get your free tours sorted out, you need to inform them in advance, and they're only able to cater to your request if they're available as well. So yes, it depends on their availability. Often not they get booked way in advance well, because of their service so book ahead as well!!

I had to choose a certain day because I had limited time in Hanoi, which they mentioned was fully booked :(((((( They included me in their waiting list and a day before the actual day they told me that it's available!!!!!!

I was so happy! 

I decided to choose the afternoon session because I wanted to sleep in............ 10am is great, but I wanted to sleep in till 9am, and take about an hour to just chill. So jyeah. PLUS! Hanoi is SO lovely in the afternoon. Nothing describes the term "hustle and bustle" like Hanoi does! :)



So my session was with the most INTELLIGENT, SWEETEST, KINDEST, PATIENT Ms Har!!



I told her I only wanted to visit two places and I'd be done and happy.

1) The Ladies Museum

The Ladies Museum mostly covered stories of the lives' of the women in Vietnam, from their struggles and contribution in the world war, to their involvement in the economy, and socio development of the country.


At the highest floor of the ladies museum there was a gallery by a local artist which really tickled me. There were no proper explanations of each of the painting (I reckon that's what they do - it's subjective and they leave it to your imagination) but there was one main Protagonist, the guy in these pictures and the last one really caught me.

"The Uncertainty of Being" 

I wanted to laugh so hard because that's exactly how I look like most mornings T____T. Despite the humour, I actually understood what the painting meant. Plus, it was so beautifully done I couldn't stop staring at it. Har kept asking whether we were ready to leave, I just couldn't bring myself to separate with Mr Uncertainty of Being. Like I feel him.


2) The Historical Museum

She obliged to my interests and requests she even asked me whether I wanted to do any of the off the beaten places and I told her ART GALLERIES! We walked around most of the time, and I had the privilege to walk to some of Hanoi's secret passageways with interesting art galleries along the way.

The art galleries were so interesting... there were no one. Haha lol. But I enjoyed the time looking at the crafts and paintings, I truly felt like home :) I love getting lost in galleries.

Har shared with me a lot of things during the fight for independence lead by Ho Chi Minh. TO ME, he sounded like a true hero. And it is true, some people are more special isn't it.



Ho Chi Minh's story of leaving the country at the age of 21 to learn ways to free the country from brutal colonisation was eye opening. He learned the tricks and trades of surviving by living in ships as a chef, and so on. He had travelled all the world, all over the seas and had learned various languages.

At the age of 51, he came back to Hanoi armed with knowledge, spirit and motivation to lead the new age Vietnamese to freedom. Fallen in and out of marriage, and essentially living on his own, his dedication to his country is SO inspiring. He was truly special.

I could go on, but I am less of a storyteller than Har. She was delightful and so entertaining I feel I could listen to her all day.

We spent almost 4 hours in only two places, walking around Hanoi and talking about Vietnam and our personal lives. I love the fact that Har was the one appointed to bring me around, it was such a lovely experience!

Thank you HanoiKids.Org 

I couldn't think of a better way to explore Hanoi and in return of English lessons :) To be honest, Har was perfect in English, she could even articulate things better than I do. I guess HanoiKids really did achieved their objective all these years with all the practice that they had. Good job guys! 

If you're interested to explore Hanoi the way I do, please check them out and leave kind notes about them in Tripadvisor once you do! 

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

1 comment:

tholovesfood said...

Next time you definitely should visit Ethnology Museum! It has tons of interesting stuff from 53 minorities in Vietnam (appx 15% of total population).