After ending our cruise back at the Ha Long City port, we continued our trip back to Hanoi on a minivan ride similar to the one that took us from Hanoi before the cruise. The guests from our boat were split to separate minivans given our destinations in Hanoi. So we said goodbye to the other guests whom we came to know during the trip.
The drive back to Hanoi took about almost four hours. That included a stop in the middle at a souvenir shop / rest area. Since all of the minivans carrying the guests back to Hanoi left around the same time, we ended up seeing each other again at the rest stop.
During this trip back, I made an interesting observation on the economic development in the area between Hanoi and Ha Long City. When we left Ha Long City, we passed a toll gate that seemed to be part of a way to fund the development of the highway between the two cities. The road between the two cities was still a non-divided highway for most of it, but I could see the need to either to widen the road or make it a divided road.
It looked like there were increase in traffic to accomodate the growth in both tourism and manufacturing industry in the area. As we got closer to Hanoi, we could see a visible sign of economic growth in Vietnam as there were manufacturing facilities of multi-national companies like Canon that lined up on the side of the highway. There were also new residential and commercial construction coming up. I wonder if it would look very different if I come back again to the same place in a few years.
The photo below was taken somewhere in the middle of the trip. You can see new buildings being built in an empty lot. I thought it’s interesting that the buildings were built in the style of buildings in big city like Hanoi (on a narrow lot but deep and tall). It’s as if they’re anticipating it to be a high density development.