We departed Bangkok on the evening of the 23rd November and took a 1 1/2 hour flight to Hanoi. We were well chuffed as we had a really quiet flight over and each of us got a row to ourselves. We were pretty grateful to be able to lie out and sleep on the way. We didn't arrive in Hanoi until until 11 o'clock that evening and we were a bit worried as we hadn't been able to get in contact with Jill's friend Chris who was meant to be putting us up. We tried to call him one last time when we arrived at Hanoi airport and luckily we were able to get through to him so he just gave us his address and we made our way over in a cab.
We got a warm welcome from Chris and his two housemates Georgia and Alex who seemed pretty happy to have some company. As soon as we arrived we dumped our bags and went straight out for a few drinks. We went to this really cool bar called Red Cave which was hidden away down this side street. The place was quite quirky and full of foreigners but as the bar didn't have a late license we found ourselves sitting in darkness as the police patrolled the streets outside. In the space of an hour or so the police drove by about 3 times and as there was someone on lookout, this gave the barmaid enough time to cut the lights and music so the police would pass by unsuspecting. We all found it hysterical and completely mental!!!Unfortunately, it turned out the police weren't so unsuspecting as we'd thought because they ended up towing away Chris's bike which had been parked up outside. I don't think he was too impressed but he got it back the next day for a charge of 100,000 dong (the equivalent of about 3 quid).
As Chris and his housemates had to go to work we spent most of the next day chilling at a roof top cafe in town. The cafe was situated overlooking a massive roundabout so we got a great view of the crazy traffic as we sat and drank our drinks. We thought the driving in Bangkok was mental but Hanoi is in a completely different league. Everyone rides bikes to get around and the only cars you will see are taxis. Road markings and traffic lights have absolutley no significance to these people. The roads are pure mayhem with people driving in every direction imaginable and it was mental to just sit and watch. That evening we went to a couple of different bars in town, one of which was simply plastic child size chairs placed in the streets and everyone just sat here drinking beer for 2000 dond a glass (that's 7p!!!). We then went on to a club called Solis which was situated out on a raft out on the river. It was baking hot and rammed full of people but they played some good music and we had a great laugh.
The next day was pretty much a chilled one for everyone as we were all knackered from the previous night and Chris and Georgia had a long day at work the next day. As Chris and Georgia weren't going to be around the next day, myself, Alicia and Jill decided to book a day trip to Halong Bay. This was a gorgeous boat trip that took us along the China Sea stopping off at beautiful bays and caves. The scenery was so stunning I just couldn't put my camera down all day!!
After the long journey back to Hanoi we got washed up and dressed as quickly as we could and made our way out for our final night in Hanoi. We met Chris and his housemates at a restaurant where they were celebrating a friends birthday before we headed on for more celebratory birthday drinks at a bar called Amazon. The rest of the evening was spent simply drinking and having a laugh with everyone which made it a pretty good way of ending our 4 days in Hanoi. We headed back at a reasonable time as we knew we had to be up early the next day for our flight back to Bangkok.