A running theme on this stint in Vietnam would become Hanoi! Both because of the Chinese visa that we had to ensure we had sorted with the Chinese embassy and because Hanoi seemed to be a hub in which we needed to pass through for most of our other destinations!
The Chinese embassy was annoyingly only open until 11am and Monday - Friday, so working around this when travelling wasn't too easy! We arrived on Sunday morning with a bit of a nightmare trip! Our bus from Sapa that should have arrived at 4am and allowed us to stay on until 6am dropped us at 2am and we had no accommodation booked! We jumped in an expensive taxi and headed to the street we'd stayed on before. Luckily a hotel not far from one we knew had the security guard asleep in reception so we were able to wake him and pay for an unexpected night!
We'd been busy for quite a few days so we just wanted a few days to relax. We moved to our booked hotel Sunday lunchtime and spent the afternoon on 'bar street'. Quite a touristy area but one with bars and restaurants lining one of the back streets and that sell draught beer for about 12p a glass! We basically moved from one bar to the next over the afternoon and got chatting to an expat in the third one where we spent the night. Quite a nice afternoon just watching the world go by....
Monday morning was spent scooting around town on a local taxi bike to the Chinese embassy, Chinese bank and a currency exchange to sort out the visas. After an hour or so it was agreed and collected! We extended our hotel for a late check out and spent the afternoon lounging around before our night bus and a long trip to Hoi An.
The journey would take (hopefully) until about midday the following day but once in Hoi An we would be spending 4 days there over my 30th birthday and only a short journey onward to the National park and caves afterwards..!