Vietnam- Now we have to de-brief on our 2 week stay in Vietnam, it's pretty safe to say that we had some really shocking lows, but we did have some pretty amazing highs too. So we do have some good memories to take away from this part of our trip. One thing is for sure however though that we will never be going back there ever again and now we have been we don't need to. Though there were a few other places we could have stopped at we don't feel like we missed out on anything & have no regrets for going. Vietnam is a beautiful country & of course everyone has a different experience. We would say stay away from the main cities as this is where all of our bad experiences happened but we know people that have been since & love the cities. It all comes down to the individual. So try not to be too alarmed when you have read this part of the blog we are safe & well, & if anyone reading this ever wants to go to Vietnam don't let it put you off just be extremely careful & don't let your guard down. As per its always the bad stuff you hear about, nobody ever says how they went out and had a fantastic walk, didn't get mugged or ripped off at all . At the time we were extremely angry & will be for a while no doubt but eventually we will be able to focus on the good times we had & what we have learned from it. In the meantime we will not be sorry to leave Vietnam & move onto the next chapter of our trip.
Blog Day 64 Sat 9th July 2011
Around 5am the alarm goes off, we have to get up as today we are off to start a new adventure to Vietnam. Our flight is at 8 & we need to leave by about 5.30, Bmp have arranged for one of their drivers to take us to the airport which is only about 20mins away. Once at the airport & checked in we get allowed to wait in the luxury suite where Trish tucks into the coffee & some little cakes & pastries. Dan is still keeping one eye on the nearest toilet. We have a 2 hour flight to Bangkok where we then change & have to wait around for a couple of hours before we then fly onto Hanoi in Vietnam, this flight is about another 2 hours. Once landed, we pass through Visa control, having sorted this out in advance it's a breeze getting through, and we get our luggage then head out to get a taxi to our hotel. Once out of the airport we are greeted by a friendly taxi driver who looks at our hotel details (we are meant to be staying at a cheap hotel called the Luxury Hotel), gives us a price which seems fair & off we go. All seems to be going well as we drive along we see hundreds of Karaoke bars (turns out they love that out here) & there are more bikes on the road than cars. About 45mins later we pull up to a hotel, a guy comes out holding a piece of paper with our hotel details on & is very sorry but this hotel is fully booked, they have placed us in their sister hotel (we find out later is called Huong Duong), we see that the documents he is holding are for our original Hotel, we are tired & hot & therefore vulnerable (our own fault but we have just arrived in a different country & you tend to rely on their guidance though we are cautious at this moment). We go with it as there doesn't seem any reasoning with this particular guy or the taxi driver so we reach the 'sister' hotel & are ushered in offered a drink & the guy starts talking to us about our plans for here & booking a tours. We are told to take a seat in the hotel restaurant, which is a set of metal garden furniture wedged between a fridge freezer and the toilet. This guy then gives us the whole spiel about the weather getting worse in Halong Bay & there being not much room left on the coach & boat etc. etc. We have researched some deals on the internet & the price they are offering is very reasonable without being too cheap, he has leaflets on the places you stay in & all looks good. Before we confirm we ask to see our room, the only one downside was the street noise! Our room is overlooking a crossroad and it seems as though they have developed a different language using just their horns, and it NEVER STOPS! We agree to book onto the tour and head over the road to the cash point. It's quite surreal withdrawing 40 million Dong. After parting with a few million we go out to find somewhere for dinner. The streets are alive & the paths are full of food stalls, so you have to walk in the road & slowly so that the motorcycles have time to figure out their path around you (we read about this in the Lonely Planet guide), if you were brazen enough you could probably walk across the road slowly blindfolded & chances are you wouldn't get hit (we don't try this). We avoid the street stalls for food as were not sure of the things you should try & our stomachs are still a little delicate, stalls with liver's, pig trotters , meat & whole fish just sitting out in the open (not exactly health conscious in Thailand or here). The streets smell disgusting especially as it is so humid here as well. We end up in a pizza place Fat Guy Pizza, freshly made in a kitchen where you can see them cooking your food from scratch a little peace of mind sometimes goes a long way.