I'm in Hanoi! Which is exciting but it unfortunately means I'll soon be leaving Vietnam, which I'm gutted about.
Since leaving Hue I've been to Ninh Binh, which had some nice scenery surrounding the town, but nothing to do there, it took me an hour to find a place to eat, which was a bit of a nightmare, so I hopped on the train to Hanoi. Hanoi is gorgeous, I really love it here, everyone says it's really manic but I really don't think it is, compared to Saigon it's nothing.
I've just got back from a tour of Halong Bay. Halong Bay is like nothing else, I got to swim there at sunset and explore caves by kayak at sunrise, not to mention the billions of pictures I took, it was stunning, and I found my dream house in one of the floating villages, it had a hammock strung up outside and a jetski tied up to it, and I swear I saw a dolphin leaping out of the water really nearby- it was perfect
The only downside was the disorganisation of the people running the tour- we had 3 or 4 different guides in 2 days, the people on the boat wanted to charge 10USD per bottle of alcohol brought on board, which is excessive since a bottle of whiskey here costs 2USD maximum. Also, they didn't have enough rooms on the boat, so they put me in a room, with a double bed and this russian guy who spoke next to no english... when I asked for a twin they'd run out but they had couples on the boat in twin rooms, so we tried to swap with them,. but were told by the guide that it wasn't allowed, so I slept on deck, which was one of the most amazing things I've done this trip, it was cloudy so you couldn't see the stars but it was so peaceful and so beautiful, and there was the most amazing lightning (but, wierdly, no thunder), it was awesome
I'm planning to spend maybe the next week in Hanoi sightseeing and shopping before heading up to Sapa (if I have time), and then braving the 22hr bus journey to Laos. My whole time in SE Asia I've heard horror stories about this particular bus journey, so I'm really not looking forward to it... hopefully it'll go OK for me, I've got my fingers and toes crossed in the meantime though!