We got dropped off the bus in the morning about 7.30am, god knows where, so that they could try sell us accommodation from the bus. Luckily there was taxi rank there and it was only 5 minutes to our accommodation. When we got to our accommodation they said that our room was available and we could check in straight away, which was great news after that journey! They were so helpful and friendly, everybody saying good morning as we walked past. They also told us that we could go for breakfast too so we went and enjoyed a nice buffet breakfast. It had a bit of everything; toast, spreads, fruits, rice/noodles, an egg cooking station, juice, tea and coffee. Really couldn't complain at all. I don't know how people have the cheek on reviews for £9 a night and you get good service and all this included! The room was also lovely as well, we were the first room inside after the outdoor pool. Nobody seemed to use the pool though. The room was big and cool even without using the air con. The bathroom was nice and had a bath and shower. Couldn't ask for anything else really!
After breakfast we freshened up and then decided we should book the bus to hanoi first as it was a busy period with new year coming up. We also decided to book an extra night here as it was nice and we didn't want to just rush and jump on a long bus journey to have to get on another long one 2 days later. We enquired about booking the train or bus to hanoi but the train was completely full for the day we needed. Good job we already decided to stay an extra night as we probably would have had to anyway. We really didn't want to have to stay another night though as it would take up our time in hanoi before we fly to Thailand. The receptionist checked the best bus company but they were full too so she got a quote for flights for us, but we didn't really want to spend £100 flying, even though that's pretty cheap. She checked another bus company, that aren't suppose to be that good, but they had beds available on the bus so we just had to go for it. We didn't have much choice really although we weren't excited about this at all! It was such a long journey- setting off at 1.30pm on the Thursday, travelling to and stopping in Hue first and then setting off from there about 5pm and getting to Hanoi around 7am the next morning. She said it has a toilet but it's just luck really! We were preparing for the worst, ha! The woman at reception told me I looked like Katy Perry and from then on this is what she kept calling me, telling other staff to do the same haha! The staff were really great and made every effort to be welcoming and learn your names, which is lovely!
After thankfully getting that sorted they gave us a map and pointed us in the right direction for the town, known as either old town or ancient town. It was a recognised UNESCO heritage town and was being persevered in its ancient form. It didn't take long to get to the town from our accommodation and it was a lovely walk along the way. The streets were lined with lanterns everywhere and it looked really pretty. We passed the river and through the central market, which was as mad as ever with people trying to get you to buy things!
As we got further into town the buildings became more and more old world looking. It was like stepping back in time. We were so confused about the town though as there kept been tickets mentioned and buying tickets to the town. We didn't have clue what was going on, even when we asked we were pretty confused. After walking around for a while and to the other side of the river we figured out that you were encouraged to buy tickets regardless 'to contribute to preserving the town', but the tickets were used to get you into different ancient buildings such as temples, old houses, museums and to go across the Japanese bridge, which was a big tourist sight in the town. It was a bridge that was built by you guessed it- the Japanese- when they came to Hanoi to start trading with Vietnamese and Chinese residents- showing their unity.
After much confusing and pondering we decided to get the tickets and see what the fuss was about. You got 5 tickets each and you could use them to see 5 of the 22 buildings/attractions. It didn't seem like a lot but in all honesty we struggled to use them and ended up saving two for the last day. It was a very interesting town and definitely definitely worth the visit, but there wasn't a lot to do in the actual town after you had done the sightseeing as it was so small. A lot of the sites/building were similar too with the tickets. There were like 3 categories: museums, old houses/assembly halls and temples. We went to one museum- the museum of history and culture, which didn't really tell you anything much about history and culture and just mainly had cabinets with ancient pottery and artefacts in. We went to one temple, and they didn't ask for our ticket so we still had that spare. We went over the Japanese bridge, which you had to use a ticket for, and had a walk through this ancient part of town, which was nice as it was quiet with just bikes really. We stopped for lunch and got two new dishes to share- Cao lau which was pork, chilli, veg, soy sauce and noodles and Noodle quang- which was beef and noodles with veg and a different sauce, like watery oil. They were both really nice, especially the cao lau! We had the local beer Biere laure, which wasn't very nice at all. After we went to see a traditional arts show where they had dancing, singing and men and women playing traditional instruments. This was different to see and enjoyable!
The rest of the day we had a walk around, taking in the old town. It really was picturesque. We sat by the river for a while and were approached by two Vietnamese students from Dha Nang who asked if they could practice their English with us. They sat with us for about half an hour, chatting about random things and practicing their English skills. It was really nice and they were so friendly!
It slowly started getting dark and you could see all the lanterns over the town and down the river light up. It was suppose to be one of the best places to visit at night. It was pretty romantic if you thought about, shame we aren't the romantic type ha! We had a walk down to the night market which had appeared in the middle on a street at the other side of the river and we bought our magnets and looked at all the different lanterns lit up that shops were making and selling.
For dinner we went to a nice little restaurant next to the river and sat upstairs looking down on everything- although their was a big tree blocking a bit of our view! The dinner wasn't that great to be fair, nothing much wrong with it, just not as nice as normal. I just had fried rice with seafood and Nath went to try something different and ordered sautéed chicken with veg and some rice- but it was pretty much just the normal rice with chicken and veg.
After dinner I let a lantern off into the river and watched it float down. The walk back to our accommodation seemed longer than coming in but everywhere was still so busy. It still wasn't far at all to be fair though, we just wasn't sure what it would be like when it was very late at night. I had a nice relaxing bath for the first time in god knows how long and had a read of my book! Before bed we got our accommodation in Hanoi booked for 5 nights for just short of £50, including breakfast too! It was right in the centre and had good reviews so should hopefully be good for our last accommodation in Vietnam! Will be a shame to leave- we have really liked Vietnam! It's been different and we have enjoyed it a lot! We can't complain about the prices and the accommodations either, everything has been so cheap. Can't believe our Asia travels are slowly coming to an end :( so sad! It's been so amazing and we don't want it to end at all. It has gone so quick! Particularly since leaving Thailand it has flew! But onto the next part of our adventure which is very exciting!!