Our train arrived in Hanoi about 11am. We had already booked our hostel which had been recommended to us by so many people. It was called Hanoi Backpackers and was very like the hostels in Australia, in that it was very modern, it had a bar and it was full of young backpackers. When we arrived it was slightly early for us to check in and we hadn't ate since the night before so we sat in the bar and got a burger and chips each for our breakfast. When we could check in we were shown to a 12 bed dorm even though we had booked a 6 bed, I don't think either of us could even be bothered to say anything and although a little cramped the 12 bed would do fine.
We got showered changed and went straight out for a walk and it was FREEZING!! We had been in warm weather so long now we had forgotten what it was like to feel cold, it was the first time I had to wear leggings for months. The city was really busy but I liked it. There was a huge lake in the middle of it, and the city just seemed to have a really nice atmosphere and for some reason being back in the cold weather made it feel like Christmas. We decided after being out for a while it was just too cold to walk around, so we had a look on the internet and saw that there was a couple of cinemas in Hanoi. The city is quite big and we didn't want to walk in the cold so we got a taxi to the cinema and went to the the film The Vow that we had wanted to see for ages. On the way to the cinema we saw a lot of boutique shops so rather than getting a taxi back we had a look in the shops and walked to the hostel. The clothes were lovely but we didn't buy anything as we thought we could have a shopping day the next day.
Our main reason for coming to Hanoi was to do a tour of Halong Bay. The tour would mean sleeping on a boat over night, and the guide in our hostel said that the weather was going to be rubbish for the next few days so our trip was out the window. We didn't fancy slepping on a boat freezing boat for a night so we decided that we might travel to Laos a little earlier, especially since it would mean getting back into the heat!
We had a few drinks in our hostel that night, then got up early the next day and went back to the boutiques and bought a few dresses. Then it was back to the hostel to wait for our bus, and again I was really nervous as it is another over night bus, but what makes me especially nervous is that we have read quite a few horror storys about this particular journey. Thankfully it will be the last over night bus that we have to go on while we are away :) After nearly three weeks in Vietnam, it was time for Laos.