I know we start every blog with some sort of bus horror story, but this by far was the worst EVER! A bus SO bad and a journey SO long it's taken nearly a month for us to write it up and relive the experience all over again.
We left Lang Prabang at 4pm on a weds and finally arrived in Hanoi and 11pm the following day!
We set off with hope, knowing it wouldn't be fun but thinking we could eat and sleep through it. However it was 18hrs before we stopped for any food and sleeping was quite difficult due to the random curry house music the locals blared from their personal speakers the WHOLE TIME, no headphones of course. At one point they put a local karaoke video on, which was something of a highlight. But my favourite bit had to be the fact that there were no toilets on board! Not only that but we didn't stop at any toilets until about 4pm the following day! Unlike Thailand, Laos (bar the few places we went) is mainly countryside and hill tribes.... This ment having to wee on the side of the road, which I could almost deal with in the dark, but in the day time with motorbikes and cars driving past you it's just plain wrong. Hannah I should have used the shewee.
The bus 'crew' If you like were horrible or 'bus w***ers' as we called them. They were SO rude, sometimes shoving us off and on the bus at stop points. The cherry on the cake though had to be, when 5hrs outside of Hanoi they decided they couldn't be bothered to go any further and chucked us all off (there were only four tourists on the bus by the way two of which were us) and we were ushered onto a slumdog millionaire stylee clapped out van, crammed with locals. The driver was an absolute maniac, and with our rucksacks on our laps,our heads banging against the ceiling, and the nutcase beeping his horn the entire remaining 5hours we both wondered at one point if we would ever reach Hanoi at all.
Eventually 31hours later we did. We stayed at an awesome hostel and basically got drunk for the next few days we were there....to recover from the shock of course. The Hanoi night scene is quite strange but cool. The police come round to all the bars at midnight and close them down. Tourists, ex-pats and locals all start to file out a bit gutted, before being silently ushered back in as soon as the police are out of sight. We spent one evening with some friends from Wales sitting in a back room of a bar in pitch black until 2am.
I'm afraid to say that we didn't do much exploring in Hanoi, it was a awesome city with a lot going on but the sheer amount of motor bikes on the road, the pavement, the shop enterances..(they literally drive where ever they like) and the hot humid weather meant we pretty much remained in our hostel.
Next stop Halong Bay boat trip......
Flip flops and bikini tops
Katie and Nic