Decision was right. Took a flight from Sai Gon to Hanoi. Even we had to pay overweight (*sigh*) luggage. After 2 hrs in a fully booked A 320 (only local people) our driver was waiting (with a sign “Mr Mathias”) and carried us to our lovely Advisor hotel. The clothes from Hoi An tailor arrived already. Great. First topic – get our paintings. We did. Some french guys were there as well and Mandy said “I understand you …” You know what I mean :) Next topic – buy local coffee. We paid 20 $ for 0.5 kilogram but I guess it´s value for money. Smell and taste of the weasel coffee is awesome. A huge market was in the middle of the old quarter , like a weekend market and we bought some fancy stuff for our last Dong. And it´s the same old story, the last Pho Bo, last Bia Hoi, last Spring rolls. One more coffee. After all it was a good trip….
Met two young german ladies on their way home to Germany from Australia. They have never been before in South East Asia so we had some beer together and we shared some of our experiences. Whole day was lazy (as it should be…) and we arranged some hotels for the next days and tried to book a flight back from HCM city to Hanoi. While walking through old quarter of Hanoi we found a small gallery and bought really nice handmade pictures as a gift for friends, parents and for us as well. Let me try a Hanoi summary. Busy, billions of moto cycles, not that big and we found no other city in that region we know to compare with. Neither Pnom Penh nor Bangkok. Most people are friendly and nice but everybody tries to get a piece from the big cake. A woman on the street sells bananas. I asked how much to pay for 5 small bananas (in Thailand may be 40 baht which is around 1 Euro) She said 150.000 Dong which is around 6 Euros and when I looked at her she begun to bargain and said 140.000 Dong. We turned around and walked away….
We got all our stuff from the Advisor Hotel means bus tickets and the route for the next days.
I can really recommend this small hotel in the old quarter of Hanoi. Friendly and very service oriented and always trying to find a perfect solution for costumers.
6:30 am pickup for the bus to Hai Phong we arrived after 2.5 hrs and than took a speed boat for another 40 mins. Than bus again and finally in Cat Ba town around noon.
Hotel is nice with a big window directly to the sea. And even the agency guy is very friendly. He told us that he´s advised by Lonely Planet and even the german Loose travel book. We were tired so we had a nap for 2 hrs and walked around after talking abut the trip. Well it´s a nice idea to have boat for just both of us (I mentioned that before…) and let´s see what needs to be discovered during our cruise tomorrow. Weather seems good even it´s off season here so we expect getting sun burned :)
stay tuned will keep you updated….. we agreed that we turn into luxury travellers more and more :) which is definitely ok we become older and no need to sleep in a dorm or stay in a hotel room for 6 bucks.
We were picked up at 9 am by the guy from advisor hotel and moved there. Time for first tourist stuff. Took a taxi to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and when we arrived a big queue told us “it takes a while” but anyway we are here to see Uncle Ho. Faster than we were thought we stood in front of the big mausoleum and soldiers in white uniforms watched about everybody (“obey the rules…”) Neither pictures nor speech allowed inside but I took a photo while waiting in front of the entrance.
Afterwards we went down the streets searching for the temple literature which is the oldest university in Vietnam founded in 1070. Even Konfizuis taught here. And for sure there is a shrine to honor him. But today students get their degrees and especially young ladies were dressed in Ao Deis (traditional vietnamese clothes) and they looked beautiful. I asked friendly if I can take a picture and here it is…
Next stop was a cafe we had a fantastic iced coffee and a fresh yoghurt. Yammi stuff. That was enough for today went back to Advisor hotel and had a rest for few hours. I´m on vacation :) Room is good with a private balcony above old quarter and I´m sitting here while writing this post. 5 pm we started for Bia Hanoi which means get a beer for 5.000 dong. Or 2 or 3 and have chat with other traveller. So we did and met Stephan from Scotland and talked about Asia and while Hanoi is so amazing. Having a Pho Bo for dinner and went back to our hotel.
Schedule for next days is Halong Bay cruise and we found an offer for a one cabin boat which means just only to of us will go to Halong Bay for 3 days. Great. Don´t like the idea hanging around with 10 other guys. Too old for that shit :)
I guess we´ll go down now and have one more beer…. cheers.
Flight duration 2 hrs from HKG. Waiting for our luggage 1 hour. Immigration is easy if you have already have a visa. Visa on arrival is possible as well but better it´s already in your passport. Booking the hotel for right date – good idea. We were waiting for the guy who should pick us up at the airport but nobody was there. Later at the booked hotel we recognized that hotel was booked for 18th NOV and not for 17th. Friendly guy from the advisor hotel brought us to another small hotel just for one night. So we had a walk around and found a lot of food stalls on the street which is really great and we missed that in Hong Kong. Dinner for two of us including beer 5 Euro. A single package Marlboro less than one Euro. Draught beer in a beer bar 5000 dong which is around 30 Euro cents. I love this :) And billions of motocyclos. And each of them use the horn permanently. What a big noise.
So day starts with coffee and this post, we´ll move to the advisor hotel later on and will have a walk through Hanoi. Pics follow soon…..