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Our world Travel On 10th May 2007 I fled the UK on a journey around the world with a long list of places to go. Got as far as the Philippines where I met my wife. We got married on 11th May 2010 and are now sharing the experiences of travelling the world together

Hanoi to UK

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 29 May 2008 | Views [1207]

Tue 20th May - Up at 5:30am to get to Hanoi airport. A government taxi picked us up from the hotel for $13. It takes about 45 minutes to get there. I am booked on Vietnam Airways flight VN831 to Bangkok, leaving at 10:05am. Victoria was booked onto a domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh City, leaving about an hour or so before mine. Hanoi airport is a simple arrangement, with international and domestic in the same building and easy enough to navigate. Sad time seeing Victoria go, but we will be seeing each other again, albeit a few months away.

Vietnam Airways operate a clean professional service and nice in-flight meal too. Arrived in Bangkok at 12:05, same time zone as Vietnam. Reminded of Thailand's nickname as you come through arrivals with an enormous decorative traditional dragon character style statue and the sign 'Welcome to the land of smiles'. Doesn't that make you feel instantly happy?

Even though I am not staying in Thailand, my passport was still stamped with one month visa on arrival time given. Was concerned about this as you are only allowed three 1 month visas in a 12 month period and I have already had one in January, so this makes it two and I want to come back in July for upto 2 months. One saving feature is that I will be getting a new passport in the UK, so will start from empty, so should be ok.

Had to wait around at Bangkok airport until my Etihad Airways flight back to Manchester via Abu Dhabi leaves at 8:40pm. Going to be a long haul....

Was funny to see a large group of indian folk camped out in the middle of the entrance hall eating their curry lunch they had brought with them. You could smell the powerful aroma of their curry for some distance.

One thing to bear in mind here is that some eating places don't take dollars and others use a very poor exchange rate of 28 Baht = $1 when the actual rate is 32.

Bangkok airport is amazing. An ultra-modern silver sculpture of steel and glass, with a wide open airy feel. Check-in desks for international flights occupy the whole of the third level. With so many countries and destinations represented here, it's a real multi-cultural experience wondering up and down the check-ins whilst killing time.

Once through check-in and passport control, its the expected glitzy array of flash shops and beautiful people. An impressive golden throne accompanied by a presentation of the life and times of the king's recently deceased sister HRH Galyani Vadhana, is further elaborated by a wonderful thai statue/display of a tug-of-war beween mythical beings and a demi-god raising fom the center. This is what Thailand excels at...being dynamic!

A fairly lengthy wait until boarding time without much to occupy time other than people watching and reading. Flight took off on time with rain just starting to fall. Etihad airways, the national airline of  the United Arab Emirates are superb. The crew are pleasant and the service perfect. In-flight entertainment is amazing with just about everything you could ask for. The meal excellent. My tastebuds have been aclimatized to asian food for so long now that it was exciting to be fed with 'lamb tagine with couscous and olives' and 'arabian date cheesecake'. My mouth was alive with memories of the middle east and how fantastic the food and culture was....loved it. The hostess even brought me seconds when I told her how much I enjoyed it. Made me think again about my plan to return to China from the UK. I think I might go via the middle east for a spot of arabian culture first....excited about it already! Getting in to the mood, watched some arabian music videos...a wonderful exotic and powerful rhythm that is infectious. Am I a travel fanatic? I think so... But some cultures just captivate you.... Arabic culture is intoxicating as is indian, south east asian and latin american. So much more to explore...one year on from when I set off and yet I feel that there is so much yet to see. Some would say that it is impossible to see it all. Will give it a try I think....a bit at a time!

Arrived at Abu Dhabi International Airport to a blast of heat a 34 degreed C. Considering that it was nearly midnight, it was a bit hot. A change of timezone too. Three hours ahead of GMT. The terminal has a modern curved arabic feel to it externally, with tiled mosaic design on the inside. My third airport of this journey and all radically different.

The flight to Manchester went well and got into the UK at 7am. Weather was better than expected, being around 11 deg C.

This flight must have had one of the slowest baggage reclaims i've had in the past year. It took nearly an hour for the luggage to come through. Off to get a taxi and that is when I got my first reminder of how expensive everything is here. For a 45 minute journey, the organised airport taxi company wanted 72 GBP. The black hachney cabs outside wanted 84 GBP. Absolutely ridiculous price. The same in Hanoi was $13, less than one tenth of the price! Stuff that, so went to the railway station and picked up a ticket for 9.90 GBP that was only going to take one hour, so a much better option. The alternative of a bus would take four hours and not cost that much less.

Enough of the detail.....

I might not do a blog for a while as just sorting stuff out at home....until the next time.....adios amigos


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