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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 159: Hué to Hanoi

VIETNAM | Saturday, 12 April 2008 | Views [533]

Saturday 12th April

I was up shortly before 06.00, quickly got myself and my stuff together and left the hotel at 06.20, the mini-van to the airport picking me up a few minutes later. It took about half an hour to get to the airport, check-in was straightforward and we took off on time at 08.00. The plane was packed with a lot of Aussies on an organised tour, and there was a reasonable French contingent along for the trip as well. Those two nationalities seemed to have the highest presence amongst the tourist population from my experience.

After a quick flight of an hour, we got to Hanoi and we didn't have to wait long for our luggage to arrive on the carousel. I took a mini-van (which cost $2) into the centre of Hanoi, a journey of about one hour. It was an overcast day, quite gloomy really, and the landscape and development on the way into town was fairly drab. I was dropped off near a guesthouse that had good reviews on the internet and got a comfortable room for $15 (a bit more than I was hoping to pay but I didn't fancy searching for anything else). I also figured it would be good value as I was getting a whole day for that price.

The first thing I did was try and post some stuff home. The post office in Hué was shut when I went the night before, so I found the main post office by the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, but was told to come back after their lunch break had finished. Lunch sounded like a good idea to me too, and I found an excellent place to eat, great food at very good prices. I ordered spring rolls (the best I had tasted in Asia) and sweet and sour catfish and rice (very good as well, way better than average). I finally got my parcel sent off and took another walk around town, and booked myself onto a town of Halong Bay at the 'Hanoi Backpacker Hostel' that was leaving the next day. It cost $69 for an overnight trip, and it came recommended from some of the online forums I had looked at when researching my options.

I spent the rest of the evening looking around the shops and had dinner of pork in a claypot at the same place I had lunch. I wandered back to the guesthouse with the aim of booking accommodation in Tokyo, thinking it would be best to have somewhere specific to go to after landing in one of the biggest cities in the world. After spending a few hours on the internet, I realised that it was going to be more of a problem than I had anticipated. Everywhere seemed to be fully booked, even the places at the upper end of my budget. I hadn't experienced difficulties like this anywhere else before and it was slightly concerning.

I was supposed to be down at the 'Hanoi Backpackers Hostel' by 07.30 the next day. I was pretty tired and a bit pissed off that I had left booking somewhere in Tokyo to the last minute, but I had no cause to think it would be problematic. I crashed out at 23.30, obviously not that worried about getting a place to stay in Tokyo because I was out like a light as soon as my head hit the pillow.


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