After a tiring transition from South-West China to North-Vietnam and several bus break-downs on the way from the border to Hanoi, we arrived in the lively city with estimated more scooters than cockroaches. The transition was challenging… We were on the sleeping train (hard sleeper) from Guilin to Nanning (capital of Guangxi province) ~ 7 hours, then changed to a bus to the Chinese-vietnamese border ~ 3,5 hours, waiting at the customs in total another 1,5 hours. We departed from the customs on the Vietnamese border at around 12 o’clock and arrived in Hanoi 5 hours later. The distance was only a little bit more than 170 km, so you can easily imagine how tiring this ride was with a fully packed bus.
To be continued…
In Hanoi we booked a ‘booze cruise’ to Halong Bay, where we spent one excessive night on the Jolly Roger and the two following nights on Castaway Bay in a basic hut with mattresses and mosquito nets. Our main incentive was to go wake-boarding there. Incentives seemed to differ quite obviously with the tour guide’s, as their job was to get the group hammered all day 😉 so we ended up wake-boarding for like 10 minutes per afternoon, some kayaking on the first day (Clemens and I saved some UK guys after capsizing with their Kayak), playing some beach volley and chillaxing. The rest of the time…yeah…you can imagine. After those three nights we were more exhausted then before, returning to Hanoi to spend another night before going to Laos.
All in all what we got to see from Vietnam was really beautiful. Hanoi is a quite busy city with 3.5m inhabitants. The French colonial influence is still there somehow (although I heard it should be stronger in former Saigon – Ho Chi Minh), architecture is interesting, markets add up to basically the same annoyment-level as in China, but people behave differently. I have to admit that the Old Quartier (the very city center) was super-touristy. No place operating without at least an English-speaking person. The cruise around UNESCO world heritage Halong Bay was just marvelous landscape-wise. Wake-boarding was fun and we got to know a bunch of new (party-)people and also Hanoi-locals who enjoyed a wonderful traditional Vietnamese sidewalk-dinner with us and showed us around a little.
– Clemens’ mobile stolen in Hanoi
– Clemens’ digital camera got wet during Kayaking and doesn’t work anymore
– Clemens’ suffered from a blood infection on Castaway Bay and is on antibiotics still
– Clemens’ digital reader was destroyed by the x-rays in the airport
– Philip’s sweater and fake-sunglasses are gone
– I caught a cold while visiting the waterfalls around Luang Prabang (stay tuned for the Laos-story in my next post) , I’m still on painkillers