After Chiang Mai we felt our time in Thailand had come to a natural end and decided it was time to move on to Vietnam. We booked a ‘sleeper bus’ back to Bangkok (which turned out just to be a normal coach for 12 hours) and then flew to Hanoi. After clearing immigration, I went to the cash point and finally got a taste of what it’s like to be a millionaire! I took out 2 million Vietnamese dong and it felt good!! We then made our way to the taxi rank where we were informed a taxi into the city would cost about 350,000 dong! :-(. We decided we’d be tight millionaires and took the bus with all the locals (we were the only westerners on the packed bus) for 7,000 dong each! Getting used to this new currency was definitely going to be interesting. (There’s about 35,000 dong to a pound).
We finally made it to our hostel which turned out to be a nice small budget hotel. After Chiang Mai where our room had no windows and plywood walls, we really welcomed a nice room with solid walls, air con and windows. It was like heaven for 6 dollars a night.
We spent the evening walking around Hanoi and boy it’s a crazy city. I think something like 2 out of 3 people own a motorbike in Hanoi – you need to be gutsy to cross the road here because there are very few traffic lights and no stop signs. Every time you cross the road in Hanoi, you’re taking a risk with your life! We then stopped at a little restaurant and had our first try of Vietnamese food. Kyle had some Vietnamese BBQd pork with noodles and I had some seafood spring rolls with noodles – it was delicious. After having Thai food for nearly a month, Vietnamese cuisine was like a breath of fresh air.
The following day we spent the morning at the Museum of Ethnology, a museum dedicated to Vietnam’s 53 ethnic minorities. It was a really interesting place as they explained each different minority’s traditions and what they cultivated. However, it was really the models of their homes outside in the botanical garden which was the most interesting. It was really interesting to see a museum of this nature as we hadn’t encountered anything like this in Thailand.
Vietnam is really starting to tick all the boxes!