HANOI AND ORGANISED CHAOS IN THE STREETS
WHERE CAN I PUT THAT OTHER BAG OF POTATOES
A HARD WORKING BUT HAPPY PEOPLE ALWAYS ON THE GO
AN EXTREMELY TALLENTED PEOPLE
THE VIEW FROM OUR HOTEL WINDOW IN SA PA
OUR LOCAL PERSONALGUIDE
98 AND STILL ACTIVE
HEADING OUT INTO HA LONG BAY
WE CLIMBED MANY STAIRS ON ONE OF THE ISLANDS TO GET THIS PICTURE, OUR REWARD WAS 360¾ OF INDESCRIBALBE BEAUTY.
MANY OF THE PEOPLE LIVE ON FLOATING HOMES
in Hanoi at 1.00 am and were met at the airport by the Hotel arranged
taxi. We had booked into the Kangaroo Hotel (it's true) via the internet
back home. $3.50 per person per night and they would pick us up from the
airport. Seemed unbelievably cheap and as the taxi drew closer to Hanoi
city and the old sector, and started navigating and weaving it's way through
the swarming (even at this hour) mass of small motorcycles, we became
increasingly worried about our booking (perhaps we should have gone to
$4.50 pp) The neighborhood - lets just say - appeared challenging and
more than a little past it's use by date and we kept hoping the taxi wouldn't
stop here or there or in fact anywhere in this area. But it did and there
was the sign 'Kangaroo Hotel'. Well we didn't expect the Ritz and where
else are we to go at One in the morning, but we shouldn't have been so
judgmental. Even at that hour the staff greeted us warmly and our room,
although old was clean and spacious and comfortable and we slept soundly.
COLOURFUL PEOPLE FROM MANY INTERESTING MINORITY COMMUNITIES LIVING IN THE SPECTACULAR NORTHERN HIGHLANDS
Back in Hanoi
sure how we would get from the train station in Hanoi at 4.00 am back
to the Kangaroo Hotel but as we got off the train, there was one of the
hotel staff to meet us. Amazing service and back at the hotel they let
us use a room for quick shower and clean up before catching the bus that
would take us on the 4 hour trip to Ha Long Bay where we would catch our
boat that would take us to the islands. Ha Long Bay is dotted with hundreds of small
limestone islands that rise impressively out of the ocean. It is a surreal
experience to be on a Chinese Junk cruising through this misty wonderland
soaking in the atmosphere.
The next day it was off to Cat Ba - the largest island in the bay. We had recently been from train to mini bus to boat to mini bus and we're starting to miss the bike and doing our own thing but no worries, we were able to hire a bike from one of the locals for $5.00 for the day and scooted along every road on the island. We passed through the local people as they went about their daily tasks, laying the squid out to dry, working the fields and delivering two huge pigs on the back of a scooter not too different to our load! It felt good to be on our own again and independent and I know Haydn enjoyed riding a bike again, even if it was only a 110cc.
day was a biggie. Our guide collected us from the hotel at 8.30 am, took
us by bus to the jetty where we boarded another Junk to take us back to
Ha Long Bay. We had lunch there before catching another bus back to Hanoi.
A quick clean up at the hotel again then a taxi to the airport and a flight
back to Singapore and yet another taxi ride to our hotel. 6 different
transports and at 3.00 am we collapsed into our beds. Well we're at least
making the most of each day?
The Kangaroo Hotel staff were just great and organised everything for
us, they made our short stay in Hanoi memorable. Included in our deal
was the city tour, 1 night, two days in Sa Pa and 3 days in Ha Long Bay.
◊Take a small boat ride out to the floating fishing village on Cat Ba island where a third of the population of the island live on small boats guarded by large watch dogs, fascinating stuff!
Next page will take you on to Malaysia
|©Haydn and Dianne Durnell 2004|