Thursday, 29 March 2007


Blog abanded due to having too much of a good time.



Saturday, 24 March 2007

Back to Hanoi

Return train journey uneventful, got shoes cleaned for 33p or 10000 dong at Lao Cai station haggled him down from 30000 dong or 1 pound.
Back at golden Sun now using free internet and waiting for taxi to Airport.
The flights to Hue we are travelling Business class s all economy seats booked up, well when I say we, I really mean Susan and myself, because they had 2 economy seats for Paul and Mimi LOL.
the difference in price is economy $60 business $80 per ticket.
Will post again after Hue.

Sapa sa good

So when we returned from Halong we kill a couple of hours then jump on the night train to Lao Cai, we had booked the Tulico Wooden deluxe cabin for 4 again thru hotel for $20 each way and all was in place and ok,
The Tulico cabin is very good clean and spacious with air con, NB there is no food or drink provided by this service so bring your own or buy from vendors along the way.
One sleep and 10 hours later we arrived in Lao Cai for mini bus transfer to Sapa.
Arrived at Baguette and Chocolate Sapa and was really pleased with the hotel, very clean and smart reception dining area and clean and crisp linen on beds, bit of mould staining to ceiling but no wonder in the damp winter climate.
I, at this time had a case of deli belly so left the rest of the party to explore Sapa and stayed close to the toilet in our room, enough said about that!
We got a tour guide to come to Hotel to plan 2 day trips around the area.
So after negotiations we agree for trip thru the Tram Ton pass visiting Minority villages along the way, and do trekking through the valley at Lau Chai and see waterfalls for 4 people inc lunch pick up 8am return 5pm $80.
And the next day we go by Russian jeep through a different valley more minority villages and finally hot spring bat beautiful sitting in the hot water surrounded by mountains, peace and the sound of the river running through it.

So long Halong Bay

Ok so we have not wrote for a while, too busy having fun.
The trip to Halong Bay to See the Islets was very good, enough has been said elsewhere about the views etc so I will not go into details, but will just say that the Lagoon Explorer boat and crew was excellent, there were us 4 and a Swedish couple, so 6 guest and there was 6 crew to look after us, nuff said, the cost booked through Hanoi Hotel Golden Sun was $115 per person including Kayaks.
The only down side was the journey, however still worth the effort.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Hanoi still Hanoi

The weather here is overcast and cool, very cool, we have had to wear jumpers and rain macks to keep warm and have not seen the sun yet.
Off to Halong Bay soon, so will not be posting for 2 days.
Hanoi is a fascinating place,It is one of those places were just being there is the reward, to see people living on the edge of survival, I am not saying that the people are starving, however they are living hand to mouth and you have to see,to understand that.
I had read that the streets are lined with beggars and pickpockets and scams were common, but I have not experienced that at all,I have seen more beggars in London and have not felt unsafe despite wandering around the back streets and off the beaten tourist track.
Food, if you want good food, eat on the streets it is by far the best way to eat both cheap and tasty, the restaurant food is good but you loose that special interaction with the locals.
Buying fruit is a great way to interact either in the market or off one of the many lady hawkers who wander the streets and is a perfect way to experiment with the many unusual fruits.

The People are so friendly the smiles so large, nothing is any trouble for them if they can help you it makes them happy, if you take their picture they say thank you, they are truly wonderful people.
I will add photos on our return to England as the hotel computer is a tad slow.


Jetlag experiment Sucess, on the 2nd attempt 0 coffee more beer!

Saturday, 17 March 2007

First impressions

Speedy through customs and passport control, taxi pick up waiting for us as arranged, mad traffic, giant billboards, vivid green lush paddy fields, ramshackle buildings.
Checked into Hotel Golden Sun Room is nice and clean and the welcome from Mrs Moon very fiendly after the 3 S's and a nap we went out into the old quarter of Hanoi.
We walked down Sunglasses Street then into Toy Street and then meandered through the streets until we came to Bag Street which is near the Lake.
Paul and Mimi bought Lumbar bags (North Face brand) for $7 and $5, Mimi asked in the shop about a massage and the lady took us down the street to a massage place, after much discusion we all booked in for a 1 hour massage for $10.
After a meal at the top floor restaurant (City View I think)overlooking the busy roundabout junction ($20 for 4 inc drinks) we went for our massage (but that is another story)tbc.

By the way it is 3am local time and my experiment to combat jetlag by drinking beer and coffee in equal ammounts appears to be a failure! NB to self, next time try more beer and less coffee (;>)