From Hoi An we had thought about taking the train up to Hanoi but decided the short flight would be much better. The airport at Danang ( 40min from Hoi An) was super quiet. It also seemed that the airports we used in Vietnam were frequented by 80% foreigners, strange to see.
We thought Ho Chi Minh was busy, well we hadn’t seen anything until we got to Hanoi. Literally not 3 seconds can go by where you don’t hear a horn tooting.
Our first day this hustle and bustle was ok, it felt like a lively city with lots going on. After that though the constant traffic and noise got a bit much, as did having to walk on the road in the path of traffic because the footpaths were full of parked bikes.
We still went exploring each day to find some of the local cuisine. This was our first and last glass of Bia Hoi, the local brew served from a keg thats only good for 1 day. The first couple of sips were ok but it was a bit downhill after that. Needless to say a Tiger beer was required to wash it down.
Bun cha is a favourite for lunch, pork patties and bacon in a broth to which you add rice noodles and whatever combination of herbs you want.
Your never far from someone selling something in this city, either from street stalls, walking up to you or off the back of a bicycle. Fruit, flowers, socks, nail clippers, you name it and they’ll have it. A local even touted a shoe shine for a British guy sitting next to us once who replied with “What, you’re going to shine my Crocs for me?” Classic.
Matt was (unsuccessfully) in the market for some new togs so we went on a mission to the newest, monstrosity of a mall in town. The Caesars Palace type statues and fountain are actually the ceiling of the mall which takes up 4 levels underground.
There are well over 150 food outlets too, not that any were very busy though, it’s definitely geared up to handle many more people than were there on this day.
We decided to go to the movies to watch The Hobbit, our first ever 3D movie. It was in a small 36 seat theatre which was great considering we were 2 of 4 people in there. The seats were lazyboy recliner type, the only thing that could have made it better was a blanket to make us feel right at home.
Coming up to the end of January and the TET festival/Chinese New Year meant the locals were busy buying red lanterns / pictures/ decorations (red for luck) , flowers, sticks of blossom, and also carting around clementine trees on their bikes which Rach found particularly amusing.
Despite all this seeming activity, due to our colds we actually spent most of our time in Hanoi in our hotel room, a lot of Australian Open Tennis & movies were watched.
Our final night there we had dinner out with an old uni friend of Matt’s who has lived in Hanoi teaching English for 5 years, was a good catch up.
Unfortunately Hanoi proved a little too hectic for us, we were relieved to get a plane to Thailand where we will spend most of the remainder of our trip.