Lost on Planet Earth – Mars Travel Journal – Vietnam Day One

Vietnam 2011

Good Morning Vietnam!

Saturday, 3 December – Hanoi

Brisbane, Australia to Singapore, Singapore to Hanoi – Vietnam

Singapore Airport

Arriving at the Singapore International Airport Saturday morning, we had a few hours before our transfer flight to continue to Vietnam.

The airport in Singapore was awesome!  We spent time in the Orchid Garden, Watching entertainment, Shopping (I purchased and eye mask to help me sleep on the next flight), buying coffee, snacks and water for our short stay.  I was feeling cranky from lack of sleep on the first flight, so we found some lounge chairs near our departure terminal and I got an hours or so sleep while my partner watched out gear.  The eye mask worked perfectly!

We boarded out Singapore Airlines flight to Hanoi, Vietnam.  The snack and lunch meals were really enjoyable to eat (for airline food).  I got comfortable and slept the rest of the flight to Hanoi.

Day 1 – Hanoi, Vietnam

We arrived in Hanoi International Airport around 1pm, collected our luggage, and waited for our hotel transfers to take us to the heart of Hanoi City.

We had entered a country that appeared to have no road rules, a million bike-cycles, scooters, motorbikes and several thousand cars in a kind of organized chaos.  Now in the centre of Hanoi and having checked into our Hotel, a simple room with one queen bed, bathroom, air-conditioning and an old style TV.  The sports channel appeared to be the only english speaking channel we could find.

Venturing out the hotel doors with a map of Hanoi city, we explored the busy streets. Walking around the Hoan Kiem Lake, I found the Water Puppet Theater and booked tickets for the 9:15pm show Sunday night.  At 7pm the night-time market strip opened up in the Old Quarter. The markets are over 1km long, stall after stall of souvenirs, shoes, handbags, phone cases, hats, t-shirts etc. I also had my very first toilet squatting experience. One Happy Face out of Five.

Half way through the market we stopped at a street restaurant for dinner.  We ordered our first Chicken Pho Noodle Soup, and we received a WHOLE Chicken along with our soup, including the chickens leg with claws, with an assortment of green vegetables and noodles to cook in a pot on the table in front of us.  We both seemed bewilder by the idea, and started grabbed bits of everything and threw it all in the pot together.  We felt we might have been ripped off by paying close to $30 for dinner, yet it was the only over priced meal in the whole trip.

After dinner it was getting a bit late for sleep deprived travellers, heading back to the hotel on foot.  Having decided we had made a wrong turn somewhere along the way, I started searching for our city map.  It was not in my backpack or pockets, I had given it to my partner earlier when visiting the Old French Quarter.  He searched his own backpack and pockets, coming up empty-handed.  I’ll admit I was a bit annoyed he had lost it, I was tired and wanted to cuddle up into bed and go to sleep.  Finally after circling a few more blocks and coming across the same stores over and over, I pulled out my iPhone and turned my data settings on to locate the hotel with the Maps app. We were located about 2 streets away, it took $11 worth of data to locate our position and get us back to the hotel safe, and I finally got to cuddle up and sleep, we both slept really well that night.

Odd Observations:

  • 1.5liter Nestle Water bottle was $1 Australian.
  • Lots of ATM’s around the city.
  • The overhead power-lines are a crazy muddled up mess.
  • Vietnamese people spit a lot.
  • Learning to dodge traffic is a scary at first, then an exciting experience.