Asia | South East Asia | Vietnam | Far North | Hanoi – Out of Vietnam!
Well all good things HAVE to come to an end… yes I’m finally leaving Vietnam!!! It’s been three amazing and interesting months.
I did my first (in Vietnam) touristy tour to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island – it was a toss between doing it backpacker style (cheap at USD 30 all incl. with 50 people) or slightly more upmarket (at USD 50 all incl. with 15 people). The more upmarket one won out as you got to spend a night on a boat in Halong Bay! Doing a tour is not really my thing, but they organise things here so that it works out much more expensive if you try and do anything solo. I think it is so that they can keep you away from the natives, before you corrupt them or something.
Anyway the tour was not so bad… we started at 7 am, a long the way we stopped off at some really cheesy places, where we were expected to pay hugely inflated prices for dodgy carvings and local tack – I managed to resist it all. Once in Halong Bay, we were put in the back of some restaurant and given lunch. Not sure why we were put in the back because it was a sea front place – again, maybe they didn’t want the locals to see us! Once on the boat, everything was fabulous, the islands are quite something. One stop to some cheesy caves on one of the islands – tacky coloured lights and weird dustbins shaped like penguins. Penguins?!!!! Then we anchored in a quiet bay for the night. After keeping the crew up for most of the night while we put the world to rights with an English couple, we moved our mattresses up to the top deck and slept under the stars!!!
Next day we arrived on Cat Bar Island, the tour went off on a 6 hour trek, but we decided to opt out and headed for the beach. Not much to say about Cat Ba island except the obvious… it’s an island!… thought you’d enjoy that one! Managed to find yet another Aussie Bar, although a Kiwi ran this one, but he says that he lived in Oz for 18 years so he can claim Aussie status…? And that was that – we headed back to Hanoi the next day!
Have been in a bit of a panic ever since… ohmegosh I’m leaving… so I have been shopping like mad. I have now learnt enough Vietnamese to do some tough bargaining, but I reckon they still score! Oh well, I’m happy… I posted everything off to England today – I had to spend exactly the same again to post everything… I should have bargained harder!
Tomorrow it’s off to Laos overland! We leave Hanoi at 7 p.m. and arrive in Vingh at 2 am. We then catch a bus to Cao Treo, and get dumped 25km from the border. Apparently we can catch a jeep to the border, once there we get a bus to Vientiene. So, it’s gonna be quite a trip!!!! Fortunately, Charlotte is coming with me, which will make things less hard.
So, next update from Laos…