As you can see from the Laos airlines vessel above, we flew from vientiane to Hanoi. Only a 70 minute flight so my carbon footprint guilt is huge, I’ll hug some trees as I head south to make up for it! I just couldn’t face the overland border and 2 days on a bus.
So it turns out Hanoi is pretty frigging amazing. Hands down the best Asian city I’ve seen so far. Managed to get hold of an old friend from home who has been working and living here for 6 months so he hosted us for lunch in town. We had a great spread, a delicious pho with raw beef that’s gently steamed through by the broth so its really tender. So grateful to him for sharing his local expertise. The power of social media allowed us to see each other for the first time in 3 years the other side of the world. It’s a small old world we live in. We were so full after lunch but managed to find room to share 4 bahn mi at a street market in the evening. See earlier update below for post carb glory!
Spent the afternoon strolling through the glorious sunshine. So jammy to witness heat amidst the Vietnamese winter in Hanoi. We wandered around the one pillar pagoda, ho chi Minh mausoleum and the museum of literature. There were hoards of locals playing badminton in the park which made for an interesting shuttlecock dodging walk. In the evening we grabbed a peanut butter ice cream and walked round the lake. The pagodas on the islands were all lit up so it was stunning. All the city folk were power walking or doing Tai chi on the banks so you got the occasional bat of a hand to the head.
Found a great new snack. The bún café. A delicious coffee bun straight out the oven. Light as air. Scrum.
Woke up this morning to this view from my cabin in halong bay:
Life is pretty good! Spent the day exploring caves by kayak. Classic geography porn at its best. One of the rock formations was known as the happy man. So I got pretty nostalgic over the memories of my university boozer of the same name.
Ate some incredible seafood on board bought from the surrounding floating villages. We were also given a complimentary bottle of red in the room so the international table card games were all the better. Spent the rest of the night drinking beers on the roof sat in the bay. Chilly but worth braving as the views were fantastic.
Sailed back to the harbour this morning and docked at noon. Now heading back to Hanoi to catch the night bus to Hue. Sincerely hope we manage to sleep. I am really looking forward to some heat again.