Today, we met T’s mom’s friend for breakfast at pho 24 (just like getting pho in the US), and then caught a cab to the airport for our flight to Hanoi on Viet Jet airlines.
After checking in, B and I went to the Vietnam Airlines ticket window and booked our flights for later in the week. We’d been planning to go to Nha Trang with T & C, but the only available return flight back to HCMC left at 7:45am. After talking with the ticket lady, we decided to return via Dalat, which she said was just a 2 hour bus ride from Nha Trang. We’d been wanting to visit Dalat anyway, as it’s the town where T was born. The next few days will be pretty hectic — a 3 day tour of Hanoi and Ha Long Bay (different hotels each night) flying back to HCMC on Friday night, flying to Nha Trang on Saturday morning, enjoying a day and night there at the beach, then Sunday morning bus to Dalat, an afternoon there, catch an evening flight back to HCMC (eta 7:30pm), and then catching our flight home that leaves at 11:55pm. The disadvantage of booking each piece independently is that we wind up with a few extra flights, but What could possibly go wrong? 🙂 On the (delayed) flight to Hanoi, I chatted with the spaniards next to me, who’ve been in Vietnam for 18 days. When I asked them what the highlight of their trip was, they said Dalat! They said it was a nice town, quieter, less chaotic, and cleaner because there were more actual shops than street vendors.
Speaking of chaotic, Hanoi is chaotic. Even louder and more traffic and scooters everywhere than HCMC. We’ve also noticed more shady pickpocket types here, but maybe it’s just because we’re in the heart of the old quarter here (tourist central) that it seems that way. The cooler temperatures are a relief, though. It was 90+ in HCMC every day, but the Hanoi highs are in the mid 60s. Driving into town from the airport, the buildings and architecture were fascinating. Narrow but tall buildings, some very ornate, others in complete disrepair. Colorful and a lot of variety. B and I rode around in cyclos (bike rickshaw things) as part of our Hanoi city tour, and we didn’t die. Or get robbed. A good start.
Tomorrow our tour takes us into the countryside and the town of Ninh Binh. It’ll be nice to get out of the city.