Published: February 7th 2009January 29th 2009
We got the local bus to Nong Het, near the Laos-Vietnam border. It was amusing to see how much they packed the bus - full of people and cargo, including about 20 planks of 4x2 down the aisle! Was a right laugh and I guess we were a bit of novelty, one guy took a photo of us. I much prefer travelling the proper local way compared to the tour buses.
We got to the border early in the afternoon and passed through a relatively easy passport control. They didn't really check our bags that much. I expected a country like Vietnam to be quite strict but obviously I was wrong. The border wasn't one of the major ones I assumed given the fact we were literally the only people there.
The other side we tried looking for a taxi to take us to town but all that was waiting were motorbikes, so we got a couple and strapped our huge bags on the back to speed down the mountain to Mixan(?) the nearest town. It wasn't the most comfortable of journeys especially given this was my first time on the back of a bike but was a lot of fun!
We arrived in the 'town' and managed to find a hotel and a bus to take us to Hanoi the next day at 5am. We went out to try and find something to eat in this godforsaken place, but luckily for us it was Tet (Vietnam New Year) which meant everything was shut for about 4 days! We wandered up and down the one street and found a shop selling some sorts of food. We bought as much stuff as we understand/consume and headed back to the hotel. Some of it was well out of date and the rest was just unedible. My advice is stay well away from the Choco-Pies!!
We spent that evening watching the Vietnam version of The Price is Right sharing the crumbs from the bottom of a Pringles tube....pretty low!!
The next morning we took the bus to Hanoi via Vinh, a journey which took about 14 hours in total. You could also tell why 11,000 people die on these roads every year. The driving in this country is frightening at the best of times! A few times we came far too close to knocking some people off their bikes! We got to Hanoi and pigged out on our first proper meal in 2 days. I've become addicted to the Vietnamese spring rolls, highly recommended!!