Published: May 18th 2012May 14th 2012
I arrived in Hanoi after suffering a horrendous night at Bangkok airport due to sun stroke. I don't think I have ever been so ill..imagine the worst migraine ever, as well as constant nausea! But I won't go in to too much detail on that..
Luckily by the time I arrived in Hanoi I felt much better and my lovely friend Steph (that I met in San Diego years ago) met me at the airport. Despite being exhausted we had a fun packed day seeing the sights of Hanoi! She took me down to the lake, to the opera house and to Hanoi prison. Though I have to say the highlight of the day had to be the chocolate buffet! She obviously knows how to keep me happy and took me to the extremely posh Metropole hotel (absolutely beautiful french style 5 star hotel) where you could have unlimited chocolate for 2 hours! The spread was incredible.. chocolate fountain, chocolate pancakes, chocolate truffles, chocolate cake, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate icecream.. you get the picture! It was my idea of heaven! In the evening we met her friend at a place called 'the secret coffee shop', secret beause it is above a shop and many people don't know it's there. You walk up 3 flights of stairs until you are on a balcony where you get an amazing view of the city, including the lake. The following day we just chilled out, I needed a good lie in and then Steph cooked her housemate, boyfriend and I pancakes for breakfast! We then went to a swimming pool and had a late lunch in a Vietnamese style restaurant. That evening I picked Claire up from the airport and was so excited that she'd flown all the way from home to join me for this part of the trip! :)
Being hardcore, Claire fought the jetlag and came straight out partying, and lets just say it was one eventful night! We started off at the hostel bar.. where the rep type guy that works there brings everyone to another bar at 10pm. The bar was called 'The Hair of The Dog'.. it was a bit trashy (no Lola Lo's!) but it was good fun, played good chart tunes and also had a big smoking/shisha terrace upstairs with fairy lights. They sold buckets which was a massive plus.. we got a big bucket of vodka redbull and sprite which was called 'the slutty hog' (they all had very odd names!) I also persuaded Claire that we had to do some shots called 'The paralysers', underneath it said 'don't ask, just do it!' and we did just that..it tasted of tequila mixed with something else..absolutely disgusting but it got us extremely drunk! We met a load of cool people including some English guys and all decided to head to a club afterwards. The taxi driver took us down an alley way and we got a bit worried but ended up getting to the recommended club 'The Lighthouse', I say club but it was more like a run down, dark warehouse!! When we pushed open the double metal doors music was blasting, everyone was dancing like crazy, but the place seemed a little dodgy, I couldn't stop giggling and Claire was like 'Where the hell are we' haha. We headed to the toilets and I pushed open the door which then came off its hinges and smashed down into the cubicle, leaving Claire and I in hysterics!! Especially because the actual toilet was beyond rank.. I don't even want to describe what I saw! Hygeine in this country is unheard of.. Claire said the whole experience of The Lighthouse reminded her of the film 'Trainspotting.' But it was a really fun night, and the music in there was so good, so we danced the night away and ended up back at our hostel around 4am..
The following day we didn't wake up until 1pm!! (understandably I'd say!) The first thing we did was head back to the Metropole hotel as I wanted to show Claire how amazing it was! And it gave me an excuse to have my second chocolate buffet in Hanoi.. after chilling by the pool for a bit with icecream! It's a really hard life travelling as you can tell! We then explored the city, looked in some shops, nearly got run over by about 100 motorbikes..standard! And then did it all again.. got dressed up, went to the hostel bar.. had a fair few malibu and cokes.. went to another bar called 'Flo Bar' which was similar to 'Hair of the dog.' There seemed to be about 10 guys to every 1 girl, we have never received so much attention in our lives! Had a lot of banter that night and ended up a 'The Lighthouse' again, and got very little sleep again!
We managed to get up in time for breakfast the following day which was amazing.. huge fry up and pancakes..! We then headed to a swimming pool and that evening we went round to Stephs house, she cooked us a lovely meal which was sweet of her. Afterwards we went to 'Hair of the Dog' for round 3..and 2 hours of sleep later we had to get on a bus to go on our Halong Bay boat trip..
Halong Bay was BEAUTIFUL! The first afternoon on the boat they get everyone kayaking to a cave. They try and get a guy and a girl in each kayak because apparently girls are a bit useless.. and I did not manage to prove them wrong! It took me forever to kayak to that damn cave! But the scenery was unreal. That evening we all had dinner on the boat and got chatting to everyone.. the boat was mainly girls and there were about 50 of us in total on 2 boats tied together. The hostel tour guide got everyone doing drinking games in the evening.. the most embarrassing drinking game ever, but it was pretty funny! The following day we were all taken to Castaway island which is a desert island..with just a few huts to sleep in and a little wooden bar! It was such a pretty island and in the day we all had the option of doing watersports. So after a couple of hours sunbathing Claire and I decided to go 'tubing.' Basically we had to hang on to a double inflatable doughnut for dear life whilst a speed boat dragged us behind it, literally throwing us around the ocean. At first I was a little terrified and was screaming my head off but it was so much fun, and even though we got flipped off a few times I'd still do it again! That evening we all had a barbeque followed by more drinking games!
The third day of the trip you only get half the day on the boat, and then they take you back to the harbour where we had a 4 hour bus ride back to the hostel. As soon as we got back we then took off to the airport to get a plane to Hoi An which is a small beach town so it will be nice to chill out for a bit and give our livers a well deserved break..