Published: February 20th 2010February 20th 2010
Hanoi at night
So having shivered in Nepal we decided to go back to the South, because the trips to Lhasa (our original plan) were quite expensive and the weather wouldn't have been nothing but colder there. And here's a hint for all the travelers out there: don't fly with China Southern as to it's bureaucratic and you'll get a lot problems if your passport doesn't include a visa for China. We didn't have time to get one before trekking so we had a master plan: we wouldn't enter China at all just the airports and go straight to Vietnam (then again, we should originally have gone to Yunnan province and Tibet, but now the time to travel is running out). So speaking of Chinese bureaucracy (or China southern's terms and conditions) they didn't allow us to go to Vietnam WITHOUT a document (that has to be a flight ticket) in which should be a next flight away from Vietnam... Maybe it's because Finnish citizens don't need a Vietnamese visa, I don't know. But who the hell makes travel plans many weeks ahead? So we booked a flight to Laos and the problem was 'solved'. This happened in Hong Kong where we shouldn't have
Eating street food in Old Quarters
even gone, but the airline company changed the flight route. And moreover in Guangzhou they took our passports away until our boarding. Maybe they were thinking that we would really like to work illegally in their country, haha.
So now in Vietnam like the title says... We came here on Sunday when the long lasting celebrations of Chinese new year had already started. As a mark of that they have raised their yellow star flags all over in Hanoi. This really looks like one party (double meaning!) country and the flag of former Soviet union is also nicely represented here. We didn't find Hanoi so interesting to be in, so we booked a trip for the main tourist attraction in the area - Ha Long bay.
Our trip to Ha Long bay lasted three days and two nights: you can do it in one day also, but we found it out that it's the best way to spend days in Vietnam... Those famous cliffs which are coming straight out of water are really beautiful, definitely worth visiting since you cannot see anything alike in the world. The tour guide, Mini-Van, said that it's even one of the natural
Our mighty ship
wonders of the World. We met nice people on the the trip in Ha Long bay, like one Swedish guy and two couples from Down under and Switzerland. And we, the Finnish guys, showed the quality of our characters when our group went out on Cat ba Island where we spent the other night (the first night was by the sea).
So pros and cons of Vietnam: Beer is really cheap - 0,17 euro for a pint, in some place it's even less, something like 3000 dong. And it didn't taste bad either! Furthermore this place is a lot cleaner than India and Nepal together (at least in the Old Quarters and in the center of Hanoi) and much wealthier as well when you can locate a Bentley on the street and see people having their scooter saddles with a Burberry paneling. What comes to cons this place is too expensive for our budgets (sometimes it's hard to be a budget traveler) and the temperature isn't pleasant, too cold. So as a result we're flying to Laos tomorrow, where, according to weather forecast, it should be over 30 degrees next week, yes please!
There are more photos below