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Published: February 27th 2014
Left Hanoi, which we had enjoyed so much and took the hotel taxi to the airport. Flight book-in with Vietnam Airlines was a vast improvement on our previous one and we were checked in, baggage dropped within 15 minutes.
Had not been quite careful enough with my packing and my nail scissors, as they often do, had found their way from my suitcase sponge bag back into my handbag. Confiscated.
Oddly, they failed to find the liquid ice-packs which Bob had accidentally left in his carry on bag and I’m sure they were far more of a potential security risk than our bottle of water which we also had to leave behind !
Flight to Hue was only an hour and it took off exactly on time. At Hue it was strange not to have to go through security as we are more used to international than local flights. Our taxi driver in from the airport chatted non-stop to a woman on the phone for the first 10 minutes, which was a little disconcerting but he managed to get right through the traffic without hitting anything, so we are grateful for small mercies.
We were pleasantly surprised
when we arrived at our hotel, the Park View. Our train tickets for Nha Trang had been delivered and were waiting for us when we checked in. Also pleased to find that we had a really big room, space in fact to swing several cats (unlikely we will be doing that as don’t think we have seen more than one since we got to Vietnam. Dogs yes, cats no, rats – eer yes a couple.)
After checking in at our hotel, Park View, we walked down to the Perfume River which is quite close to the hotel. Spent quite a long time just watching the amazing traffic at one of the bridge junctions and wondering how they managed to weave between each other without actually hitting (we have seen two motorbike accidents in Hanoi so obviously not always so lucky). What we find somewhat astonishing is the early age at which children here learn to 'attach themselves' safely to their two wheel transport. Many scooters shoot past with a toddler standing up between the handle bars and the driver, often not even holding on to anything. We haven't seen any fall off and hope we won't.
are traffic lights here and these are generally followed but zebra crossings seem to be designed as target practice for pedestrians so usually safer to weave between all the fast moving vehicles while waving “slow down” signals with one hand and praying with the other !
We were undecided where to have dinner as our hotel, though close enough to the river, is not very convenient for the tourist centre of town. There was nobody at all in the restaurant when we went down so we decided to go elsewhere. We went in the wrong direction first of all (mea culpa) but then hailed a taxi which took us to the tourist quarter where there are two streets full of restaurants.
The restaurants were also pretty full at the time we arrived so we booked a table at one then went for a stroll. Some very lovely Vietnamese art shops here and have no doubt that one will be finding its way into my suitcase though goodness knows where we will find room space for it once we get home.
Excellent dinner, the Vietnamese food we have sampled so far has been generally delicious.
plagued by cycle rickshaws offering to take us on 1 hour rides so agreed to be taken back to the hotel for $2 each (which is more than a taxi costs). Back at the hotel he demanded 10 times that - but didn’t get it.
We have concluded that the only safe way to negotiate transport costs such as these is to pay the reasonable initial sum they ask for, up front before setting off, then absolutely refuse to pay any inflationary add-ons.
A far safer and better approach though is to use taxis, which are metered and much cheaper.
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