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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
October 9th 2011
Published: October 9th 2011
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Andy says:

Obvious cheesy title there but would've been rude not to! We arrived in Hanoi yesterday morning after spending the night in Bangkok airport (which is FREEZING by the way!) following our flight up there from Phuket. Was really sad to leave Koh Phi Phi in the end. Wasn't that bothered about the place when we first arrived as it all seemed a bit 'Benidorm-y' for me after the relative calm of Koh Tao. Despite the crazy monsoon weather though the place won me over big time and I ended up loving it. We again met all sorts of characters from the Thai Dave Grohl through to Mr. Fuck You and the Aussie version of Dandy! We didn't do as much exploring as on Koh Tao because there's no mopeds on Phi Phi and neither of us could be bothered to cycle! We did do a day long snorkelling and kayaking tour which was really good and we got to tick off Maya Bay aka 'The Beach' - what they neglected to tell us was that in order to get to it you have to jump off the boat and swim about 100 metres to shore in crazy waves over even crazier rocks, then climb up said rocks whilst being smashed by said waves and then trek across to the other side of the island! Was an experience and typically I managed to slice yet another hole in my already damaged foot! Was worth it though as, despite the thousands of tourists and boats on the beach, I'm chuffed to say I've been. The rest of the time on Phi Phi was spent chilling, watching the Discovery Channel and boozing whilst watching this awesome Thai band in the Rolling Stoned Bar! We ended up becoming friends with the band and were gutted to miss their proper opening night on Friday.

As I say from Phi Phi we went to Phuket - at first it seemed like a total dump (we where staying in Phuket town) but again ended up loving it! When we arrived the whole place just seemed to be leaking! From the sky, the rooftops, the pavement - everywhere! But the rain cleared up and we had a bit of a walk around. Stumbled across a McDonalds and, after nearly 4 weeks of resisting Western food I finally gave in big style and went for an extra large Double Big Mac meal - soooooo good! Then found a hairdresser as, despite Dan's excellent handywork on my mohawk, I felt it needed a bit of a tidy up. The guy was desperate to stick in all sorts of shaved shapes and highlights in my hair so I was a bit concerned but luckily he stuck to plan and the end result was pretty decent. We then decided to hire a moped and head out to the beach resort of Patong. Was interesting riding with a pillion passenger for the first time but we made it unscathed to find an even more 'Benidorm-y' place! Just what you would expect - ladyboy caberet shows, cheap beers and dodgy fake clothes for sale. Needless to say we had a wicked time there and went back again the next day. Love bartering with the stall holders - they are so desperate to sell that you can get stuff for stupid prices. Luckily I was quite sensible with my purchases and just got some t-shirts.

So now we are in Hanoi which seems to be a whole new level of crazy from Thailand! The taxi ride from the airport was an experience - not sure the driver ever took his hands off the horn or his phone and was weaving all over the shop - we even ended up on the wrong side of the road at one point. Dan slept the whole way so I just kept my all-consuming fear to myself! Got to the hotel which is right in the thick of the action in the Old Quarter and dirt cheap. Went for a wonder as we needed to figure out the exchange rate - withdrew 1,000,000 dong from the cash machine and felt amazing until I realised it was only 20 pounds! Really struggling to work out how much stuff is at the minute - need to get that sorted ASAP before I get ripped off! Was in dire need of some sleep so headed back to the hotel for a couple of hours kip. Unfortunately Dan has discovered the Cartoon Network on the TV so Ben 10 has been on literally constantly since we got here! Decided to treat ourselves to a meal at a place called Koto which takes street kids and trains them up to be chefs, was really nice and the ribs were only 4 quid! The staff caught the Dandy bug pretty quickly after hearing Dan beatboxing at our table - they all ended up having a go and we had a little group going there for a while! Then headed to some Vietnamese nightclubs - they were crazy!

Today we're off to do a bit of a proper walk around the city and try and avoid all the scams we keep hearing about!

Dan says:

Right so we left Phi Phi behind, sad really because we missed a gig by this awesome band called Made In Thailand. We watched them practicing up until Thursday and these guys were good...gutted I missed their actual show! Ah well we might pass back through to check it out before we come home! Anyway we got the boat to Phuket...apparently the place to go in Thailand! NOPE this place was a dump when we arrived, beside the fact it was raining I really couldn't see what all the hype was about?! We checked into our hostel/bar in Phuket Town. The guy literally stumbled to opened the door as he'd only just got up! 2.30 in the afternoon! Got to our room and was literally dying in a pool of my own sweat. I called top bunk and jumped up only for the bed to smash into the wall and make the loudest squeeking noise possible anytime you moved! If you wanted to bring a girl back - this was NOT the place to do it! We decided after a few hours chillaxing that we would get a moped between us and ride up to Patong Beach! Here's where it got good. Patong was mental...a bit like a sleazy Vegas mixed with Ibiza!I got myself a 25 quid hat for 4 quid! WICKED. This is why people come to Phuket then!!! Andy drove the moped there and I'd be lying if I said I didn't shit myself especially when he decided to floor it at a junction leaving me almost on the road behind him! Didn't matter though i was driving home and I soon learned how to drive like a Thai - literally not care about anyone else on the road! I loved it - not to sure how Andy found it whilst sitting on the back though! Lesson learned - Patong at night is immense! Next day after waking in a pool of sweat due to lack of A/C we decided to head to Patong Beach again but in the day we had to be at the airport at 8 anyway so had all day! We arrived and a double Big Mac later we were ready to go! This place is just as crazy in the day! One guy tried to sell us a hammock as we drove past! I prefered Patong at night especially with the crazy Thai John Wayne who made anything he touch float about! Truly magical!! Drove about a bit more darting in and out of cars and leading the pack of Thai mopeds - thats how cocky I was! We headed back to the hostel about 5 played some pool in which i unfairly lost then got the bus to the airport! Anyway soon after we're in Hanoi, Vietnam and this place is amazing! When you cross the road just keep walking and if one of the street sellers gives you a hat and her basket walk away she will take your photo and ask for money! Vietnamese night clubs are nuts though! A LOT of blokes! I also discovered in clubs Irish and Vietnamese girls sound the same and I dont understand anything they said - NOTE - just say yes!

Anyway off for our walking tour of Hanoi now to check out some cool stuff may even see a dead body!


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10th October 2011

Great Blog
I\'ve been to Vietnam several time, but never left the city of Saigon. Never been to Thailand, but hope to go some day. I took a lot of pics while in Saigon and posted them to my blog, The Vietnam Traveler (dot) com. I wish you had more pics to see also.

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