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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Back to Vietnam!

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

We only have a couple weeks in Southeast Asia before we return to Japan, so we decided that rather than spend two full days on a non-AC and bumpy bus back to Vietnam, we'd fly back to Hanoi. Then we would continue on to Sapa in the north part of Vietnam, which was too cold when we were originally there in January. So we had scheduled for a flight back to Vietnam the afternoon after we arrived back from our Hilltribe trek.


However, the day after we returned from our trek, Alex started to not feel well. So while he rested in the morning, I went to visit Chompsy Hill, which was a hill in the middle of the Old City of Luang Prabang that had a temple at the top. It also gave a view of the city below. However, because of the smoke from the farmers' fires, it was pretty hazy and I couldn't see far.


Flight to Hanoi

We had a flight in the afternoon to Hanoi, Vietnam and considered rescheduling it because of Alex being sick. However, after Alex ate some bread we decided to attempt the flight. It went well considering the circumstances. When we arrived in Hanoi, we found a hotel near the airport to spend the night so we wouldn't have to take a longer form of transportation into the city. However, we could immediately tell that we were no longer in Laos, as we were immediately pounded by Taxi drivers trying to give us a ride somewhere as soon as we left the departure gate.


A Bridge Day in Hanoi

On Wednesday, Alex still wasn't feeling quite like himself so we decided to stay the night in Hanoi one more night before heading out to Sapa. We took a bus into the city from the airport and decided to go to the hostel - The Little Hanoi - which we stayed at previously in our trip and enjoyed. When we arrived, the Vietnamese man who helped run the hostel immediately recognized Alex as staying here before and even noticed he had gotten more of a tan since we had been here last. We were really impressed that out of the hundreds of guests they see over a week, he remembered Alex from a month and a half ago. He told us "Welcome Home" and we almost felt like we were at home again. We would highly recommend this hostel to anyone who ever visits Hanoi; the beds are comfortable, they almost have a western bathroom, and the staff are super friendly.


Now that we were back in Vietnam we had to adjust back to the honking and the task of crossing the street. As we were walking to lunch, and less than one hour after being back in the busy traffic, I was crossing the street and got my foot run over by a girl on her bicycle. Both the girl and I were OK (just a sore foot for about 10 minutes) but it was a wake-up call to the crazy traffic. However, by the end of the day we had adjusted and were back to crossing the busy streets like Vietnamese pros.


We had lunch at an Irish pub and then relaxed for a bit more before going back to the Water Puppet Show we had seen our previous time in Hanoi. It was entertaining before and was cheap enough (40,000 VD or about $1.25); so we figured why not? We had dinner later and then called it a night.


Train Tickets to Sapa

The next morning we relaxed before we had to check-out at noon. We then went to the train station to get tickets for a sleeper train to Sapa that evening. The first lady we talked to said that all the trains to Sapa that night were full, which we were pretty bummed about. However, as soon as that lady was done talking to us she closed her window and went to lunch. So we got in line at another window to figure out when the next available train was going to be . However, that girl said there were some hard sleepers available that night to Sapa, which we were excited we could still make it that night! So either the first woman really wanted to go to lunch badly and didn't want to do another transaction; or she figured that since we were westerners that we'd only want the soft sleepers.


The rest of the afternoon, we walked around parts of Hanoi and went to the Vinacom Towers, which was an upscale mall. However, it almost looked out of place with this elaborate modern building next to older buildings and dirty streets. We also checked out the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, but unlike the Mao mausoleum in Beijing we didn't get the chance to go in and see Ho Chi Minh's preserved body. However, it was similar to Mao's in that there was an entire square area for this memorial.

We just grabbed some dinner and spent time at an Internet Café before boarding the train for the night.

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