Vietnam – Hanoi and Ha Long Bay

Abby didn’t feel much better over the next few days but as we really had to move on towards Hanoi we opted to take the overnight bus (including bike). OMG was this a mistake looking back at it!

It started off by some random guy that wasn’t associated with the bus company at all syphoning every last drop of our petrol and then putting it in his own bike before riding off into the distance. Once two of the travel company guys had finished throwing our bike into the luggage area of the bus, we boarded what was to become our prison for the next 12 hours. Pictures will never tell the whole story of how bad this bus was and I can’t even begin to describe what the toilet area smelt like. The smell was on par with places in Delhi and I’m glad there were people crammed into the aisles sleeping as it certainly discouraged those that wanted to toilet from actually using it. Every time that door opened, us and the people in our vicinity nearly threw up.

The ride was the bumpiest I have ever been on, I’m sure all the springs were snapped or missing. Abby managed to grab the only two beds left that were next to each other and unfortunately they were the top bunks, so I let her have the one by the window while I chose the middle. Abby did manage to get a few hours sleep while I lay there all night gripping the side of the bunk trying to stay in it.

To cut a long and very smelly story short, we finally arrived in Hanoi to only find the constant bumping had smashed one of our bike's mirrors and snapped off the clutch handle. I confronted the driver to try and get him to give me some money but he had lost all ability to speak English so I just left him to it. As we watched the bus drive away and the crowd of passengers disappear into the streets, Hanoi seemed very quiet for 6am. As I pushed the bike through the streets looking for some fuel or the a local garage to fix my clutch lever, I remember thinking at least it isn’t raining!

If anyone is wondering what the picture above is all about, the silver car had parked up (in the middle of a roundabout) and the driver had jumped out to either get a KFC or go the bank! Mental!

So Hanoi was a nice place but not really much to see or do which was good as we spent a day or two just around the hotel hoping Abby would start to feel better soon. I used this time to fix and sell the bike which I managed to do before our trip to Ha Long Bay. I managed to get most of money back for the bike so it really did turn out to be a good investment! Sad to see her go but might have to get a bike when I get home!

From Hanoi we travelled by bus to Ha Long bay where we spent two days and a night on-board a boat just floating among the 2000 or so limestone islands! Amazing!

Whilst in the bay we did an hours kayaking and went to visit the floating village where the boys from Top Gear ended their challenge in that particular episode.

We would certainly recommend a cruise around the bay to anyone who is thinking of visiting. The food on-board was some of the best we had in Vietnam and our cabin was beautiful. Abby even did a spot of squid fishing in the evening which she enjoyed.

We spent one more night in Hanoi before we were due to fly into Bangkok again for hopefully a better time that the last time we were there!

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