A Travellerspoint blog

South East Asia

Where the chicken is pork, everything has a price and nothing free is for free...

Ok so this blog update might be a few days late, but it's Christmas so get out of it! gon git

Our short flight from Vientiane, Laos to Hanoi, Vietnam lasted around 50mins, they had just enough time to rush through a round of drinks down the aisle before we were already descending. Crazy short. In Hanoi we had planned to take a 2 day trip to Sapa, a mountain village in the north of Vietnam. In the end however we stayed in Hanoi for a full 7 nights, mainly due to our laziness and not wanting to go through the hassle of having to pack up our homes again and move.


Our time in Hanoi was pretty much spent wandering the many streets of the old quarter. This may sound boring to some, but its quite an experience, there is literally a street for just about everything. Want some christmas decorations? Visit christmas decoration street, 50+ meters of shops selling all kinds of santas, tinsel, bobble, star, tree etc etc you could imagine. How about some chinese herbal medicine? 15+ stores stocking every kind of dolphin, shark or whale fin. Not for you? How about some lollies, check out sweet street, enough sweets to turn a nation diabetic. Sweets rotting your teeth? Just cruise on over to toiletries street and grab a tooth brush. It really is an awesome sight to behold.

If we weren't walking the streets we were stuffing our faces, Hanoi is a haven for delicious food. There are countless cafe's, street food stalls, Bia Hoi corners, full blown restaurants, coffee shops, food carts, women carrying doughnuts in baskets, kwikie marts, and ice cream parlours. One of my favourite places for eating was a small nameless street food stall, look for it during the day and you would never find it. No this was one of those sneaky ones; in the day resembling a functioning shoe stall, by night however this was one of the hottest street food restaurants for a hundred miles (ok maybe thats a little far). Punters flock to the 30cm high tables and equally high stools to experience dining that would make any germophobe pass out in shock. The lot this restaurant (if you can call it that) sits on is no longer or wider than a 10m long stretch of foot path. At a guess I'd say there would be at least 50 people crammed onto this tiny space. For this reason Food, beer, napkins and chopsticks coat the floor in something that resembles a gutter more than it does a restaurant, I love it.


The food is fantastic, bursting with flavour and every meal is a very respectable, waist enlarging size. Not only does it taste great its also cheap. What more could you want? Once we had finished eating, we spent the rest of our time chilling in our hotel, its a funny thing when you travel for a period of time longer than the usual 2-3 week mid year holiday. You need to find ways of filling your days that doesn't involve spending too much money. Drinking beer and relaxing is a worthy solution.

We did however manage to do a few activities, we experienced the Thang Long water puppet show and we paid Ho Chi Minh a visit.
The water puppets were fascinating, a centuries old tradition that is passed down for generation to generation. The puppets are controlled by puppeteers who sit behind a bamboo screen and control the puppets with bamboo poles that are submerged. You can only see the puppet dancing around on the water. The show depicts the daily activities of rice farmers back in the day. The comedy thats seen in the show in strikingly familiar to a lot of the chinese slapstick type shows that play 24/7 on the T.V here. It's interesting that the culture lives on in modern television.


On our second last day we finally managed to drag ourselves out of bed early enough to go and visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. It took us 5 attempts to get up early enough to visit his resting site. The site is only open from 8am to 11am and you need to be there early to beat the queues. Visiting Ho Chi Minh is a very surreal experience, I have never been to a funeral, let alone seen a dead body, let alone again one who has been deceased for 42 years! You arrive at the grounds that are heavily guarded, hand your bags over, and walk through a scanner just like the ones at an airport. You are then guided into the mausoleum single file, hands by your side (not in your pockets), sunglasses removed from your head, and hushed along by the guards.
Ho Chi Minh himself is resting in a giant granite tomb/building. The tomb is temperature controlled and is quite cool and musty smelling. As you walking into the dimly lit room you catch your first glimpse of Ho Chi Minh, encased in a glass coffin with a soft warm light illumination his lifeless body. He is flanked by 6 guards, 3 on each side dressed in bleach white uniforms, looking dead ahead with motionless faces. A very strange experience.


The next day we left for Hong Kong, another short flight at 80mins. On this flight we actually got full meal that included prawn salad, black bean beef and rice, bread roll, cake and BEER! It was good plane food too! Coming up 7 nights in Hong Kong. Time to buy shit!



Posted by Joel-Renee 07:33 Archived in Vietnam

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is it weird that I got to the end and saw 'Joel' and then realized I had een reading along as if it were Renee writing! like I heard Renee's voice in my head.. hahaha I think you guys have merged into one being <3
keep on keeping on with the posts!
loving the pics Jolene x

by candilawson

Hahaha maybe if he hadn't of been so slack up til now with posting you'd have half expected it. I dont think I'm one for writing 'gon git' however, so there were tell tale clues from line one haha :P
He's taken some great pics so far... Looking forward to Mongolia for snow pics! x

by Joel-Renee

hey guys
it sounds like you are having an amazing time!
I am loving these posts and your writing...its freaking amazing I am 200% jealous haha.
Take care and look after yourselves.

by Jelly

Hi Brenda and Boris! Am loving the pics and the tales as well. Stay safe in the crazy land of China.
Mum xoxo

by Toni

haha i'm with Candi on this one...apart from 'gon git' of course. You guys are cute, finishing each others sentences and stuff i'll bet haha!!

by Kails

hahahha SEEEEE i wasn't the only one :)

by candilawson

Thanks guys. We're enjoying writing them for you :) and yep.. totally finishing each others sentences by now - that's real love ;) R x

by Joel-Renee

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