Monday, October 10, 2011

The end of the multi entries visa to Vietnam: Hanoi and Sapa

This time we are visiting B in his new home town and are planning to use all his knowledge before he disappears to Hong Kong.
Friday evening arrival, we meet without even using mobile phone (I bet that hasn't happened since the 90's) and we start exploring the city's roof bars. It's full of expats, it feels like being in Singapore apart from the curfew...
Saturday is dedicated to eating and drinking. I had made an attempt at convincing the boys to take a cooking class but no apparently they prefer going directly for the finished product! So after a nice breakfast at our hotel (that R didn't like), we stop for a bit of negotiation on a white roll that B had discovered the day before. It tastes a bit like brioche or sweet Singapore pau, but it's a bit dry so a minute later we stop for a sugar cane juice.
As we are good tourists, we buy a few souvenirs for family which is exhausting so we have another fresh fruit drink and some springrolls as appetisers which give us just enough energy to walk to the Market and have lunch! :-)

The last time we came to Hanoi, we went for lunch with R's family in a tiny street behind the Market, and it is still there! That's a nice change to be back to a place we have already been to. I like that, it's more relaxing, we don't spend all of our time looking at maps and guide book.
We have to abandon B pretty early as we are catching the night train to Sapa but we find some time during the afternoon to discover a well hidden roof bar: we went twice around the block before finding the entrance at the back of a souvenir shop, but it was worth it!

At 7.30pm, we board the night train to Sapa, the next 10h will be shared with au Australo-Canadian couple. It's not the most comfortable train as it's very shaky but we do get a couple of hours sleep before arriving to LaoCai (remember the beer a couple of posts ago?), right at the Chinese boarder. An hour later we are having breakfast in our hotel in Sapa with local girls from the Hmong ethny trying to sell us stuff from the entrance door.
At some point, we need to get out and they are all over us, they follow us everywhere. We finally decide to give in and agree on a deal: we'll first go shopping at the local Market to get supply for lunch, then we'll take a 6 km walk in the mountains to one of the girl's parents house where we will have lunch with the family and finally we'll continue the trek to another village before catching a ride back to Sapa. Here is the trip in photos:
On Monday, we take a different approach, we rent a motorbike and start exploring on our own: waterfall, quiet treck, another village.
By 5pm it's time to go back to the train station for another 10h ride to Hanoi which we reach at 4.30am. Here is a nice problem: what do you do at 4.30am in Hanoi?
First have a coffee, or a beef soup  as the locals! Then, by 5.30am get to the lake and do your exercise with the rest of the city! I made a few ladies laugh by trying to follow the tai chi lesson!
At 8am you are ready for breakfast, at 10, you are hanging in another of the Vietnam war museum and by 12 it's taxi to the airport with the weird feeling that it's lunch time but you have already had a full day of activities. May be I should get up early more often...
Here we go the multi entry visa has now expired, B is back in France and I'm typing this post on my way to New Zealand, so guess what is coming next?

1 comment:

  1. I love the picture of you during your gym. You look like really young!