Here’s the map I used for sightseeing when I was in Hanoi, thought I would share it with you. Hanoi was kind of difficult to get around in. I like to walk when I’m sightseeing but the traffic in Hanoi was grueling… I would recommend two days in Hanoi. There’s so much to see in Vietnam so I wouldn’t spend too many days in Hanoi, not my favorite city of the country.
As many of you know by now I’m quite addicted to coffee. It’s not the most harmful addiction, but I guess it isn’t the best either. Studies do show some good things about coffee though, like the decreased risk of dementia and breast cancer. But that’s another story altogether.
When traveling, being a coffee addict isn’t always easy. Like when you arrive at a border crossing halfway through a 26 hour bus ride, at 7.30 in the morning and have to stand outside in the cold for more than half an hour in the wait for the bloody thing to open and all you can think is that you need a coffee… Not my best moment. I did, for a brief second, consider adding some instant coffee to my cold water… Thought better of it though.
Usually I like my coffee strong, and of course without milk or sugar (which you have to be extra fast to say here in Thailand, otherwise your coffee will arrive full of sugar), but I have to say that the coffee in Vietnam was a bit too strong and bitter for my liking. You probably could eat it with a spoon. Which is otherwise a joke you hear about coffee in Sweden…
So yeah, if you don’t like strong and bitter coffee, stick to americanos when you’re in Vietnam (well, of course you have to try the vietnamese coffee, but if you’re anything like me, don’t try it when you really need coffee).
After this trip I kind of feel like an expert on night buses, and the verdict is: after some initial doubt I kind of like them. I’ve never had a problem sleeping in a bus, but these are definitively more comfortable for really sleeping during the night. I like not wasting a day on traveling, and you get to see quite a lot of nice views and parts of a country you wouldn’t see from a plane. And you save one night of accommodation. It’s a win-win-win situation really.
I took a sleeper bus from Luang Prabang to Hanoi, from Hoi An to Nha Trang and from Nha Trang to Saigon. The first one was quite long, 24 hours and even if it went totally fine for me I guess some people might get bored out of their minds…
The only problem I encountered was that even if I’m not extremely tall (175 cm) it was a bit difficult to stretch my legs in some of the buses, but I could live with that. Taller people might get bigger problems though. There were plenty of tall backpackers on the buses and they seemed to do fine with not stretching out but sleep with their knees bent, so if you’re okay with that I guess it’s no problem.
I just realized I forgot to tell you about new years in Hue. I had a really dodgy internet connection there so I couldn’t update my blog. As you might remember I took the overnight train from Hanoi to Hue. I arrived, a couple of hours delayed, in the morning of the 31st. At the train station I ran into a british guy that was going to the same hostel as me so we shared a cab there.
The hostel (Hue’s Backpackers) had really nice balconies but not the best view. They did however have really nice showers. And we were told that after some money had changed hands the hostel bar would be allowed to be open until 1 am, so the party was going down there.
Before the celebrations the Englishman and I did some sightseeing. Saw the citadel and the pagoda, took a boat down the river. Had a lot of fun.
Then we both headed back to the hostel to get ready for the new years celebration. I shared room with two american girls, Amy and one I can’t remember the name of (Sorry!) but we got ready and headed downstairs.
Maybe Hue wasn’t the most exiting place to celebrate new years (they don’t celebrate our new years in Vietnam) but I had a lot of fun. The bar had some crazy specials and somehow I got tricked into playing beer-pong with the english guy against two americans. Don’t know why we thought it would be a good idea, but it was fun even if we lost.
Four minutes late we did a countdown and everyone wished each other a happy new year.
The sleeper bus rolled into Nha Trang early, before the sun had risen on the sky. I made my way to the beach the first thing I did. Even without the sun the weather was mild and lots of people were up and about at six am a sunday morning.
I watched the sun rise from the beach. A beautiful way to start a morning. It was such a calm morning, even if I was far from alone on the beach.
The rest of the day passed in a blur. Eating, sightseeing, shopping, eating, sightseeing.
At the end of the day I just caught the sun go down before I had to jump onto the back of a motorcycle taxi to get to the bus station. Yet another sleeper bus was waiting.
And now I’m back home in Rangsit. Exhausted but happy. Content.
So, today is my last day in Hoi An. I’ve really liked it here. I haven’t really done much, mostly walked around, eaten lots of good food and done some more walking.
This morning I checked out of the hotel I’ve been saying in, but my bag is still there and I’m heading back at 5.30 pm to be picked up by the bus to Nha Trang. It’s a sleeper bus and I’ll be down in Nha Trang by six am tomorrow morning.
Since I’m, unfortunately once again short on time I’m only going to spend a day on Nha Trang and then jump on yet another sleeper bus and head down to Saigon. I’m looking into changing my flight back to Bangkok, because I would like some time to actually see Saigon as well, but it looked very expensive… So I’ll see how it’ll go.