Vietnam...the wakeup call

Hanoi Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
Taxi mayhem from Noi-Bai airport
As the plane descended over the green blanket of rice paddies and tropical jungle, images flashed through my mind of soldiers making this same journey 40 years earlier.
A soundtrack played in my head of those amazing songs that will forever be a reminder of this most futile of conflicts. Songs like "The Letter" by The Box Tops (Joe Cocker did an excellent cover as well!) and "Run Through The Jungle" by Creedence Clearwater Revival echoed through as I contemplated the rich history I was soon to be enveloped in and the impact it had had on modern Vietnam.

I've always been interested in history and the Vietnam War was something I had been fascinated by as a result of brilliant movies I'd seen and many books and articles I've read over the years. I knew this country was definitely going to be a highlight of the entire trip.
The view from the hostel rooftop

Disembarking from the plane at Noi-Bai Airport, the contrast between Vietnam and the clean, Western stylings of Kuala Lumpur gave me my first solid feeling that I was in another culture. This was further compounded the moment we had thrown ourselves into the back of a taxi and taken off down the highway en route to Hanoi proper.

As giant billboards whizzed by, motorbike riders weaved in and out of the heavy traffic. It seemed like utter chaos yet everyone seemed to know exactly what they were doing. Families of four on one bike, bikes piled with bundles of produce twice as high as the rider on another, we were kept busy trying to capture these astounding scenes on camera.

A fair amount of time later we were dropped off outside a small street, halfway down it was our hostel.
Hanoi streets on the first night
Through some internet research we had found this place run by two Aussies, which seemed like a great port of call for the first couple of nights in a new country.

Once we had found our beds and settled in, it was up to the rooftop for dinner,
which in true Aussie style was a BBQ!
We grabbed a burger and a beer and got to know some fellow travellers staying with us. After a few hours spent talking and watching a movie, Ben and I decided to do a little exploring of the surrounding streets by night.

We checked out a market type of area with some shops a couple of blocks away and generally just roamed around getting a feel for the place. At one point I saw some locals playing hackeysack with what looked bizarrely like a shuttlecock and nearly went over to join in.
But caution got the better of me and after a little more exploring we headed back and hit the hay.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Taxi mayhem from Noi-Bai airport
Taxi mayhem from Noi-Bai airport
The view from the hostel rooftop
The view from the hostel rooftop
Hanoi streets on the first night
Hanoi streets on the first night
Wheres the copyright lawyers? Haha
Where's the copyright lawyers? Haha
photo by: mario26