December 22nd, 2007 – by: pauric_doherty
Our lovely guest house in Vientienne
Today was another travel day, flying from Vientienne (Laos) to Hanoi (Vietnam). Our
flight was at 14.10 so at about 10.30 we checked out of our guesthouse and got
a tuk-tuk to the airport. We had to be there about 2 hours before flight time
but we really didn't have much else to do so we headed off to the airport in
loads of time.
The airport was quiet and nice, security wasn't as difficult as
an international airport and the staff were all very laid back and friendly. We
had our flights booked with Vietnam
airlines but we flew with Laos
airline by propeller plane! It was the first time Caroline had flown on a
propeller plane and she was a little taken back by the noise and vibration of
The flight was uneventful, a little turbulence but the landing and take
off were very smooth. One nice addition to the flight was that we got given a
light lunch during the flight, a ham sandwich, choice of soft drinks, a small
piece of cake and a mandarin orange, a very tasty and pleasant surprise compard
the normal Ryanair flights I would take!!
Repairing a tuk-tuk with a little help from the gods above!!
The first thing we had to do on landing in Vietnam was get some
Vietnamese Dong, another currency that operated in 100's of thousands and
millions instead of using small deoninations like 10, 20 and 50 cent coins.
After finding an ATM machine here I was, a millionaire! For the first time in
my life I was actually a millionaire, all be it in Vietnamese Dong, I think
1,000,000 Dong was about €50 but hey, I was a millionaire!
After sorting out money, we enquired about modes of transport to
Halong Bay but we were told that there were no
buses running at this time and that there was no passenger train, the only way
to get there would be a taxi.
After asking a nearby taxi tout the cost to Halong Bay,
we quickly decided against a taxi, it was gonna cost us $200. The only option
open to us then was to stay in Hanoi for the
night and then make our way to Halong Bay tomorrow, so off we headed to Hanoi in a taxi.
Vientienne Regional Airport
We were dropped off in the old quarter of Hanoi right outside the taxi-driver friends
guest house, and after paying what we thought was a lot for the taxi, 450,000
Dong for a 45 minute journey, we weren't really in the mood for another rip
off. The guesthouse however wasn't too expensive, and they did arrange our bus
to Halong Bay for the following morning so overall
it wasn’t too bad.
The main area inside the airport .. as you can see .. very relaxed!
After getting our travel plans for Halong Bay
sorted, and our luggage put into our room we decided to head looking for
somewhere to have dinner. When we stepped out on the street we got our first
real taste of the hussle and bustle of Hanoi.
There were motorbikes everywhere, everyone was beeping the horn at everyone
else for no real reason other than to get out of their way. I thought it was
strange why they done this as everyone was doing it, if they managed to just
tell everyone not to do it then they would still get around just as efficiently
and the nloise levels would be far less. Crossing the road in a major city in Vietnam is
another feat, the traffic lights and pedestrian crossings mean nothing to
motorists, so you really are putting your life at risk just trying to cross the
Our Lao Airlines propeller plane!
It took us ages to find somewhere to eat. We were both very
hungry and wanted some western food, but all we could find were street vendors selling
local Vietnamese food. After about 20 minutes of wandering we found a
restaurant doing a varied buffet so we settled for that. It turned out to be
very nice with lots of different foods and second helpings as often as you
wanted. After the buffet we headed back to the guesthouse to get another early
night because we were to be up and ready for 8:30 the following day.