Border Crossing- Hanoi At Last

Nanning Travel Blog

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I ended up sleeping really well on my plank bed with courtesy door mat in place of a matress. AFTER LEAVING MY CAMERA ON THE TRAIN!! :(

On another train to Pingxiang. Had a hard time finding out where to buy a train ticket ut asked these Americans who were helpful. Sat opposite some woman with her little baby son and tried to make conversation. He ended up spitting chewing gum all over the floor and as everyone was getting off they stared as if it were us! Finally got to Pingxiang and some guy approached us straight away for a taxi to the border. He said 40yuan for both of us and since my info sheet/guide said 80yuan we took it. Turned out to be our first motorbike taxi with gypsy carrier thing on the back, that our bags could've fallen out of at any time. We were going so slow that another one overtook us and we saw fellow Whities so we were reassured. The guy waved at me but the girl ignored Livia haha. Finally got to the border and paid with no trouble. I say we got to the border, but we still had to walk up this hill for like 300m and then through some sort of square/ water foundtain that seemed to attract alot of visitors. With signs in Chinese and Vietnamese it was all a bit confusing. Bare in mind this was my first border crossing. We ended up going into the Chinese immigration ccontrol which was all nicely organised and efficient. Some woman guard showed me to the front of the queue which is a first because usually the Chinese push infront of us. We got through, no problems. Walked through no mans land and cross the time/ Vietnam-China border without realising.

Then we got to the Vietnamese immigration 'control'. Basically we crowded round the post office type window. Saw what everybody else was doing and threw our passports at somebody. Finally got through it all and out the other side. My plan was to get a taxi to Dong Dang andthen a bus to Hanoi.

It almost happened.

Some taxi man said $8 to Dong Dang, we started haggling with his phone number pad, I got it down to 4. Then we got into his taxi after seeing two people getting in one similar as well. He drove past Dong Dang and insisted we were going to Hanoi which was fine by me but he wasn't getting more than $4! Then he drove into Lang Son which is further than Dong Dang so I didn't mind until we reached a scary alleyway with loads of men and he tried to drive off with our bags. We still only paid him $4. Long story short: we ended up getting in their little minibus all the way to Hanoi for $5 which is just a bit more than the train would have cost. Anyway, we were still with the border people who we realised were the ones that waved to us on the taxi motorbike thing. We ended up getting dinner with them and stayed in the same dorm in Hanoi Spirit Club ($3/night) Later on we went to a Bia Hoi place and had a pint for 3,000 dong (12p!!!)

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photo by: davidfeng