From Vang Vieng we planned to go straight to Hanoi, Vietnam. We were considering to go there by night bus leaving in Vientiane. But after reading so many horror stories all over the internet we bought a flight from Vientiane to Hanoi. The problem wasn’t actually that there were so many bad stories but the travel time of 27 – 30 hours by bus from Vientiane and another 4 – 5 hours from Vang Vieng to get to the Sleeperbus station in the Capital of Laos. The Flight was about 120 Euros each and another 6 Euros for the 4 – 5 hours bus ride to get to the airport. Fair enough.
So we arrived at 9 something o’clock in Hanoi and got a pickup car to the hotel. Immigration went really fast as we already had our visa for Vietnam. And when we left the inner part of the airport it was the first time in my life someone was waiting with my name on a paper at the airport to pick me up, smooth! 45 minutes later we arrived at our hotel “Hanoi Old Center Hotel”. We got a free room upgrade for our 3 nights stay when we arrived!
The next day we booked a trip to the north of Vietnam, Sapa. Since a little more then one year they have an express bus straight up there from Hanoi and it takes you 5 – 6 hours without changing in some place between.
After doing the organizational stuff we went for some sightseeing as the weather was perfect for this. Nice 24 degrees Celsius but the next days are getting colder. We explored the old city center directly in our neighborhood and tried to manage all the traffic with a huge amount of motorbikes!
In the evening we found a nice place to have some Spanish tapas and a bottle of wine. Jamon Serrano, Croquetas, Patatas fritas, Pulpo and other delicious things.
And the next day was Valentines Day and all the city got crazy. Selling bunches of roses all over the city and decorations with hearts in all different colors. We went to visit the Temple of Literature “Confucius Temple” (Văn Miếu) together with so many other people and attended some ceremony they had there this day. The temple hosts the Imperial Academy, Vietnam’s first national university and was built in the year 1070 at the time of King Lý Thánh Tông.
We also had a short interview session with some Vietnamese English students what was quit funny 🙂
The two days passed really fast with a little bit of shopping, sightseeing, eating and drinking and we had to prepare us for our trip to Sapa. Actually it was getting really cold and our set of cloths contained t-shirts, shorts, swimming equipment but nothing to survive temperatures below 8 degrees Celsius. But luckily there are so many shops selling Trekking equipment!
The “Hanoi Old Center Hotel” was a really good choice for a short trip to Hanoi. A lot of good things to do in the neighborhood, good restaurants, markets, next to Hồ Hoàn Kiếm “Lake of the Returned Sword” and very friendly and helpful staff!