Hanoi, Vietnam – Day 1 – December 27, 2015

May 17, 2016 3:24PM JST

 

I actually stayed at the airport for extra 8 hours due to booking too late for the morning flight. Fabian and Marta were set off to go and neither of them showed much enthusiasm saying goodbye to me but it was expected so I felt neither angry nor sad. Eventually, I found a seat to relax, until the Malaysian girl, Abhirrami, whom I met back in Yangon – the one who I met at the airport and stayed with her in her room last minute on the first day – patted on my left shoulder from behind! I definitely wasn’t expecting her there and I was so happy to see her that I felt like uniting with an old friend. I could also talk to someone for the remaining hours I stayed until my flight and not getting bored.

 

While we were together, we were both tired, and so we rested most of the time. My first priority was to book my flight, so I set off booking the flight, which was troublesome, because Internet was very slow and people at the airport couldn’t book for me. Eventually, I found a flight that was cheaper than the ones that they were offering in-person and bought.

 

During our time together, we talked about the time of our trip when we lost each other in Yangon. We didn’t talk much before we got on the bus to Bagan, which I was worried at the time that she might not even make to the bus, because it was the bus I recommended her and she made a last-minute decision to book on site. She stayed at a different hostel and we never met again afterward. Finally, we met, and we were both suddenly curious of each other’s trip thereafter.

 

Her trip was more luxurious than me, and of course, it was because she was carrying a huge luggage all the time. She took taxi (or something like that) to visit each pagodas. She didn’t know how to ride motorbike just like me. Although we talked about these, we didn’t talk much in detail so I didn’t know whether she made new friends or travelled together with them.

 

When it was time to eat a little as we were both hungry, we carried our belongings with us outside the gate. We had to talk to the gate patrol to give access to us to go outside. There was a long line of people waiting to come in. We had to be quick with the food.

 

I knew the way because I already went outside earlier because I had to exchange Burmese money to Vietnamese money. I kept some bills and coins as it would be cool to make them as a collection as not many people go to Myanmar. I led the way to the building next to our building as our building had no food shops. The next building was arrival. We quickly found a burger shop and quickly bought burgers and drinks along the way. There was no seat for us so I randomly found a table with a lone girl sitting with an empty chair next to her. Abhirrami didn’t want to stay there so she went back and stayed at the same spot and needed to relax. I remained at the shop and talked to the girl at the table alone.

 

I completely thought the girl was a local because she was reading about coffee shops in Myanmar and I thought she was learning it for working at the airport. Apparently, she was from Ho Chi Minh City and she was waiting for her boyfriend. She noted that she didn’t want to come to Myanmar but her boyfriend loved Myanmar and wanted to come again. She loved coffee so she wanted to discover good coffee shops in Myanmar, as well as good restaurants. I recommended her Shan Noodle 999, the noodle place where I ate with fellow travelers from the hostel during my stay in Yangon before departing the city to Bagan. I took photo with her as a memory of my trip and promised to send her the photo through e-mail or Facebook. We said goodbye and I hurried off to my rest area to join Abhirrami.

 

When it was time for me to leave, it was also her time to leave. She was off to her home, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and I, to Hanoi, Vietnam. Our flights were only ten minutes apart. We stayed in line and met again later in the terminal about an hour before our flights. We walked around the hallway and looked around at various shops. There were not much to see, since they were all same at gift shops in the city.

 

Not much else to do, we said goodbye and promised to see each other again during my trip to Malaysia at the end of my vacation.

 

……..

 

It was quite late when I arrived in Hanoi. The flight was about 6 hours long with a ~3 hour layover and a 1-hour delay in Don Muang (DMK), a smaller airport in Bangkok. There were not many people at the airport. I was looking for shuttle buses but none would start if they were full. I asked the closest bus driver which terminal is has higher chance of getting full. He told me of another terminal, which was international. I thanked him and took the airport bus there. There was also a family of four Koreans looking for shuttle bus at the domestic terminal.

 

By the time I got to the international terminal, there was a shuttle bus with someone it but I still had to wait for more people to come. Surely, there were more people at the international terminal than the one I just came from. Before it became packed, the Koreans that I saw earlier also came. The family consisted of parents, daughter, and son. They sat in front of me and the son talked to me and was curious where I came from – which was very common while I travel and people always thought I am from China which I am always dreadful since I am not fond of Chinese because of my childhood.

 

The Son was in Hanoi two weeks (or days?) prior than his family. He was travelling solo first then his family joined him. The destination for most of the people on the bus was Old Quarter, which is really Downtown area of Hanoi, where most people stay. Since the Son and I talked a bit and I did not have Internet and he had, he used Google map to locate my hostel. We found out that their hotel and hostel were the same direction so we walked together to my street. They were excited to go for Vietnamese massage. The Korean family was very friendly. I don’t think his parents understood our conversation, but maybe a little bit, and we get a great time together.

 

Source: 123RF

 

Once I arrived at my street, I looked on. It was a narrow street with tour shops and hostels along the way. I got lost a bit and couldn’t find my hostel. It was, in fact, very easy to find the hostel – the name was slightly different from the name I had. The hostel was highly recommended on Trip Advisor or Hostel World. At only $7 AUS (I don’t know why it’s in Australian money, but probably the owner is Australian), the Vietnam Backpackers Hostel (the Original) was great – it had four floors of one or two bunk bed room on each floor with separate toilets and showers. There two parts of stairs within the hostel, each floor with one or two bunker beds. Its lobby looked great too, with computers lined up by the entrance. Its counter had an Australia and local Vietnamese working for the hostel. The dining area was well spaced out and would be relaxing to eat food there.

 

 

Source: Hostelz

Tired from my late trip from the airport, I hardly noticed of these descriptions mentioned above, until the next morning. I quickly informed them that I had booked with them for few nights and were ready to go to bed.