Good Morning Vietnam


I had a really good flight into Vietnam, less turbulent than all my other flights in SEA.  I jumped into a waiting taxi and headed to the hostel where I was staying.  The Ghecko is located right in the middle of the old district, really close to all the niche tourist shops and travel agencies.  It was a little pricier than some other hostels but still suffering from food poisoning I wanted to ensure that if I had to drive the porcelain bus, I would do so on a relatively clean one.

I tried to get some sleep hoping that when I wake up I’d feel much better, of course I didn’t.  It was until a few days later that I would feel perky.  I felt sorry for Jonas at this point, as when he arrived he was ready to hit the town, grab some food etc.  I on the other hand just wanted to drink water and eat plain digestive biscuits.

Our room in Hanoi

So the first day and a half was pretty pants; and then as I was getting better Jonas had a dodgy Italian dish and was suffering for the next few days.

I must say I was a little bit disappointed with Hanoi itself.  Whilst my itinerary didn’t allow time for to go outside of the main city towards the coast, I was hoping that the main areas would offer a lot more than what actually had to offer.

Nonetheless the people here were very friendly, especially at the hostel and I only had trouble once with a dodgy taxi driver.

I came across a couple getting their wedding photos
taken so thought I'd take one too!

Jonas and I visited an old prison dubbed the Hanoi Hilton by for American POW’s. It was the place that housed John McCain (2008 republican presidential nominee – the one had Sarah Palin as his VP nominee!).  The cool bit being - and the bit we really wanted to see, was the flight suit and parachute he had on at the time when he was captured.

When we left, a taxi was outside and we hopped in to head to Pizza Hut (Jonas was dying for a pizza hut since getting better).  As we trundled down the road Jonas (sat in the back, I in the front) noticed the meter was doubling and going up really quickly.  The price was twice as expensive as it should have been, and me being built on principles refused to pay.

I offered him 30k instead of 60k, contesting that the meter was faulty.  He then snatched 50k out of my hands as to which i took his car keys and got out; then threw them to Jonas.  After some arguing he gave Jonas the 50k back in exchange for the keys (he already 30k of my money) and yet came to me demanding more.

Jonas, thinking that matter had finished was walking towards the mall, where I was continuing to argue with him further and as I was turned to walk away he banged my head with his fist trying to break my Oakleys that I was wearing.  I was taken totally surprised by this and was ready to politely respond back but he had already got back to his car and drove off.

Fortunately my Oakleys were okay - they've survived many a snowboard crash over the years.  

This guy was clearly angered and embarrassed that we caught him out, and I must say that every other taxi driver I had in those few days were brilliant, and always telling me about the different sites (acting as a tour guide).  So that was just one bad apple that you find in every country including (if not more so) Europe and America.

Using a mobile whilst driving and with you kid through very busy traffic

Central Hanoi (you can click the pictures to enlarge)

The street our hotel was located

After a few days in Hanoi we headed down to HCM (also known as Saigon) by overnight train, which was a pleasant ride and went buy really quick (I think I’m getting used to them now).

As we arrived we had no time to spare and jumped straight onto a bus to head to Cambodia; a six-hour ride through some impressive scenery.


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