Travel Report Hanoi, Vietnam

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Travel Report Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam
one stop on Wendy's & Joe's world tour 2004/05



Kind of travel: Travelling alone
Year of this voyage: 2004
Author's age: 30-45 years

Journal Update 28th June 2004 / Hanoi, Vietnam
We arrived in Hanoi about 2 hours ago after a pretty smooth plane ride on Vietnam Airlines. We thought it was going to be a lot worse, but it was a breeze, (the only thing we wouldn't recommend is the in-flight catering SPAM SPAM SPAM and that is the vegetarian option!). We had quite a few Viet VIPs on the plane, one was nearly killed by a hard briefcase that fell frequently out of the over head lockers onto his head, but he seemed to take it in his stride. They were met by a delegation from the military at the airport with a huge bouquet of flowers and much handshaking and back slapping.

We seemed to have found a good place to stay which is in the heart of the Old Quarter in downtown Hanoi. The only problem is - there are more people and motorcycle traffic than you can shake a stick at. Literally there are thousands and thousands of people milling around either shouting, or beeping their horns. We both have stonking headaches already. It is very atmospheric though and again feels quite French. There is a beautiful lake down the road, where this evening everyone was practicing their Thai Chi. We are off to sample the next local brew as Joe has now finished his last Beer Lao.

Journal Update 29 June 2004 / Hanoi
Good Evening Vietnam and
Good Morning Switzerland and UK

Nothing on earth could ever prepare you for the madness of this city. I cannot emphasize enough the sheer level of noise and visual spectacle at every turn. You can only walk in single file, if you can walk at all, as there are motorbikes everywhere.

The only people walking are the western visitors and the vendors carrying their wares on bamboo poles with baskets attached to each end to balance them out. It is a great place for bringing on a cardiac arrest!!! Bangkok is a walk in the park in comparison.

Joe has a new beer to sample, this one is call Bia Ha Noi and he says at 3.8% it tastes like piss compared to his beloved Beer Lao. He has however tried another brew which he is very excited about, which is a French lager called 333.

We have moved hotels today, just because we couldn't sleep last night as the bibbing horns and general noise went on all night as the room faced the main road (even though we had ear plugs in). So today we had a mad dash through town in a cab to find another place, which involved being tailed by a really sad guy on a motorbike who wanted us to stay at his hotel. Joe went in to the new place to check out the room whilst I baby sat the bags in the cab and the guy kept opening the door and with hands clasped begged me to follow him. The new place is called The Time Hotel and is in the shoe street of the old quarter. We have noticed that all the roads carry a particular trade such as shoe makers, dress makers, toy shops etc. After being in laid back, beautiful Laos it is difficult because you need to be constantly aware of your surroundings.

The cyclo is like the rickshaws in Penang. We got a great picture of us on the cycle with the guy waving in the background. The buildings here could be in the centre of Paris, The Opera House is particularly impressive.

The food has been great too, so far we have tried; Vietnamese spring rolls, noodle soup broth, roll your own pancakes stuffed with sugar, peanuts, tofu and sliced cucumber with rice noodles.

Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam


Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam

Journal Update Sunday 4th July (Happy Independence Day) / Hanoi, Vietnam
Here is our current status for today:
We have been mad busy the last couple of days and can you believe Lazy Joe has been getting out of bed a 6.00am (ish)! We have discovered that it is physically impossible to cope with the midday heat so we have resolved to stay in from midday to 2.00pm with our feet in a fridge!

Yesterday we visited Halong Bay which is about 3 and a half hours drive out of Hanoi. It was a fantastic experience although the extreme heat has been the worst we have encountered yet. With humidity as high as 90% and a temperature of around 102° but hey it is summer here also (sorry about the miserable UK weather ha ha).

After we drove down to the bay we took a junk boat around the harbor and were surrounded by the most incredible lime stone cliffs. They served a fantastic banquet on the boat of whole fish garnished with ginger and scallions. There were also about another 5 dishes but unfortunately our table did not have much of an appetite. Even Joe was struggling to eat or drink anything and even passed up a beer!

The boat stopped so people could dive off and swim and one man stripped down to his Calvin Klein pants, which I thought was very brave of him, especially when he lost them when he jumped in. We met some ace people on the boat, who were a very cosmopolitan bunch as Joe observed. One German couple lived in China and told us about their lives in Bejing, and another couple lived in Hong Kong and they were Dutch and Canadian. The other two were French and Japanese. We have decided that we must visit Hong Kong whilst we are away probably fly from Bali for a long weekend (how cool).

Joseph Brilus
Joseph Brilus

Wendy Brierley
Wendy Brierley


We decided to blow the deposit for a house on a grand world tour through 2004. We booked through STA travel and put together a brief itinerary including the Far East, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. As it turned out we experienced China, Bali, Fiji and many more places in between.

We decided to end the trip with a wedding in Las Vegas (which was very memorable!) As a wedding present my brother put together an on-line travel blog for us which was a great tool for documenting our journey. This experience truly changed our lives and we encountered many fantastic people through out the world. I hope you enjoy reading some highlights of our journal!

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Today we paid our respects to Uncle Ho. We were shocked at what a hot ticket this appears to be for the Vietnamese, even after this period of time, there is still an endless stream of Vietnamese, who revere him highly. The mausoleum is very impressive and very communist, both in its architecture and military presence. We witnessed his embalmed body on display which was very surreal and a bit spooky, especially on a Sunday morning at 7.00am. For some reason I couldn't stop humming The Michael Jackson track Thriller in my head throughout and expected him to rise from the coffin and do the moon walk. But he does occasionally get out as for four months of the year he goes on holiday to Russia for a trip and a touch up.

Later we went to The Army Museum which houses captured artillery and downed planes from the conflicts with the French colonialists and The Imperialist Americans. Joe had a great time hanging out with our Vietnamese driver, who has taken us around the last few days and thoroughly enjoyed himself taking photos of all the planes and tanks. Tomorrow we are off to Hue (hopefully it will cool down a bit and there is less likely hood of being run down by a million scooters packed with ducks, chickens and small children).

Wendy Brierley

a further stop on Wendy's & Joe's world tour 2004/05

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World Tour Travel Reports from Wendy & Joe:
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Travel Report Hanoi, Vietnam