Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Hanoi, Vietnam 2007

Posted by Lisa Hill on October 8, 2007

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Almost two years to the day after our trip to Europe, Tim and I set off for a 16 day trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, on a small group tour with Travel IndoChina. Our plane to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) was late, but the connecting flight to Hanoi was late too, so it must have been a very long day for our tour guide, Long, and driver, Tien, by the time they’d rounded up the rest of our group at the Hanoi airport and escorted us to our hotel, the Guoman, in Ly Thuong Kiet St.

Perhaps they are used to it – Vietnam Airlines failed to impress in other ways too. All three meals were dreadful, and the service was desultory, to say the least. Definitely not recommended, but at least they didn’t lose our luggage (like Qantas did on the last leg of our journey back home, Sydney to Melbourne).

Our rooms were cool and comfortable, and the hotel had a pool but we were much too tired to do anything except fall into bed. The next morning, however, we took Long’s advice and braved an early morning walk round the block on our own – and discovered the Australian Embassy conveniently across the road. It’s a lovely building, and I bet the air conditioning is top-of-the-range, because even at the crack of dawn the heat was fierce.

We also discovered that everything they say about traffic in Vietnam is true. The photo shows light Sunday morning traffic in Hanoi, which is nothing compared to Saigon, but still pretty scary for novices!


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