Bangkok to Hanoi, Vietnam

In Bangkok, many of the cabs have these funny stickers on the windows (‘farang’ means ‘foreigner’):

We stayed on Khao Sarn Rd, which is not only the backpackers hub of Bangkok, but also a big party at night and a bustling marketplace during the day and into the night.

Concepts of hygiene vary from place to place, and in SE Asia it is more common than not to see an animal of some sort in a restaurant, either pets or strays. This cat came in and decided to chill beside Jos on a bench as we ate supper.

We also organised our entry visas for Vietnam, so Jos and Ron needed photos taken (I already had some).

We got to the Bangkok airport in the morning and as we went through the final security check, noticed this bin for disposing of items that are banned onboard. It was mainly filled with dozens of pairs of scissors, as well as finger nail cutters, a hunting knife, and at least two guns! The guns are circled in this pic:

We arrived in Hanoi safe and sound just after noon and after finding a place to stay, headed out to eat. Ron and I saw pigeon on the menu and couldn’t resist.

It was delicious!

We also made a visit to the ATM, and I took out 1,000,000 dong. I was a millionaire! Of course, 1 million Vietnam dong is only about $75 Canadian…

Our room was quite nice, but the hotel was less than great in terms of service and honesty… more on that another time perhaps. Let’s just say we’re all writing letters to the tourism authority, and the Lonely Planet publishers about this particular place. I’ll leave it at that.

We went walking around the area in the old quarter of Hanoi, and stumbled onto this free open air concert. It was a sort of talent show almost, a variety show. Pretty cool stuff.

Crossing the street in Hanoi is pretty crazy. At first, it’s downright scary. The traffic never stops moving, so anyone walking or driving just has to go at a medium pace, rarely stopping and never speeding or making any sudden moves, and everyone just steers around each other. Very organised chaos.

In order to get across the really crazy intersections, we used locals as guides. That is, we’d see a local crossing and stick beside them like glue and avoid getting hit. On one particular crossing I used these four tiny pyjama-clad children to get across the street!

Now we’re fine at crossing ourselves, but I still wouldn’t be comfortable riding a bike or driving a motorcycle around Hanoi.

To see what the traffic was like, the only real way is to watch a video. Ron took this short vid of one of the less crazy intersections. To view it, please RIGHT CLICK on the link below, and save the file to your computer by choosing the “Save Target As” option in IE, or the “Save Link As” option in Firefox. You need QuickTime media player to open it (most people already have this program but you can download it free online… just google “quicktime”).