Day 0 – Wednesday 21st October 2015
The day had finally come! We got up nice and early to do our last minute ‘need on the day’ packing, and left for Heathrow Airport. The M25 was ridiculously busy, but luckily I had factored in more than enough time to get there. Our flight was at 2.45pm and the morning leading up to it went really quickly!
Day 1 – Thursday 22nd October 2015
I’d never been on a long haul flight before, so wasn’t sure what to expect. We didn’t have a stop on our flight so it was 11hrs to Ho Chi Minh airport, where we would then need to catch another flight to Hanoi. Our flight to Ho Chi Minh was fine – I watched a few films, but didn’t sleep a wink. We landed at around 9am Vietnamese time, but only had 45 minutes to catch our next flight, which was impossible! Us and a number of others had to get the next one an hour later, which sent me into a panic because the tour guide that was meeting us wouldn’t know that we were going to be on the next flight instead. The connecting flight was only a little under 2hrs, but once we landed we couldn’t find anybody. We were in Vietnam with no clue as to where to go. Luckily, another couple spotted me with the Kuoni book, and the information desk called the hotel who then contacted the tour guide. We were saved!
So after all of that, we got on a minibus and got taken to our first hotel, The Sunway in Hanoi. The traffic was insane. Everybody has a moped, it’s like their family car. You’ll have mum, dad, two kids and the shopping all on one little moped, all of them weaving in and out amongst each other. It was crazy scary at first, but was something we got used to within a week of being there. It was crossing the road that was more challenging, that I’ll come to later… It was really weird that it was the next day, we got to our hotel around 2pm. We were tired. I mean like if we sat down our eyes were just closing involuntarily. We had a welcome dinner with our tour group that evening so decided it was best to stay awake.
(Our first hotel room, The Sunway, Hanoi)
After we had met everybody at the dinner, it was time for a talk on Vietnamese History by a local historian. Now I was looking forward to this kind of thing, learning about their culture. But my god, I just could hardly keep my eyes open and don’t remember anything he said (or that Duy our tour guide translated). All I remember is him showing us how to use chopsticks… We had only four couples in our group, which made it quite nice and not too overwhelming.
So 36 hours later we went to bed. Two days of travelling down, time to start the tour properly!
(Sorry for lack of photos in this post – there was nothing to see, just some boring airports!) Featured image: Me and Adrian on a dug out canoe on one of the trails of Mekong Delta, Can Tho, Day 11)
Creative Cowell x