Day 3: Sidewalk Around HanoiApril 10, 2006
We flew with Tiger Airways via Singapore to Hanoi from the budget terminal still at Changi International Airport Singapore.
We arrived in Hanoi, late afternoon and grasp the airport taxi to the city. We flew with Tiger Airways to Hanoi from the budget terminal still at Changi Airport complex.
We arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam late afternoon. Since we don’t have any reservations with a guest house/hotel, we needed taxi. We exchanged money and very excited when I get almost 2 million Dong from my 100 EUR bills. Wow… I am rich! We exited the terminal looking for an “official” taxi; something with a meter. Several young men approached offering a taxi which we politely refused until one of them thrust a wallet sized printed card in front of me announcing taxi US$10.00. It was a 45 minute ride into the city, and it was immediately obvious that traffic laws (the few that exist) are even more ignored here than in Jakarta.
Our driver layed on the horn every few minutes to tell motorcycle drivers that we were coming. And from the looks of it, it was good to let them know. Otherwise they would just swerve and turn in front of you with no warning. Most cars on the highway had their bright lights on as well. So it was a bumpy, blinding, swerving, and loud honking ride to the guest house. I decided that we would be doing no driving in Hanoi, in a car or a motorbike. Hehehe… I thought the streets of Jakarta were chaotic…
We stayed at Friendly Hotel in the old part of the city. It is a nice place – decent sized, clean rooms in a good location for US$18 for 3 person. After checking in we walked around the old town a bit, and around the Hoan Kiem Lake enjoying the cool breeze. The dinner – – shrimp nasi goreng consisted of 32.000 Dong (US$2)a big plate of noodles and a 70 cent bottle of bia ha noi. Welcome to Vietnam I thought. I was tired, wary and hotter than I’d ever been – it was dark outside, there were hundreds of motorbikes buzzing up and down the streets stirring up clouds of dust.
I found out about motorbikes. Almost everyone in Hanoi rides one. A Chinese made one costs USD500 and a better quality one made in Japan costs USD1,500. Huge bundles are transported on the back of these bikes. I saw towering bundles of furniture, vegetables and fruits (one man rode laden down with baskets of football-sized durians) and when he passed I noticed a final one tucked between his knees). Several times I saw two large pigs carried on the back of a motorbike. They were trussed up, placed side by side and upside down on their backs. They were alive but looked stunned, bouncing along in the heat and dust.
Singapore – Hanoi with Tiger Airways cost me Sing$ 69 (31 EUR).
Hotel per night/3 person USD$ 18 (5 EUR/person)
Meals : B/L/D : USD$ 2/person/meals (1,65 EUR)
Taxi from airport – city USD$ 10 (8,5 EUR)
Evening sight seeing :
Hoan Kiem Lake in the evening
Explore the night local lifestyle