Hanoi, Vietnam

EasyJet in Europe, easy, AirAsia in Asia, maybe easier. Flying around Asia from Bangkok is so simple. So when planning my next trip, Vietnam seemed a simple choice. The plan was to fly from BKK to Hanoi, spend an evening in Hanoi and then take a 2 day, 1 night trip to Ha Long Bay, then take a train to Ho Chi Minh. Planning was pretty minimal. All I really needed to do was to make sure my flight was booked to Hanoi and out of Ho Chi Minh, and reserve hostels. Easy. For traveling to Ha Long Bay, let me tell you folks, you do not need to book this way in advance. I was on a pretty tight schedule because of school, and I didn’t even book it in advance. All I did, was upon arrival to our hostel in Hanoi, ask our hotel manager “Peter” to arrange the 1 night trip for us. We paid for our hostel, then the trip and out for sight seeing we went. Hanoi, I think, is the most polluted city I have ever been to thus far. Every person is wearing a face mask, trying not to suck in the air. The number of mopeds is really truly crazy, way more intense than Bangkok. But, one thing really cool about Hanoi is street food. The Pho, of course is delicious, but what is even better is seeing people squat to eat it. Like squatting for prolonged periods of time is easier than standing. Funny. Now, even more funny is trying to do it yourself. Try it. Sit sumo squatted with your heels touching the floor while eating. It’s close to impossible for an Anglo. But, the Vietnamese are no stranger to it, it’s their norm. Hanoi, I think, is not what you expect from Vietnam. Somehow, I had imagined Vietnam to be cleaner than Thailand, more pristine. But, it wasn’t. Cleanliness wise, it was a step down, but in terms of edginess, it was lighter and softer than Bangkok. Imagine coughing fumes while swirling in light, that is how it felt. Go to Hanoi, you will love it.

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