From “Bangkok, Thailand” to “Hanoi, Vietnam” with “Air Asia” for 2 hours flight.
So let’s talk about something super important ; if you come in Vietnam for holiday, without Visa – you can stay for 2 weeks. On the other hand, if you come for longer, you will need to buy a Visa for 1 month ( 17$ ) or 3 months ( 25$ ) – Everything on their website “Vietnam Visa“.
Don’t do the same mistake than me ; I had my Approval letter for 3 months – I didn’t show it at the right moment & when I realise, I was already out of the airport… & no return. They told me that I have to leave the country & come in again with a new Approval letter…
SO – Go to “Customs clearance area, immigration office ; before baggage claim. That will take 5 days work to get to you, so don’t do it last minute.
I was ready to come in “Hanoi” as a English teacher volunteer in a school for some weeks ( finally 2 weeks because of the earlier problem ) via the website “Workaway” – It is a website to be a volunteer in many different projects that people need help for. You will have accommodation & food ( sometimes ) in exchange of few hours a day. You can make your profile & visit the countries of your choice & send messages to them to know if you could join them & have your first experience as a workawayer !
Take the bus ;
To be at the rdv specify – 8 000 VND ( 0,32 euro ) because it is from the Airport, normally in town it is 7 000 VND ( 0,25 euro ) – yes, Vietnam has this ridiculous prices where even, you start to feel guilty to don’t pay enough…
When you “jump” ( yes, they stop but they don’t wait for you !! ) inside the bus, go & get a seat & the ticket’s seller will come to you with a huge pile of notes in his hand & give you a ticket plus your change. Best for you to know when & where you want to stop as the driver don’t really care about you – even more that, there is no signal of the stops etc…
Crossing the road ;
Ha, this is a tricky one too. There is no rules at all in this country. You go & you will see. The drivers of any kind ( motorbikes, van, trucks, cars.. ) will go just behind you or in front of you depends how they feel it &
without braking of course additionally with some horns everywhere to adjust the big mess of Vietnam.
& the best of the best ; 4 – 5 on a motorbike – without helmet for the kids of course. But it is very interesting as they don’t have accident very often… So maybe it is the best – No rules.
The street’s sellers ;
They are often women with huge baskets in balance on a wood stick or baskets on bicycles.. They sell lots of kind of things – can be fruits, vegetables or some plastic seals, hats, cards… It is very impressive to look at them walking around with this heavy baskets all day. You can trade with them, they really enjoy doing it & even more they feel offense if you do not.
As involved in an English School, it was very nice & funny. The kids were around 5-6 years old for the youngest & 9-10 years old for the oldest. The class was quit a mess but that’s the first time I saw kids really being happy to be at school to learn.
Our schedule for the first week was every end of afternoon – 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm for 3 days then 3 days off & Sunday all day from 8.30 am to 7 pm.
The second week was – 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm for 3 days again then 3 days off & Sunday from 9 am to 6.30 pm.
Went to live in an outskirt – out of the center of the town in a big house. 3 in a big bedroom & 2 teachers were leaving upstairs. We were eating all together in the kitchen on the floor with the food made by the 2 teachers. The little TV always on with some TV show Vietnamese. It was a strange place & strange feeling but I understood later that it was just a different culture.
In Hanoi center, you have “Hoam Kiem Lake” with a temple in the middle of it.
We drove to the “West Lake” to see the “Pagoda” in “Hanoi” is a place where people come to pray & meditate, a very nice architecture all red walls. Then we went to eat in a busy street where the people stop you in the middle of it to make you come to their place. We had some hot springs rolls with noodles. Then some fries noodles with “meat” .. You never wish kind of meat – 40 000 VND ( 1,60 euro ).
Next, we went to the “Citadel”, with bunkers, history of it.. Lots of ruins.. but a nice place to visit – 30 000 VND ( 1,20 euro ). Took some photos from the lake but felt sick after seeing dead fishes float on the surface..
The 2 weeks went very quickly as we were busy to do some trips around – see “Sa Pa Valley” & “Halong Bay” – At the end of the 2 weeks, I had a certificate saying that I teach English in Hanoi in a school. So it is nice to have a little certificate of something new..
Something to do, go in town by night, the lights around the lake are just stunning. We walked around it, it took approximately 1 hour ( if you stop to take photos quit often like me ). Be careful on the road but we didn’t have any problems to cross. You just need to be brave to go for it.
The buses to get back to the airport were quit an adventure !! then had one flight to “Ho Chi Minh” for 2 hours with “Viet Jet” for a long night in the airport for the next part of my travel.
The only part I didn’t like in Vietnam, is that some people, especially old people are not polite & growth.. They don’t really respect the nature & that freak me out a bit ! It is sad as the country is beautiful & so much to see.