19.01.2012 - 20.01.2012 24 °C
Once we landed we had to wait around at the airport for quite some time as it was pretty busy. Afterwards we went to an ATM and got cash out and then went to find a taxi to our hotel. Our hotel told us it should cost around 300,000 dong. The first taxi we got to said he knew where it was and we got in. He said it would be 800,000 which was extremely expensive. We asked him to turn the meter on instead but he said it was 'broken'. I'd read that you should always get out of a taxi that won't use the meter, however we were now on the highway and we weren't sure what to do. We complained for a bit but eventually agreed to pay 700,000 dong. We were very unhappy and feeling ripped off. It took about 45 minutes to our hotel and the traffic was absolutely insane. The lines on the road don't seem to mean anything, there are motorbikes, bikes, cars, and buses everywhere going in every direction and everyone is honking their horns. You get so close to other cars it's insane! We arrived at The World Hotel and checked in. We were up three flights of stairs (my favourite). We had a television and private bathroom. The room was nice and clean at AUD$12 per room per night. We were definitely not in a tourist area either. We wandered around looking for somewhere to eat and finally found a place on the corner which was busy with locals so decided to eat there. It was much more expensive than Laos. I got grilled chicken in honey for AUD$9 and a coke for 50c. It was average. I mostly ate the Thailand style beef that Bundy got instead. Back at our hotel we booked a 3 day/2 night tour to Sapa leaving the next night.
Turns out I missed the free breakfast in the morning because I took too long and it finished at 10:00 am - lame. We also booked a trip to Halong Bay for when we return from Sapa. We went for a wander down to Hoan Kiem Lake and had lunch across the road at Thai Express which was very good except I decided to try something new (a drink of sour plum) and it didn't work out so well. Then we walked around the lake in the drizzling rain and then walked down some other streets looking at shops as well although it was hell trying to cross the roads even when the traffic lights allowed pedestrians to cross. We had a lot of time to kill so we walked around the lake again then walked back to our hotel. I really started to hate Hanoi - it was way too busy and hectic as well as dirty and also very loud with every second person honking their horn every second.