Woke up with the intention of going to Cat Ba Co 3 today, but my hostel told me I had to check out as I had been booking day-to-day and they had other bookings coming in.
So that altered my plan slightly, I asked if they could arrange a boat back to Hanoi and they booked me on the next one, which is at 1230. So pack up and go time!
While waiting to be picked up by the bus to take me to the dock, I got talking to the hostel owner, I told him I was thinking about heading to south Vietnam on the sleeper train. He shook his head and told me it was cheaper to fly, and it was, but then my next desired destination is Cambodia, so if I’m going to fly anywhere, I’d like it to be there.
I had already changed my return flight to Haikou from the 21Feb to the 2 March. As a U.K. Citizen I get 15 days in Vietnam with no visa, the 2 March would be day 16, so going to Cambodia is ideal.
As all these changes have caught me a bit off guard I was hoping to get my flight, hostel and transfer booked on the bus as the one taking me to CatBa had wifi.
Obviously, this one does not.
So literally winging it and hoping it will all fall into place and I’ll be in Cambodia by this evening!
On the bus and it’s driven two minutes down the road and stopped.
After about 15mins more people were piled onto the already cramped bus.
Lucky I haven’t booked my flight yet or I’d be stressing about actually getting it.
Overall view of CatBa island, I liked it, beaches, boat trips, nature. I didn’t like that everything was unnecessarily overpriced. When you pay about a pound for a meal in Hanoi where it is said to be expensive, and then get charged about £3.50 for street food on CatBa you just end up feeling ripped off. So am glad to be leaving now as I will have run out of money staying any longer!
Arrived in Hanoi, the bus driver was supposed to take some of us to the airport, but instead told us the best bus to get!
So, on the bus on my way to the airport, finally have wifi and go to book a flight to Cambodia. Website says it’s sold out. Try another site. Says it’s sold out. I’m already halfway to the airport at this point with no intention of staying in Hanoi.
When I arrive at the airport I go straight to the booking desk where they also tell me the flight is sold out. I go to information, they suggest the checking desk. The checking desk staff check and say there is availability and I have to go back to the booking desk to buy the ticket. Much staff to-ing and fro-ing and contacting supervisors and managers later, there is availability on the flight. For some reason it cost three times what it did online, but I’m on the flight!
And the plane was basically empty.
By this point I was a bundle of mixed emotions, happy I was en route to Cambodia, miffed at being made to run around the airport and pay thrice the cost, (although I accept full responsibility for this and I hope others can learn from my mistake!) and, of course, hungry.
Airplane food never tasted so good!
I was in a bit of a panic as this was such an impromptu move that I had no currency. Had an argument with an ATM that wouldn’t let me withdraw from my U.K. Account, luckily it did let me withdraw from my Chinese account!
The phrase ‘more money than sense’ comes to mind on this particular trip.
I’ve mentioned before I don’t like getting a taxi straight from an airport in case they try to rip you off or worse. As I barely had time to book my hostel before my flight, I didn’t have a chance to get a transfer booked. Fortunately, Cambodia has a whole different way of doing things. There is a taxi rank, but you pay in advance at the office and the driver takes you to your destination. I opted for a car, for $7. For $6 I could have had a tuk tuk type vehicle, was a bit gutted I didn’t get that. Then once we passed about four of them in the car I was glad.
So finally made it to my hostel, The Luxury Concept Hostel. The lights were all off which made it look closed, but there was someone there, I realize they keep the lights off because of the flies.
I booked a shared room on this occasion, mainly because I had no choice and, it was cheaper. After that flight cost I need to start watching what I spend!
I was shown to my dorm, and my bed, a huge bed tucked into the wall, with little privacy curtains, lamp, electric socket, shelf, hooks, fan. Everything you need to keep around you!
It looks bad in the photo, but it’s really not. It’s like an adult den.