We first experienced a little bit of Vietnam in June 2010 and enjoyed Ho Chi Minh and Mui Ne so much we vowed to come back.
It took us 4 years to make good with that promise that when we finally did it, I was bursting out of the seams from happiness.
Our flight from Manila to Hanoi last September 2014 was delayed by a full day because of Typhoon Mario/Kalmaegi but even that did not dampen our giddy spirits.
We arrived on schedule at past midnight at the Noi Bai International Airport (IATA code: HAN) and after picking up our luggage at the carousel we followed the signs to the exit and found our prebooked airport pick up service without a glitch. He was holding a placard of my name in an elegant script and a welcoming smile on his face.
The airport is located some 45 kilometers away from downtown Hanoi and we were soon cruising on a lit traffic less highway towards our hotel with some Vietnamese music playing softly on the car stereo. We were charmed by the music even in our sleepy state.
We’ve learned our lesson after the whirlwhind Singapore-Malaysia-Cambodia trip and since then avoided being too ambitious of our vacation time. The tail end of the typhoon also followed us in Hanoi and the rain brought about a lethargy that is luxurious and enjoyable because we weren’t hung up on a time table and rigidly crossing places and stuff off a list.
We do have our usual printed itinerary but left a lot of room to chance and went on a relaxed pace. Even with a day off less our holiday, we still surprisingly squeezed a lot just by wandering aimlessly and poking our noses at stops that catches our fancy.
(to be continued…)