Flexibility is welcome in Vietnam

When it comes to Vietnam, we have learned you need to be extremely relaxed and flexible, and forget about your original plans. But in the end everything will work out fine anyway.

1st trick: Getting into Vietnam

Getting into Vietnam was an adventure itself. Wanting to change flights in Bangkok (original plan: Krabi-Bangkok-Hanoi) we were informed that our Vietnam visa is not valid yet for another 2 days. Therefore immigration will not let us enter, so we cannot get on the plane.
BUT oooops, we have already officially exited Thailand in Krabi… So it took 5 immigration officers, 4 stewardesses and the 2 of us two and a half hours in the Thai Immigration Office to sort this issue out. On top of it all we were sitting in the “Women’s Retention Room” for this time period 😀 . Finally we got a “CANCELLED” stamp into our passports, and were free to spend 2 unplanned days in Bangkok – which actually turned out to be a great experience.


2nd trick: Saving neighbors

But in the end we finally made it to Hanoi, no more issues with Thai or Vietnamese officers. We were also very lucky with our hotel. Here we landed with 2 days delay and they made no fuss about it at all.

However, first morning at 7 AM there was desperate knocking on our door: 2 guys from reception wanted to come into our room. As we are not really early birds, we were quite annoyed in the first moments, until they have explained us that our upstairs neighbors are stuck in their room and they need to climb up through our balcony to rescue them… It was so surreal, that our grumpiness was gone in a moment. And after trying to fix the door in vain for about half an hour, they came again with a ladder and a young couple (our age 🙂 ) climbed down to our balcony with their suitcases to reach their bus to Ha Long Bay.

Well, we learned that flexibility must go in both directions in this country…

3rd trick: Boat into dry-dock

After a wonderful day strolling through the Old Quarters and some other sights of Hanoi, we started our 3 day (2 nights) cruise trip in Ha Long Bay. The Bay is amazing, although in this time of the year the weather is rather foggy, as you will see on the pictures. Still, the small islands and cliffs – gems, dropped there by dragons, to protect Vietnam against invaders, as the legend tells – provide unique scenery, the fog making it mystical, magical, but not that photogene.

The crew of our small ship was friendly and funny, we had a great time. Then before dinner they informed us, that our 3-day stay has to be reduced to 2 days, as the boat has to go for inspection to the dry docks… But we “should not worry, most probably our hotel will reimburse the missing day”. Some other passengers were told some different stories, like there is an issue with the captains’ license (?!?!), and they have to board another boat in the middle of the night, or they can stay, but the program and route will be identical to the first day, blablabla… Interesting.

Here we realized that we are already in a fully relaxed state of mind: we took it as it came, made some arrangements to change our stay in Hanoi and enjoyed the evening on deck exchanging experiences with some very nice long term travelers we have met on the boat.

Despite change of plans it was an unforgettable trip and a destination to visit again someday.

Vietnam: Ha Long bay
Our Cruise in Ha Long bay

4th trick: Traffic in Hanoi

Traffic in Southeast Asia is in general a special experience, but Hanoi is topping it by far. A constant wall of motorbikes (allegedly 6 million only in this city) is flowing in the streets, mixed with thousands of taxis and some busses, following no visible rules or regulations, not stopping or slowing down for any reason (least for pedestrians). In the beginning we had the feeling, only those are on the other side of the road, who were born there. But, as usual, the sweetest sights are always on the other side of the road, so we had to learn to overcome this obstacle: we selected the “close your eyes and pass through without stopping” method. And somehow it worked every time.

Wall of bikes
Wall of bikes

So this was our first intake into Vietnam. Hopefully you did not misunderstand, we are extremely happy to be here, it is an exciting country, where we will certainly stay for some time.

5 thoughts on “Flexibility is welcome in Vietnam

  • April 6, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Hallo ihr Lieben,
    spätestes jetzt nach rund 5 Wochen würde ein langer, ausgedehnter Urlaub bald zu Ende gehen…
    Ich finde sie ganz toll eure Entscheidung, eure Reise und natürlich die Fotos, die spannenden und mitreisenden Erzählungen, diese Kombination lässt einem gleich aus dem eigenen Alltag kurz aussteigen – Danke!
    Und soll ich euch etwas verraten, ihr habt hier nicht wirklich etwas versäumt bis auf die ersten schönen Frühlingsboten die aufgrund von Föhn und über 20° wie irre sprießen.
    Enjoy your time & take care!
    A ganz dix Bussal euch Lieben

    • April 7, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Wir hatten heute Abend bei einem Glas Ananas-Saft (der Wein ist hier unterirdisch teuer) analysiert, ob wir schon die Halbzeit für die Asien-Etappe erreicht haben -> haben uns über’s Ergebnis sehr gefreut 😉
      Freuen uns, wenn wir Euch ein bisschen auf die Reise mitnehmen und Euch kurz aus dem Alltag entführen können.

      Der nächste Artikel zu unserem Blog ist schon im Entstehen und führt Euch an einen ganz tollen Ort im Zentrum von Vietnam.

  • April 6, 2016 at 8:45 am

    I meant to write envious 🙂

    • April 7, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks for the nice feedback. We’re happy, that you are in full control of your envy :-),
      but frankly spoken we are fully aware how lucky we are to enjoy this chapter of our lives…

  • April 6, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I’m not jealous! I’m not jealous! I’m not jealous! I’m not jealous! I’m not jealous! I’m not jealous! I’m not jealous!…:)
    Again and again, fantastic photos, good story. Some of the parts should be in a movie. Keep it coming!


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