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After three months of cheap accommodation and restaurants we were treated to a bit of luxury for a couple of days as my parents were coming out to Vietnam and starting their holiday in Hanoi. As we arrived by 8am on our overnight bus, the luxury of the Sunway Hotel awaited us where we were invited to enjoy their feast of a buffet breakfast whilst our room was prepared. After a day of resting and waiting for the arrival of mum and dad, we met them outside a coffee shop in town.
After they got some rest after their 18hour journey, we went out for a beautiful meal to one of the nicest local restaurants in the area. Here we were finally able to spend some time together and catch up over some tasty local dishes which despite being more expensive for our travelling standards, it was much cheaper than the western world.
After returning from a couple of enjoyable days in Halong Bay, before saying our goodbyes to my parents who were heading south to Hue and Hoi An, we once again went out for a nice meal at KOTO Restaurant. This was a must visit restaurant, not only for their food but for the fact that they would teach and give disadvantaged youngsters the opportunity to work and earn some sort of a living.
With Hanoi being our last stop with our Motorbike, the time had unfortunately come to put it up for sale whereby we put up flyers around the city, predominantly in the backpackers region. The old town is scattered with the majority of the hostels and is definitely the busiest and most compact area of the city which made it so easy to get lost in amongst the many streets. Despite getting lost, it meant we really got to know the area and get to experience the true hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
Selling Our Beloved Bike!
Although we got a little interest for our Motorbike from the locals, the prices which we got offered was under half what we paid for the bike originally so it was only going to be our very last resort. As we soon found out from the number of Honda Win bikes up for sale, vertually no travelers were travelling the length of Vietnam on motorbike and so had to come to terms with the fact that we would not get the full return on the bike. Despite some ridiculous offers from the locals, we happened to bump into a bike shop owner on five separate occasions who gradually offered us more each time. With our Trip to Sapa the following day we agreed to sell the bike for $160 which was not too bad considering the lack of sales. When looking back on our tour, a loss of $70 was nothing when considering the incredible lifetime experience and the potential costs of public transport for the identical route.
With just half a day left in Hanoi our, we picked up our Chinese Visa from the embassy just outside the centre of the old city. From here we wondered back into town where I bought a tie and a pair of second hand suit shoes for under four dollars for Nam and Sids wedding in Thailand.
Despite it being a very hectic place with so many cars, bikes and people everywhere, the old town in Hanoi is funnily enough quite an enjoyable place despite it being a city. With many streets packed with old small shops all dedicated to selling the same particular goods, it is nice to see how it has maintained many of its old traditional ways and avoided modernization like other parts of Hanoi.
This is further enhanced when we saw how the railway line meanders in amongst the buildings along narrow pathways overlooking houses, shops and restaurants.
The infamous Friday 13th has never really affected us in anyway except a couple of frustrating incidents on Friday 13th February. Having arrived at the airport, an hour away from the centre, we realized we had left our paintings from Hoi An in our hostel which was not ideal, but having arrived early we were able to organize its own private taxi to meet us.
Upon arrival in Thailand we wanted a 30day free entry visa rather than use up our extended tourist visa as we were only there for 6days. Despite our plans being to enter Thailand in March for the third time and visit the north for an extended period of time, it was all going to have to change, as by law our second unused entry on our visa in our passport had to be used.