At midday the train arrived in Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam and after Ho-Chi-Minh-City the second biggest city of the country with about 7.6 million inhabitants. I bargained heavily with a cab driver and finally got a ride for 25k Dong to the Central Backpackers. After half an hour I could already check in. They have super comfy beds with nice thick blankets, the bathrooms are ok, you get a towel and breakfast and every night from 7 to 8 pm there was free beer at the bar. All that for $5 a night in an 8-bed-dorm. The only downside was that the aircon was way too cold, but with the nice warm blankets it was ok. Be careful there are two Central Backpackers – the Original (the one I stayed in) and the Old Quarters. The latter is more like a party hostel. I checked out the surrounding.
That evening after dinner I finally managed to go to a Water Puppet Theater Show. It is a tradition in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century. It is a bit wired, but also nice.
If you travel to Vietnam, you should definitely watch it! I went back to the hostel to get a free beer and met many nice people there. Most of us joined the bar tour at 9 pm that started at the other Central Backpackers hostel. The next day I went to a hairdresser. The full program including color for only ~15€.
I walked around for a bit
and in the evening Yen picked me up with her scooter. There is a Zouk Scene in Hanoi and I had gotten in contact with them via Facebook. Yen is also dancing there and she offered me to pick me up have some dinner and then go together to the Saturday Social. Due to the rain that had lasted basically all day and night there were not too many people there unfortunately. But it was anyway nice and I really enjoyed dancing Zouk again after such a long time. There are a couple of really good dancers. The next day I took it easy, got a few things done and in the evening I met with Yvonne and Tivo again for dinner. We ate at New Day where I had a delicious Green Papaya Salad. We checked out the night market after, walked around the Hoan Kiem lake and enjoyed a delicious cheese cake. On the weekends they close the streets at the lake for cars and motorbikes and you can play games on the street, watch street artists and such.
It is really nice and a stark contrast to the busy loud place that is there on weekdays. I had booked a 3 day trekking tour in Sapa and the night bus left shortly after 9 pm.
Off to a new adventure.
Hanoi is very different to Ho-Chi-Minh-City. There is a lot more history and old buildings, more tradition, but still also modern city life. I liked it although I didn’t do and see too much. I had only spent 2.5 days there, it was raining most of the time and I took it easy. But I was going to come back after my trekking adventure in Sapa. I had already booked more nights in the Central Backpackers.