Saturday, 28 November 2015

Vietnam Day 1

The first day our trip was basically a travel day. Two flights to take us from Sydney to Hanoi via Singapore.

'Us' comprised friends CE, ME and myself. The first leg was by Singapore Airlines to Singapore; a flight of about 7½ hours. The plane was modern and in good condition and the service and catering were good. After a transit stop at Singapore of nearly two hours the second leg flight was by Singapore Airlines subsidiary SilkAir.

The two airlines seemed like chalk and cheese. The SilkAir plane was clearly very old and the service and catering ordinary. We arrived in Hanoi after sunset around 6.30pm from memory.

Descent to Hanoi
The most notable sights on the drive to our airport were the French style buildings with narrow frontages; virtually one room wide. Apparently wider buildings attract a higher tax. I wasn't expecting the maze of neon style advertising prevalent all around the city. Block after block was crowded with local families eating their evening meal on footpaths and street frontages.

Our hotel in Hanoi was the Sunway Hotel; a chain of hotels under Malaysian ownership. It was cited as Four Star but I reckon it was a little under that standard but quite acceptable. CE and I were on the 10th floor and were to find ourselves waiting ages for lift service from that level.

On this night and after two flights none of us felt hungry enough for a meal but we wandered around nearby blocks for somewhere to enjoy a drink and we stumbled across a restaurant we were to return to several times for meals. The Quan An Ngon at 26 Tran Hung Dao has lots of character and good local meals at low cost. I recommend it should you find yourself in Hanoi.

Quad An Ngon Restaurant

At this point we were not aware of how many others were on our escorted group tour. The tour proper was to start the following afternoon when we would meet our other travel companions for the first time.


  1. It's interesting that you immediately found a favourite restaurant. This can be both good and bad, that is a place you like but stops you trying other places. I've just finished going through our Vietnam travel papers from 2000 and our hotel in Hanoi, demolished. Our hotel in Saigon, demolished. I can't see that our Hoi An hotel is still there either. I will take a look at your hotel and the restaurant now.

    1. Of course once the tour started we found ourselves eating at a variety of locations. I'm not surprised the hotels you stayed at no longer exist. It is clear there has been significant investment in tourist facilities in Vietnam in recent years.