Vietnam –  Getting there

Written by Michelle/Photos by Michelle & David

When I originally decided to visit Vietnam it was to visit my friend Kate who now lives in Hanoi. Once I started researching and talking to people who had been here I became like a kid in a candy store and wanted to visit every single place recommended. Needless to say the trip became bigger than Ben Hur and  unfortunately I’m not going to see much of Kate after all.

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This is the first trip in 2 years where I am travelling by myself, this is, without David. As the trip drew closer I started to realise that because we share a love of exploring new places together I have grown quite accustomed to having him as my travel buddy, maybe even a little too comfortable knowing he was by my side. Before I met David I had no qualms about travelling alone. I did also realise that it is the first trip to a developing country that I have taken completely on my own, this is no tour company, which I think also made me feel a little nervous and apprehensive.

Well the trip didn’t have the smoothest of starts thanks to my rookie error. I arrived at check-in and was told I could only be booked through to Bangkok (my connection) because I didn’t have a letter of introduction or a visa. I had honestly thought that I had read somewhere that I could get it on arrival, alas not. Take note, Vietnam has become stricter about allowing people to just walk on in since January. Anyway, we managed to find a visa agent online who could magically email me a letter of introduction 10 minutes after making an exorbitant payment because I needed it on a weekend. I was meant to print it out but as it was I only had an hour between flights in Bangkok and I had to run for the first flight, so I was worried about arriving in Bangkok without a printout or a boarding pass for the flight to Hanoi. Luckily the people working for Thai Airways were very accommodating and seeing an electronic copy was ok with them. I was also concerned about my back pack as it was only checked through to Bangkok but again the Thai Airways people jumped to the task and managed to not only find my bag but also get it on my connecting flight, I was sure it was going to turn up late. The lady who helped me at the transfer desk was also kind enough to give me the first seat in economy :). Considering I thought I was going to be stranded in Bangkok for goodness knows how long I was very grateful. The last hurdle was when I arrived in Hanoi and had to actually pay for the visa. The company I had contacted about the letter had sent a representative but she disappeared while I was waiting so I had no idea what was going on and on top of that I hadn’t had any time to change some money to USD to pay for the visa. Well they let me sweat it out, I was the last person left to be called and I was able to pay with euros so I was free to start exploring this fascinating land!


Click here for more pictures of my vietnamese adventure
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