GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, GOODBYE LUGGAGE
Ok I’ve made it to Hanoi, Vietnam but my bag hasn’t. I had 3 flights; Fiji – 5 hours to Sydney with a few hours layover before a nice 9 hour flight to Guangzhou. This is where I think things went a bit pear shaped. China Southern Airlines don’t have the greatest rep but were really the only option due to the cost of the flight. They took me from Sydney to China and then onto Hanoi. But I had (the coldest) 7 hour layover in Guangzhou before my 2hr flight to Hanoi so a lot had to go right for my bag to turn up.
WE PROMISED EACH OTHER AN EARLY NIGHT. 12 HOURS LATER WE CRAWLED INTO BED AT 2A.M.
I’m always apprehensive about booking flights with short layovers but it turns out they are the key for your bag turning up as they tend to go straight from one airplane to the other. I wouldn’t however be booking a flight with just 30minutes between flights as that’s asking for trouble. But with a 6hour lull in between it would have had to have been stored somewhere for a period of time and most likely forgotten about!
WHERE IS HANOI?
Where is Hanoi?
BRITISH AIRWAYS >> CHINA SOUTHERN
I warned Phil before hand that his layover was only 1 hr 30, but his arrived without a problem. That’s British Airways against China Southern! Going on the 3 day castaway so I asked if they could make sure it arrives from China ASAP, not that what I’m saying will have any effect.
A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME
As for letting the bag issue get to me, it was never even a thought, I was just so looking forward to the next 2 weeks so much! None the less I checked in to a hotel (a cheap one at that) as Phil hasn’t yet got used to the Hostel life!
I was meeting him later in the afternoon and the idea was to have one or 2 Hanoi beers at the Hostel which is hosting the cruise and then chill for the rest of the day to ensure we made the 6am pick up time. Bumped into Rose, a girl I met on Kao Tao which was crazy as it was only a month ago and since then she has been home to Canada, down to South America and back to Asia. Stayed in the hostel most of the night but told Phil we are up at 5 so bed for 11 at the latest which he wasn’t keen on. 8 hours later we both crawled into bed at 2am but got more sleep than I would be getting from the next 2 weeks!
DID YOU KNOW….?
- At least 1 bag is mishandled for every 200
- Thats 20million bags per year, or 40 a minute!
- 50% of which are during transfers
- Each year it costs the industry over £2bn
THE CASTAWAY CRUISE
Getting up was a drag this morning as we thought we missed the bus until we noticed we just got the time wrong. The pair of us were in such a shape we would’ve been happy to wait until tomorrow but the same thing would have happened. Its as well we made it as it was the best part of the trip!
As per a lot of places I have been told incredible things about the Ha Long Bay castaway trip where you spend 2 days on an island and a day on a boat. Generally people say it’s their best experience in Vietnam but more a party social thing.
HA LONG BAY
Immediately got friendly with 4 Swedish guys and an Irish fella and to the shock on their faces (its 6am) Phil was straight to the bar for 7 beers, I guess they haven’t come across many Irish people. From that point it really set the tone and was 1 of the best trips I’ve had. We were definitely the group you either wanted to be with or hated.
The whole trip was spent drinking until 2, up at 6 and a repeat along with a few activities thrown in to keep us away from the bar. I’m not sure we even had time to sober up over the next 2 weeks.
Every stop the bus had, there was a little Vietnamese women outside selling beers so everything was organized to the minutia. After a few hours on the bus getting to know everyone we arrived at the port. Here we would jump onto a boat that would take us to our boat.
THE ISLAND & RULES
Finally got to the island and it was amazing, just a tiny beach surrounded by cliffs with a bar and a few lodges. We were given a quick induction, which was generally just a run down of the drinking rules that everyone needed to abide to. No right hand drinking, no use of the word drink etc etc. There was one rule that did stand out though. A bong hung from the rafters of the roof of the bar and if one decided to give it a thump/hit then the whole island would inherit a drink at his or her expensive, no matter the time of day!
The clouds don’t often part for in northern Vietnam but they did that day, the views were stunning. The rest of the day was spent at the bar playing the drinking game of the holiday, Shimmy Shimmy!
Huge expectations, and so far the Castaway Cruise has lived up to every bit of them and more!
After already 5 hours of drinking it was time to do some Rock climbing before boarding the best party cruise in the world. Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS
This post is part of the Vietnam Series, click to explore
- Have you ever had your bag lost or delayed?
- Did you get it back?
- How long was it delayed?
Let me know in the comments below . . .