I mailed a postcard to myself from Hanoi at 12th May 2004. I would have thought it was lost after such a long time. But finally the postcard reached me today, 1 month after I posted it. Late is always better than none.
Tiger Airways flight was punctual. We arrived in Singapore at around 11 pm. Adeline went back by bus, while I tried to catch the MRT train to the city, but there was no more connecting train to the city at Tanah Merah interchange. So I had to rush to take the bus at the basement area of the airport to the city. The bus runs well until 12 midnight.
We arrived at Noi Bai airport at around 4.30 pm, pretty early as our departure time was on 6.45 pm. This enabled me to walk around the small Noi Bai airport.
Checked in to Tiger Airways was handled by Vietnam Airlines staff. The print out of the confirmation email of the reservation was needed here. The process was fast and smooth, and the Vietnam Airlines staffs were very friendly.
However, international departure from Noi Bai airport will be levied USD $14 Ve Thu Phuc Vu Hanh Khach, or in English Passenger Service Charge. It was in essence departure tax, which I thought was very expensive.
Vietnam Airlines operates minibuses that run between Noi Bai airport and Hanoi for USD $2 each. The buses and ticket office are located opposite the Vietnam Airlines office at Quang Trung. We pre-bought the bus tickets, although it’s not necessary. Prepare small change of US Dollars, if not they will give you the change in Vietnam Dong instead, of course, also in unfavorable rate (typically VND 15,000 to USD $1).
After a short rest at Wing Hotel lobby, it was time to go back. We took a taxi, although the Vietnam Airlines office is just a kilometer away. The taxi used meter, and it was air-conditioning, the main reason why we took a taxi. The fare from Hang Non, the street beside Wing Hotel, to the Vietnam Airlines office costs VND 11,000. Basically it was the flag down fare, with the meter not moved at all for such a short distance travel.
I almost immediately sweated when stepped out of the air-conditioned hotel room. So the t-shirt got wet so easily that I had to bought new cloth to change everytime I went out. Luckily the clothes in cheap in Hanoi. The t-shirts I bought costs around VND 20,000 to VND 25,000.
‘Old’ in Old Quarter is a bit confusing, as only small proportion of the buildings here are more than a hundreds years old. So the ‘old’ in Old Quarter more reflected the activities that are carried on it since ancient times. However, the buildings in Old Quarter have interesting architecture too.