Sunday, July 18, 2010


I arrived here a few days ago and have been resting up after a fairly hectic journey north from Saigon. I’ll be here for a few days more because it takes some time to get a visa for China which is my next destination. There is a Chinese embassy here but apparently they don’t issue tourist visas so I’ve had to go through a travel agent. The visa is supposed to arrive on Tuesday 20 July and I’m booked on a bus to take me to Nanning over the border on Wednesday. I was hoping to get to China more quickly than that but there seems no way to expedite the visa process so I’ll just have to wait. Anyway, it’s nice to have a few days to explore a place rather than pass through in 24 hours or so.

I’m going to have to change my plans for China since I have less time. Originally I intended to visit Hong Kong and then Shanghai before reaching Beijing in early August, but now I will skip Hong Kong and go straight to Shanghai where I have a friend to visit and then go on to Beijing. Anyway, I discovered that Hong Kong is treated as a semi-autonomous country by China in that if I were to go there and re-enter China I would need a double-entry visa for China, which are tricky to get. So I’ll just give Hong Kong a miss for now.

In Hanoi I’m staying in the Old Quarter which is very touristy and at times it feels like Westerners outnumber Vietnamese here. The typhoon which has affected the Philippines arrived here yesterday and although I heard it hit the coast of Vietnam hard, here in Hanoi it was just strong winds and a lot of rain for about twelve hours.

Frustratingly, I lost of whole lot of photos when transferring them from my iphone to my laptop. Most of them from when I arrived in Saigon until now.

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