Vietnam (Picture: Water puppets in Hanoi)

Getting to Vietnam wasn’t easy.  A number of steps that got changed due to flight delay, that was managed by really well, by the way. A night on the airport at Singapore. But then we were there staying in the old quarter of Hanoi on a street that seemed mainly composed of metal bashing workshops. First meal was Ban Churi, rice and pork in the steamy heat of the tropics, and so our baptism of SE Asia had begun. The main thing about Hanoi was the roads. Due to high taxes on cars everyone, and I mean everyone, rides mopeds. So as a pedestrian life at first seems a little difficult. But after a while, and many long minutes stood by the roadside waiting to cross, we realised that they have a system. The trick is to walk out into the moving traffic slowly and steadily, without making any sudden moves that might catch anyone out and the traffic kind of flows around you.

Hanoi was interesting with some temples to look around and the water puppet theatre to keep us entertained. An excursion out to the beautiful Halong Bay was also a must that everyone enjoyed.

Hoi An was a different story. Much more peaceful and quiet, we had gone there primarily to sample the legendary tailoring shops of this region. Everyone came away with an item of clothing, and even the shops selling off the peg stuff had so much more variety and more stylish designs than anything you would find on the high street at home. Unfortunately travelling on a budget as we are and without any more room in the luggage, we couldn’t take advantage. It also had a beautiful river side vibe to it, with decorated lanterns and brilliant street food.

Hue was different again. Much busier but not as much as Hanoi. Some interesting temples out of town and Palace just down the road from the hotel, with a nightly entertainment programme that was varied and fun. The fire banton twirling especially got everyones attention. However all too soon our 15 days visa ran out and it was time to move one.

A quick flight to Ho Chi Minh, and then out to Cambodia by bus, left us with the impression that Ho Chi Minh is a bit like Hanoi but even more so!