Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Got our Vietnam visas while in Nanning and got stranded on our first day in Vietnam

playing around one of the many parks in Nanning

climb to the top of the pagoda 
Our China visas are about to expire so its that time again, we have to move on and Vietnam is up next. We took the morning bus out of Yangshuo for Nanning that took about 6 hours and cost us $12 each, they didn't charge us extra for the bikes. We arrived late afternoon had a booked a room in a hostel not too far from the bus station, but it was a little hard to find because it's in a condo high rise. Was contemporary, new and cheap at only $11 bucks a night private room with shared bathroom. We even had them processes our visas saving us looking for the Vietnam embassy, the hostel did it free as long as you stayed at the place. Visa's for Canadians cost $60 bucks for 30 days.  It took 3 days to get our visas and surprisingly their wasn't a shortage of things to do in Nanning. A delicious night food street, loads of modern shopping malls and great parks to visit. A big bonus was Nanning city spoke and understood Cantonese a big plus for me.

last kilometer to the boarder
first hotel we checked out was closed
first meal in Vietnam Pho and beer
narrow homes in Vietnam
With visas in hand we head for the bus station to take the bus 200kms to the boarder town of Pingxiang. Its a hilly 30km ride to the boarder from here. Crossing was very simple and fast had a bank to change our rmbs to dongs. In Vietnam we ride for another 25km to the town of Lang Son, first impression its pretty dusty. Lang So is a tinny town with not very much but everyone on the streets were very helpful in helping find a place to stay for the night.

Next day we decided we didn't want to ride the bumpy road to Ha long, so we headed to the bus station and after a long negotiation with the bus operator we agreed on $23 to take us to Ha Long bay. After about 2.5hrs it was apparent with the help of a Chinese Vietnamese passenger that the bus was not heading to Ha Long, the operator planned on dropping us off midway and flag down another bus to take us the rest of the way. They were unable to get another bus to take us the last 80km's but again with the help of the Chinese lady, she got the bus operator to give us back $10 for not delivering on their promise. It was getting dark and no place to sleep so we set up fast and started the ride as we rode off not long after we had company, Jaeuk a young Korean touring around the world. It was dark now and we decided to stop in Cam Pha about 30kms outside Ha long. We found a great place in town, large room with 3 beds and only $7.50 for the 3 of us. The owner was an unbelievable nice lady that gave us free bottle water and even a red bulls when left. Not too bad after getting abandoned in the middle of no where the day before.

decided to put our bikes in the back because the roof is for chickens 
very tight bus standing room only
we got dropped of here in front of a Chinese Restaurant with the owners family
kind hotel owner in Cam Pha
Here we come Ha long bay!