As with most travelling, particularly when you travel by plane the “getting there” is not what you enjoy. Here is a rundown of the last couple days.
I left Adelaide on Saturday 17 March, it was an afternoon flight on Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur. I watched a couple movies – exciting stuff.
My overall impression of Malaysia Airlines (this is the first time I’ve flown Malaysia) was overall average/below average. It was evident that the ground crew at Adelaide had been outsourced from a labour hire company. We had issues getting the seats we wanted with the ground crew employee saying that a certain seat had already been requested and we kept saying “that’s right – we requested it” but anyway they put us in different seats and surprise surprise the front row seats that we requested were empty. The flight was about half full at the most – Malaysia Airlines must be doing it tough. But when you start outsourcing staff it’s a slow trip downhill. Also we had issues with the Malaysia Airlines website that didn’t work very well when we requested our seats.
We got to Kuala Lumpur and gave some consideration to taking the train into town, but we were shattered and needed sleep. Had a flight to get on at 9am the next morning. We stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. I would happily recommend anyone who is transferring flights and needs to stay at the airport to stay at this hotel. Conveniently you can check in at a counter in the airport itself , then get a shuttle across to the hotel and half an hour later you are in bed. Also the counter was right next to where we picked up our luggage. Thank you Pan Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur Airport for a nice if short stay.
Next morning, out of bed and in the airport at 7am checking into our next flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Shortish flight 90 minutes I think it was. Looked straight ahead no movies, no book, until we arrived at Saigon. Had a couple hours to kill until we got on our next flight to Hanoi.
Went into the domestic terminal to check in and we stopped at a nice looking restaurant on the right hand side of the entrance to the domestic terminal if you had walked from the International terminal. Had a nice lunch of spring rolls, fantastic watermelon juice, coconut juice and a cafe’sua da just beautiful and refreshing respite from the tropical heat.
Next onto our Jetstar flight, I have a conflicting opinion of budget airlines. I am happy they exist because it has forced conventional airlines to stop gouging their customers but I hate them for the appalling service they provide. We were bused out to the plane and in usual Asian fashion boarding degenerated into a stampede. I was getting pushed around by this 80 year old Vietnamese lady. By the way I’m 185cm and well over 100kg.
The plane itself was a Airbus A320 that looked like it was over 20 years old and they may have leased it from an African airline that had gone bust. Although it was clean the Jetstar name looked as though it had been painted on using a roller and was starting to peel. At the beginning of the flight the engine had an unusual pitch to it that had me fearing for my life.
When we got into the air my travelling companion said “It only needs to make one more landing” when I looked at him in horror at what was happening.
So at 2.10pm on the second day of travelling we reached our destination Hanoi.
Had a driver waiting for us and took the 30 minute drive into Hanoi. Incredible amount of industry in this city. In the space of 1km we saw a Canon, Panasonic, Yamaha, Asahi Intec factories that would all be bigger than the largest factory in my home city Adelaide.
My first impression about Hanoi is how much dust there is and how dirty the city is because of this dust. It had only been raining a little while before we arrived and there was still dust and also grime and mud. It’s also quite hazy, not sure if it’s the weather or pollution or a bit of both but its fairly gray.
Arrived at the hotel which is the Hanoi Holiday Diamond Hotel. Problem – they only have 1 room booked for us not the 2 rooms that we booked and paid for through Agoda. Could we sleep together in a double bed. I think the words that came out was “I don’t think so” or “No way” but my mind was saying something less polite.
So we got a twin room for one night and at least now we have 2 rooms. The girls on the desk were very apologetic but it’s not the first time that I have heard of things like this happening when you book through Agoda.
Got settled went for some beers and watched the insane traffic at a roundabout near the lake and ate some beers snacks before crashing into a sound stupor.