Well we travelled into Vietnam a very different way than most backpackers would, thru China and what a laugh. Im interested to see the immigration now at the other border points because i have never seen anything so unprofessional in my life! Immigration is, you walk into a room, give them your passport and then go sit down. They collect all the passports and just hand them back in whatever order they have stamped them in. So you may of handed yours in first and you get it back last. No questions asked there is just a guy stamping and a girl passing them back......? Tho we did see a Chinese person giving one of the immigration guys a present..... Then you go to the next window, where you have to pay 2,000 dong for a medical check (AU$1 = D13,0000) which is you just pay and they give you a piece of paper saying you are checked........? Then you are thru.
The countryside on our way to Hanoi was beautiful! Everything was so photogenic (but when you are on a moving bus with dirty windows you cant take photos!) The bright green rice fields with the limestone cliffs towering behind them and the French influenced architecture of the houses, with the children playing with the water buffalo and the people riding their bikes thru the rice terraces was beautiful.
After 8 hours on the bus we arrived in Hanoi. We didn't know where we had been dropped off so we just picked a hotel out of the book and caught a taxi to it. When we arrived, because we all had packs on, just I went to check out the room. OMG, it was like a 5 star hotel for US$15.00 a night for the 3 of us!
We are staying in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, which is as crazy and lively. Full of motorbikes and people with their stalls on the street. And vendors selling fruit and snacks. The winding of the tiny streets is never ending and you could explore all day. I love it, for any backpacker who has been to Thailand it is like 100 streets of Kao San.