Our flight from Chiang Mai to Hanoi on Thai Asia Airways is okay. They are a discount airline where you must pay even for water. But the 1 hour 30 minute flight is on time and the flight attendants are pleasant. It meets our needs.
Once arriving in Hanoi we must obtain our Vietnamese visa. We take a left once we have walked to Immigration, quickly heading to the line for visas. After we queue for a bit I figure out that most of the time the man at the counter is pointing to a stack of forms and telling people to fill one out and come back. We grab the forms, fill them out, bundle them with our passports, the Invitation Letters that the tour company provided and the two passport photos we have brought along. The man at the counter wearing a military uniform accepts the bundles and tells us to wait in the next queue. About thirty minutes later William’s name pops up upon the display. We go to the second counter to learn that both visas are ready, pay $50 US cash each for a multi-entry 30 day visa and are able to go through immigration. The process is annoying, but not horrendous.
We pick up our bags, get the maximum 2,000,000 Dong (yes, two million, about $85 US) from an ATM and go out to meet our driver. No one is waiting with a sign displaying our names within the building, so after 10 minutes we walk outside. There he is - the man with our sign! A 40 minute drive into the city, we arrive at the Silk Path Boutique Hotel. The room is nice and the bed seems to be a bit softer than the one in our previous abode (but then, we don’t think it could be any harder).