vietnam chronicles: charming hotel

i had a five-day solo trip in hanoi, vietnam’s capital, early july.  air travel to hanoi from manila takes about two hours and the arrival of my flight through cebu pacific was in the wee hours of the morning.  i made sure that i have informed the hotel i was staying to send a car to pick me up at 12:30 AM at noi bai international airport.

we have experienced a lot of turbulence during the flight but during landing it was flawless.  i passed the immigration without any questions and walked near the entrance of the airport main door where a number of people holding out placards with names on it for pick-up going to their respective hotels.  i stood there and found none of my name nor the hotel i was supposed to stay on.  for an hour i waited until i was the last passenger waiting.  local drivers were trying to tell me in broken english that there is no one for me.  i got irked so i told them i am not in a hurry and can wait for the public bus in the morning (lol!).  one of the drivers then offered me his cellphone to call the hotel, i asked him first if it was for free and made sure for i don’t want to be scammed.  i was able to call the hotel reception and it was confirmed that no one is going to pick me up for it was scheduled for 12:30 PM!  i kept calm and started bargaining for taxi fare to my hotel.  the drivers started with 650,000 dong, i insisted with 400,000 (about $20.00).  i only had some u.s. dollars with me i withdrew 500,000 dong from the atm earlier.

it takes 45 minutes to reach the old quarter, a very famous area in hanoi.  the hotel i was to stay was on one of its narrow streets.  the driver knew where it was and i was dropped off and walked a few steps and found myself in front of charming hotel.

this air-conditioned room is only $21.00 a night (special deal) which includes free basic breakfast, a desktop computer, and working wi-fi.

i stayed for five days at charming hotel and though there was miscommunication on my airport arrival pick up between me and the manager, everything was compensated by their wonderful staff and service.  they gave me a free drop off on my departure to make up for the incident that happened.