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Okay the last 3 days have been a huge drama. It’s Thursday, I was suppose to leave Hanoi last Sunday but at passport control they noticed that my VISA had run out. Okay guess what? they don’t let you leave Vietnam!

It’s Thursday, I got through today after getting my VISA yesterday, I barely got through, they of course had to have a few other officers check the passport details. It ended up being nice and friendly, the locals and mostly really great! Thanks for the memories Vietnam, I think you were over welcoming though at the end not letting me go home even after I worked for you for Tet and really helped you and passed on a lot of knowledge as much as I can while I was there.

My assignment in Hanoi had been extended three times. It was initially well within the VISA requested by the local company. The company did not inform me before the expiry and I did not check. A very successful project was completed making the company a lot of potential business BUT the cost of the VISA ended up being US$225. The budget for extended VISA is $110 but that’s only a budget, in reality it’s usually more. So if your in Hanoi be aware if your VISA runs out, you will have to go to the embassy in Hoan Kiem district and pay these penalties. I was lucky I had some support from the companies to get my VISA although all costs for the hotel I was staying in were not being covered anymore. Very embarrassing. What’s more embarrassing is I found they the hotel was told to charge me not the company for electricity I used, it ended up being US$10 a month approximately. That was very sneaky and I haven’t reported it to management yet because it happened on checkout.

Somerset West Lake hotel

should not charge for electricity for their rooms! That’s unheard of in my 5 years of corporate travel. I would be very weary of staying there. The first money I stayed there I was on the first floor and I was getting sick, there was smell of rotting! I came back to Vietnam from Melbourne for an extension and was told to organize my own accommodation so I did with Mercure in Hoan Kiem but then I was told no and that I must stay in Somerset again. They admitted at the reception that the rooms we were staying in were on top of sewerage!

Be warned of this hotel. I will not stay there again… And the company issues will get resolved internally.


Video of trip to Halong bay

If you want to know what to expect in Halong bay in February, here;s  a video of my trip today. It was great fun doing a group tour. I swapped price of the tour information with friends I made on the tour, for the first moment I was happy telling them I only paid US$37 until the next moment when they told me they paid $25. They also said that all site they tried to book with were asking for US$70 plus… If I get anything on I will make sure I have the US$25 price. I did however get the special benefit of having a dedicated taxi take me back to Hanoi, this is a 4 hour trip! so it was very much worth the extra $12 to not be squashed in a bus.

Here’s a video from today


If you want to know more about the company profile you can find it on

It’s Friday 11 Feb, 2011 and I’m in Hanoi in central and most exclusive location called Hoan Kiem.

My plans today are to organise a tour to Halong Bay. I can’t wait to see it. The past 2 months have been very cold during the day but the last week including today it’s getting toasty. I’m sure it’s in the mid 20’s plus some extra humidity compared to what I’m used in Melbourne Australia.

I’m visiting and organising my trip to Halong bay with the Mercure La Gare. I think it’s best to organise with them because I’m here for another day and I know I don’t have to worry.

I’ve just had breakfast in Ngon

and I’m chilling in a Highland café across the road. I’m only around the corner from Mercure La Gare. above me is a new bar called the roof top. Very classy. Around the block is the most popular club in Hanoi called 17 cowboys.

Here are some photos I took moments ago

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Ngon hanoi

highland cafe hanoi


mailinh taxi

Before I head back to Melbourne I will be going to Halong Bay in Northern Vietnam. This UNESCO world heritage site is a must see!

I will soon have tours and places so people can book and as always they will be the best tour guides and the cheapest price. I’ll post some photos and videos soon to help you get a feel for what to expect. Lets hope the weather is great!

Today we have some great news

Athens walking tours hits #1 on tripadvisor and you can book via Holiday Nova!

Check the post

Book here 


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Amazing new locations and tours added to Holiday Nova the last few days

All these tours are from Huck Finn tours. I have gone on one of them are they are absolutely first class and very popular. The founder Zeljko Keleman was on the catamaran. He’s english is perfect and he’s very knowledgable. I believe that he was once the trainer for the Croatian national canoeing team. Any of these tours are going to be a big hit with people.

If you want to book a holiday in Karlobag, Croatia you should book here