We arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare and find uncomfortable seats at one end of the simple terminal. For about US$1, we purchase a Wi-Fi access code and spend some of our time online.
Before long we are joined by a Dutch couple also flying to Hanoi and exchange some Vietnam information. We are both flying there at 5pm and agree to share a cab from the Hanoi airport into the city. We have not booked hotel accommodations yet and take some recommendations from them.
Just down the street from the airport I stop at a local food vendor for my last chance to have a Beer Lao in Laos.
Sitting at a table is a local taxi driver that helps me recall my journey through Laos and gives me a brief Lao language lesson.
I purchase some bar-b-que beef along with four cans of beer and then it is my last, “Cop Chi”. It is the best I can do.
Our flight begins to board just before 5pm and we discover there are two flights to Hanoi departing at practically the same time. Unfortunately we are not on the same flight as the couple we met earlier.
Over the airplane public announcement system a “We are ready for departure” announcement is made as our turbo prop aircraft is maneuvered onto the runway. The engines are powered up to a rhythmic and relaxing sound and soon we are airborne.
The flight from Luang Prabang to Hanoi is scheduled for just 55 minutes. A bargain at almost any price compared to the 28 hours it would take by bus. This evening our journey to Hanoi takes a bit longer as weather in the Hanoi area forces us to divert.
Instead of landing in Hanoi, we first touch Vietnamese soil at Vinh airport. It is only a brief stop but we are deplaned to a secured area of the terminal building as the airplane is being refueled.
About 30 minutes later we reboard our flight to Hanoi. At 8pm we touch down in Hanoi where the temperature is still 29C/84F and no doubt humid.