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Hello, Nǐ hǎo, and Chào bạn.

My next trip is to Vietnam and China and I am very excited. I will be starting out in Saigon and working my way up north. From Hanoi, I will cross into China either by the International train or plane. This is about the pre-planning, the trip itself and after. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine


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When a tiger dies he leaves behind his skin. When a man dies he leaves behind his reputation.
Vietnamese proverb

In Memorium

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam which took place during the Vietnam War between the VC and North Vietnam and 1st Australian Task Force. 18 Australians and 245 Viet Cong soldiers died.

There would have been soldiers on both sides who were only 19.
In commemoration of those who died 50 years ago today. August 18, 1966.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

9. Across the Border Vietnam to China

Well, my itinerary has changed yet again. While checking out the cost of flights with Spring Airlines, Shanghai to Hong Kong, June's dates (apart from the first three days) hadn't yet been loaded onto the website. The "special" priced fares were $31 and $47 (give or take a number of cents) so I will be checking them every few days and as soon as the date (22 or 23 June) is up, I plan on booking my flight there and then.

Out of curiosity, I also checked the cost of flights Nanning to Xi'an. Spring Airlines don't fly this route, but China Southern do and the cost was prohibitive expensive... well at least in my book anyway. Didn't matter which dates I entered, whether it be in a week's time, a month's time or three or four months hence ~ the cost was still the same.

Hmmm..let's check Hanoi
So ... I then thought I'd see if they flew from Hanoi and what that would cost.
 Surprise, surprise - it is cheaper to fly from Hanoi to Xi'an than it is to fly from Nanning to Xi'an! I couldn't believe my eyes, or should I say my luck!

A flight from Nanning was $315 (that's US dollars) compared to $270 from Hanoi. Not only would I save $45, I'd also be saving the bus fare. And a lot of time too. So ... instead of getting the bus Hanoi to Nanning on the 6th June with an overnight in Nanning and a flight the next day; I'll be flying on the 6th to Xi'an. I won't arrive at the airport until just after 7.00pm (providing the flights aren't delayed) but that doesn't matter. It cuts out a lot of messing about. And, and this is most important, I will be able to show entry into China when I apply for my Chinese visa. (From what I've heard and read, they've tightened up pretty strongly since last December.

Anyway, the flight is not direct - change planes at Guangzhou. First flight departs Hanoi at 11:45 and arrives Guangzhou 14.20. Second flight departs (Guangzhou) 16.50 and arrives in Xi'an at 19.05. I'll have a 2.30 hour wait at the airport which I don't mind - I'll be able to buy something to eat, have a coffee, and a look around. Although just how much time I'll actually have I'm not sure as I'll have to go through immigration, show visa etc.

The Fly in the Ointment
There's only one problem - I haven't received my E-ticket. According to China Southern's website, below is a sample of an E-ticket.

Above: Sample of E-ticket

I did get a "Confirmation for reservation" email which was identical to what was on screen when I had finished booking and paying. Plus I also received not one, but two, emails which had "Electronic ticket passenger itinerary receipt" which has the information about the flight - date, flight number etc. , what to show at check-in etc. But no E-ticket. It just looks like somebody has typed words and numbers in an email and then sent it.

So ... I have contacted the airline by email and will wait and see.

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