We took a quick 1 hour
flight from Laos to Hanoi and checked into our hotel, located
in the French Quarter. So many motorbikes, excessive honking
(may even be worse than China), and lots of car/bicycle traffic.
It was really a vast difference from laid back Laos. But with
a completely different culture and people, we were excited
to see what Vietnam was all about.
We didn't spend too many
days in the city, as we only had a few allotted, but we
did go on a tour around the city which involved activities
such as the water puppet show, a visit to the Ho Chi Minh
mausoleum and the house the Uncle used to live in, stopped
at the One Pillar Pagoda, went on a cyclo tour around the
Old Quarter, took an hour or two to see the Ethnology Museum,
and went for a stroll at the Hoan Kiem Lake. Needless to
say, it was a packed day, but we had a wonderful guide and
we felt like we learned quite a bit about some of Vietnam's
We stayed in the French Quarter, which is Old Hanoi.
It was quite a wild mix of
motorbikes and pedestrians, you really know you're in
Johann trying to fit in, but not succeeding.
The area was buzzing day and night, people everywhere!
You cannot see Hanoi without visiting the
Ho-Chi Minh mausoleum. located in the Ba
Dinh Square. Here is where the president read the declaration
of independence in
1945. Thousands of people stood in line to see his
preserved, cooled body.
We opted not to as it would be several hours we were told
to do the walk thru.
Taking a cyclo ride during our city tour. Was a
very efficient way to get around, but
poor guys having to cycle us around (they had to have
big "Vietnamese muscles")!
The Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace was a very nice
but Ho Chi himself didn't like to live there - too posh.
Instead he lived back in the woods, in this
inconspicuous regular-guy house on stilts.
We also toured the One Pillar Pagoda, a historic and
unique Buddhist temple
made of wood on a single stone pillar, located in the center
We checked out the water puppets show - it was all in
Vietnamese, and really
a strange form of entertainment, but quite culturally
Here we are standing outside the entrance to Hoan Kiem Lake,
the lake of the returned sword. It truly is a beautiful,
"natural" site in the middle of the city.
Walking the Hoan Kiem bridge. It didn't go all the
way across, but rather to a small island.
Here we enter a typical house showed during our tour of
the Ethnology museum.
A definite recommendation if you are planning to visit the
city of Hanoi.