Just arrived in this foreign country Hanoi Vietnam and as I stand there, the sights and sounds are overwhelming. Honking motorcycle horns, laughter, steam rising from the food pots cooking on the sidewalk, and a galore of shops. I look around. where am I, thinking to my self. Welcome to Hanoi Vietnam.
I’m excited to get started on my adventure. Arrived in Hanoi Vietnam days earlier before our cruise that begins with Viking River Cruises “Magnificent Mekong River Cruise” . I wanted to experience the tastes, smells and excitement of the city my way.
Brief History of Hanoi Vietnam
Hanoi is the capitol of Vietnam. Vietnam is a country that has been ravaged by 30 years of war, and much of the road network is still in poor conditions. There are 300 buildings of interests here and two of the most famous are the “One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature. A visit to Old Town Hanoi is a must. Its location is between the citadel and Hoan Kiem Lake. Looking around you see the colonial architecture and ancient communal houses.
Among the colorful street scenes and unusual shopping there are hidden temples, pagodas, workshops, and Chinese shops. The Old Quarter in Hanoi is where commerce started hundreds of years ago. The area is famous for small artisans that sell silk, jewelry, clothing, household goods and galleries.
Each street depicts specialties in a particular commerce dotted with bars, clubs, and street side restaurants. The friendly people of Hanoi are beckoning me to buy something special.
It’s the beginning of the raining season here in Hanoi and I’m in this warm humid subtropical climate that receives plenty of rainfall a year. Walking around town with my umbrella, ready to use at a moment’s notice, experiencing this interesting place.
Listen to the hundreds of motorcycles on the streets that show some disregard to traffic rules.
Good Advice: An important rule of thumb when crossing the street in Hanoi is to never hesitate. Don’t Stop. Always look into the oncoming traffic while walking. The motorcycle drivers anticipate your move and drive around you.
Things to see in Hanoi:
- Old Quarter,
- Temple of Literature: Dedicated to the cult of Confucius and is a great historic interest. See the water puppet scene shows.
- One Pillar Pagoda: Legend says Ly Thai To longed for a male heir. When his wife gave birth to a male, for his gratitude built this Pillar Pagoda. Made of wood and survived undamaged for almost 1,000 years, only to be destroyed by the french in 1954. A concrete pillar replaces the original one and emerges from the middle of a lotus farm.
- Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex: the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh opened in 1975 where the Independent Republic of Vietnam was declared in 1945. The father of Vietnamese independence lies in a glass foccin. Wooden house on stilts next to the Mausoleum was built by Ho Chi Minh for himself. Short walk north is the Presidential Palace.
- Hoan Kiem Lake
- Ngoc Son Temple: “Temple of the Jade Mountain”, stands on an inlet near the north shore of a lake. To reach one must cross over the delicate little “Bridge of the Rising Sun”.
- Walking Tour pass the Opera House
- St. Joseph Catherdal
- Hao Lo Prison “Hanoi Hilton” (famous POW camp): French built prison intended to hold Vietnamese political prisoners. It was then used to incarcerate US Prisioners of War in terrible conditions. That’s where the name “Hanoi Hilton” was used Parts of the prison were demolished in 1990’s, the remaining part has been preserved as a museum including the interrogation room. One will not see any sign of the acts of tortue that was carried out there.
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: Located several blocks north of the city center and is one of my favorite sites. It was started in 1997 with the aid of the Muse’e de l’Homme in Paris. Retraces the customs and traditions and daily life of the 54 ethnic groups living in the country. The exhibits are divided into 9 sections and include photographs & objects. Outside you can see several traditional houses with each specific furniture and vegetation. Great experience to walk into these houses.
The Sofitel Metropole Hotel, Hanoi was wonderful and located within walking distance to the Old Quarter. The Sofitel Metropole Hotel is a 5 star hotel with all the wonderful amenities. Luxurious rooms, pool, spa, restaurant and lounge are wonderful.
The Aranya Hotel a boutique hotel is located in the Old quarter and was reasonable priced. Good Trip Advisor Reviews and has a great location. Small hotel among the shops.
A side trip to Halong Bay for a few nights and days on a boat is a great experience. Halong Bay is located a few hours drive by car from Hanoi. The boat takes you to the floating village, caves, and pearl factory. This 1Adventure Traveler had the best adventure on the boat.
Another side trip is to fly to the Island of Phu Quat and stay at the Chen Sea Resort and Spa and have a relaxing time after your Hanoi trip.
Hanoi was a great experience. Keep a look out for information on Ho Chi Minh City and join this 1Adventure Traveler on my other exciting and educational trips. Life is short, go out and experience other cultures and meet some wonderful people.
Please take a look at the link up’s I’m participating in with #FollowMeFriday and #WeekendWanderlust #TheWeeklyPostcard. Here you will find fantastic adventures by other professional bloggers.