Hanoi City
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Travel Blog

A few days in Hanoi and Ninh Binh

Hanoi celebrated its millennium in 2010 and much was done to clean it up and give it a face lift for the big event. It certainly is cleaner than I remember it, and the traffic, though still fierce and chaotic, is not as bad as it was back then. There are even some traffic lights and pedestrian crossings in place - though not enforced. The ladies with overloaded bicycles and bamboo pole baskets are fewer, and the motorbikes now compete with electric stretch golf carts...

Goodbye Hanoi

I returned to the hotel and got ready for the tour, of for joy!! It is not that I didn't enjoy the places that we went too, but I hate being herded on and off buses, told what to look at and not being allowed to just wander at my own pace. We went to a beautiful Pagoda on a lake, the Ho Chi Minh Museum and his house and gardens which was amazing, then onto the Temple of Literature and the Museum of Ethnology...

Hanoi at a glance

On the bus, I could hardly find a tiny room for myself and I also had people nudging at me, being compressed between the two rows of seats. I had to spend all the night long crouched on some boxes with the suffocating smell of the food that the local people brought on the bus that made me wish to get off the bus as soon as dawn appeared. Eventually, the morning came and, just after crossing the border to enter Vietnam...

Food in Hanoi that I never forget

Bun Cha is a dish consisting of chargrilled pork patties and sliced barbecued pork. It is served with rice vermicelli noodles, sliced kolorabi in fish sauce and fresh greens (basil, cilantro and mint). We were escorted up into a narrow staircase to a small room that sat about twenty people. It was lunch hour and there were many people, including the two of us devouring this yummy dish...

My love for Hanoi

Side walks are not used for walking. If they are not filled with vendors or parked motor bikes, then during rush hour they are used as an extension of the road. Motor bikes pop up the curb and zig zag in any available space. And all the honking… you get immune to it and soon you can block it all out; unless your in a small alley and even though you have made eye contact with an approaching motor bike, they will still honk. It’s like, I freakin see you...

Hanoi the return

The old quarter of approximately 40 streets radiates from Hoan Kiem Lake and still today follows the original early 20th century street layout and is full of dilapidated old houses. Each street specialised in a particular trade, a tradition which is predominately still followed. One street sells only woollen scarves and hats, another ladies underwear, another buttons and zips or tin products, toys, funeral items or shoes...

Horrible traffic in Hanoi

So we arrived in Hanoi this am, and visited Ho Chin Mihn's mausoleum, but sadly he was in Russia getting his annual dobie up, so we couldn't file respectfully past his mummified body. We then visited a lovely pagoda on a single pedestal, where, if you want babies - that is where you go to pray. We then went to the university which turned out to be a huge surprise...

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