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deedles Hanoi - A travel report by Deedles
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Hanoi,  Vietnam - flag Vietnam -  Hà Nºi
5786 readers

deedles's travel reports

HANOI ....What a culture shock!!!

  8 votes
Page: 1 2
Hanoi, My 1st City on my 1st visit to Vietnam.
Looking out the plane window, plenty of fog?
No....Not fog.......but SMOG!!!
Mmm, no clear crisp photo's here, what a shame!

Busy Hanoi
Busy Hanoi
Coming from a western culture where the air is clean and fresh, and rubbish is put in bins, the population is small and there is not an enormous amount of traffic, Hanoi sure was quite a culture shock!

The streets are narrow, the footpaths are full of motorbikes parked, and roads are full of motorbikes, with a few cars and taxis. I found many people cooking in the streets. I did eat at one of these places where the tiny doll size chairs & tables spilled onto the street. Oh! My legs! I found getting up difficult, these size tables and chairs are not made for taller people!

The buildings are narrow and high, It is dirty, with no rubbish bins, they just throw everything on the street, then in the evening, a rubbish patrol comes and picks it up.

People pestered me to buy their goods, and often when I said no, they followed me. I also was petestered to take a cyclo or motorbike ride many times, they never gave up!

This indeed is a different world to where I come from!

Favourite spots:
Snake & Scorion Wine
Snake & Scorion Wine
I stayed in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, and indeed this was one of my favorite spots.

It is a shopper's paradise, I don't think you could not find anything that you so desired here.

Each street sells just one item, so I found myself in a street, just selling Shoes, then another selling Cigarettes, another selling Toys, another selling Materials, and so the list goes on!

Remember to bargain if you are going to buy, prices are high to start with and you can get your purchases much cheaper.

I had a wonderful time wandering the streets here. I saw so many different things, but probably the must unusual was the Snake & Scorpion wine!

What's really great:
Giarai Tomb & Dang Communal Home
Giarai Tomb & Dang Communal Home
The Ethnology Museum I found to be very interesting and well done. A word of warning though...It is closed on Mondays.

It had an excellent outdoor and indoor exhibition centre, showcasing the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam, their clothes and their tools, their homes as well, etc.

Outdoors, I saw and went into preserved dwellings and some that had been remade. I was able to walk into all the different homes, these included the Tay stilt house, Yao House on half stilts and half earth, the Hanhi house made out of beaten walls, Giarai Tomb, Se dang Communal house to name a few. The interiors of the house feature the living and dining areas.

'DANG COMMUNAL HOME" or 'RONG," is the tallest structure in the village, its roof is shaped like and axe head, it certainly stands out. The communal houses are built entirely with the wood of trees that grow in the area. No nails or wire are used in their construction.

You may get a shock when you come across the Giarai Tomb!

French Quarter
French Quarter
There are many so many sights in Hanoi, so I have added a few of the many I saw.

Located in the centre of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is also known as the Lake of the Returned Sword. It was once a marshy lagoon and owes its name and its fame to a powerful legend. Large, soft - shelled freshwater Tortoises are still in the lake, and if you are lucky and see one, then you WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK!

At the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake is a small island with the 14th century, Ngoc Son (Jade Mountain) Temple. The island and its Temple are reached by the pretty red wooden bridge called The Huc, which translates to "Flood of Morning Sunlight". Either end of the bridge is guarded by large stone gateways with Chinese characters written on them.

This is the bridge that everybody photographs!

The French Quarter is a lovely part of Hanoi to wander around. It is located to the south and east of Hoan Kiem Lake, and has grand boulevards and elegant French colonial buildings.

Queen Star Hotel
Queen Star Hotel
The Queen Star Hotel is in Ma May street, Hanoi, in the old Quarter. The staff are all friendly and very helpful, nothing was too much trouble. The rooms are clean. I booked a cheap room, so this was in the centre of the Hotel and had no window. It didn't bother me as I only wanted to sleep here.

Breakfast is adequate, fried egg and roll, with butter & jam and tea or coffee. This is every day, no change!

They have a laundry service, and the internet is free. You also have a fridge. The rooms are cleaned, but the sheets are not changed unless you ask them to, this may be an issue with some people. They also have luggage storage if you wish to go to Sapa etc, be warned, this is not in a lock up room. They can book tours for you and arrange taxis. It is in a convenient position in the Old Quarter, not far from anything. The room I had was quiet. I found some good places for a meal a short walk away. This is a budget Hotel, and for the price, I was happy!

Dinner time in Hanoi Old Quarter
Dinner time in Hanoi Old Quarter
Once darkness falls, Hanoi comes alive! People come and have their meals mainly at the street stalls.

The busy old quarter
The busy old quarter

Ladybird Restaurant

In the old quarter, not far from my Hotel, I found this little restaurant. Upstairs, I could sit on the balcony, have my meal and enjoy watching the going ons of the day. They served Western and Vietnamese food at reasonable prices. I had the western, which was plenty and cooked nicely. I enjoyed my meal here.

Other recommendations:
Ho Chi Minh's stilt house and pond
Ho Chi Minh's stilt house and pond
In Hanoi, there is Ho Chi Minh's residence is next to the Presidential Palace and set amongst nice gardens and a large pond which Ho Chi Minh had stocked with Carp. It was in the gardens where he practised Martial Arts and Tai Chi with his guards.

Ho Chi Minh was known as a person who shunned the luxury of the Presidential Palace and lived in the Palace Electricians house under humble conditions for a period of 4 years.

In 1958, he moved to the house on stilts which is on display how he left it, all the furniture and settings are still there, just as it was in the 60's.

You can visit his Mausoleum, only the day I was there, it was closed.

Not far from Uncle Ho's Mausoleum is the Museum.

This is a well set out, interesting Museum that you need to allow some time to have a good look around.

This is a tribute to Ho Chi Minh's life, where you will find personal items and photos, and details of the Nation's Communist Revolution.

Published on Wednesday April 13th, 2011

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Sat, Apr 30 2011 - 04:47 PM rating by mistybleu

An enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing your experiences

Mon, Apr 25 2011 - 11:09 AM rating by el2995

Thanks for a nice report; it brings back memories of my time spent in Hanoi last year. I wish I would have had time for the Ethnology Museum (I instead opted for the Army Museum), as that would have given me some additional background on the Flower H'mong, Black H'mong and Red Dzao tribes that I would later encounter in Sapa & Bac Ha.

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