Vietnam ’15, Part 4: Hanoi

It was good to be back in the city because continously staring at the fog in Sapa made as kind of depressed. The bus tour was really comfortable, we used a sleeper bus that has three rows of bunk beds – certainly recommendable for longer trips.

There are a couple of things worth looking at but I’d say three days is more than enough to explore them. The atmosphere is very much different from Saigon. Especially the government district clearly shows you that you are in the capital of the country: broad streets, large colonial style government buildings and a huge park area with Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum. The many small and big lakes spread across the city also make the city feel less dense than many other cities that size. It is fun strolling through the narrow streets of the old city center. There are hundreds of shops and restaurants in which you can easily spend a whole afternoon.

And for those interested in the recent history of Vietnam, the “Maison Centrale” is recommendable. The buildings you find there, nowadays embedded into many modern buildings around, are the remainders of a formerly much bigger complex that was used as a prison from both the French during the colonial time as well as by the Vietnamese for American prisoners of war during the Vietnam war. Senator John McCain was the most prominent prisoner from 1967 to 1973 in the so-called “Hanoi Hilton”. Besides prison cells there’s a museum to visit with exhibits from both periods.

The pagodes we’ve seen weren’t that great and often over-crowded with tourists. The ones I saw in Saigon were much more impressing, calm and they make you feel like being in a spiritual place rather than in just another “follow-the-striped-umbrella” tourist group site. But that’s part of another post. Now see some of our impressions of Hanoi:

Mobile flower market, quite common in the streets.
This guy must know the train schedule by heart
The three main means of transportation, all in one picture.
… and here’s a more exceptional one 😉
Mr. Lenin and a member of the working class. Interesting way to write his name. Vietnamese is a true one-syllable language.
Soldiers practicing some military drill in front of Lenin’s statue.


Chùa Một Cột (one pillar pagoda), interesting but also very crowded place, close to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Ho Ci Minh mausoleum itself, which was closed that day.
The president’s palace



Chùa (Pagode) Trấn Quốc
The entrance to Chùa Trấn Quốc, which closed that day….
The history behind the tree on the next picture


Coffee break
I have to admit, we did not take one of these swans for a romantic boat trip on lake Trúc Bạch
Đền Quán Thánh (some kind of pagoda, but additionally dedicated to a certain person) near lake Trúc Bạch


This is only one of a couple of kitchen supply shops all very close to each in the same street – true competition!
… the same is true for the music shops
A busy round-about at night near Hoàn Kiếm Lake
Lake Hoàn Kiếm – they say a very old big turtle lives in there (note: in 2016 the turtle was reported dead…..)

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