The Solar Daytime Ane Brutal Inwards Beloved Alongside Vietnam...

Despite the data overload on most go websites describing Vietnam as everything from a province amongst a war-laden yesteryear to a province amongst quaint, tranquillity towns amongst a rich civilisation - yet, I didnt know what to actually expect.

On Day 1 of our rest at Hanoi, nosotros were laid upward at half-dozen am (we rarely wake upward hence early holidays, but hence ‘Ha Long Bay’ was a three hr drive-cum-ferry trip off Hanoi - hence nosotros had to start early) … in addition to hence - our automobile driver called inwards late! Wanting to ‘kill the thirty infinitesimal wait’, nosotros decided to stroll downward the quaint ‘Old Quarter’ expanse of Hanoi where nosotros (and most 'tourists') stayed.. What would nosotros uncovering at half-dozen am, nosotros idea – but at to the lowest degree nosotros tin cause got a walk inwards the fresh air!

To our surprise, the streets of Old Quarter were bustling amongst 2 wheelers (people riding to larn to go perhaps?), immature girls amongst conical straw hats riding bicycles, middle aged drivers pushing their ‘cyclo’s (cycle rickshaws) downward the streets in addition to street vendors carrying their goods inwards twin baskets hanging across the shoulders on a bamboo pole – selling everything from fresh fruits to rice to utensils in addition to identify stuff. All this activity was through streets which were lined yesteryear a myriad of shops- most amongst their shutters nevertheless downward in addition to a canopy of wires ‘meshed’ across electrical poles. The shuttered downward shops had at their doorstep – petty make-shift breakfast stalls. Each stall had 2-3 mini stools for customers to sit down on in addition to cause got breakfast of ‘pho bo’ – the local noodle broth. The breakfast stalls would presently closed for the twenty-four hr menstruation making agency for the shutters to opened upward into majority shops, go shops in addition to plush restaurants serving ‘authentic’ Vietnamese cuisine.

Fruit vendors inwards the Old Quarter

The half-dozen am breakfast of 'Pho Bo'

A lady making Rice Paper Sheets (for Rice Paper Rolls)
The forenoon marketplace inwards the middle of Old Quarter was every bit exciting (and sparklingly clean) – three aisles total of vendors selling vegetables, fish, snakes, meat in addition to other raw ingredients that would hence larn cooked as sumptuous meals around the local restaurants in addition to nutrient stalls. Customers amongst textile bags laid upward for their purchase were haggling for their money’s worth.. (this could cause got good been India - I idea to myself!).

The other side of Old Quarter ended at the top dog street – a band route that encircled the Hoan Keim Lake (famous for the legendary golden turtle god).. Local joggers at the lake were brushing yesteryear the forenoon mist that arose inwards a higher identify the lake giving the onlooker a gentle peek at the “Turtle Tower” correct inwards the middle of the waters.

Hoan Keim Lake (famous for the legendary Golden Turtle God)

Incense Stick Sellers
Our walk ended amongst our cabbie’s honk – nosotros hence proceeded amongst our ‘touristy’ adventures in addition to to a greater extent than over the side yesteryear side few days inwards in addition to around Hanoi...

My listing of Top five Attractions inwards in addition to around Hanoi:

  • Ha Long Bay
  • The Perfume Pagoda
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • The One Pillar Pagoda
  • The Water Puppet Theatre

Ha Long Bay (which is a UNESCO the world heritage sight) amongst thousands of limestone isles was breathtaking! We waded through the bay waters inwards a quaint junkboat – riding yesteryear floating angling villages, yesteryear petty boats selling vegetables in addition to fruits – watching the limestone islets inwards diverse shapes, forms in addition to sizes! We wished nosotros had spent to a greater extent than than only a twenty-four hr menstruation there!

Fruit Vendor at Ha Long Bay

Our Junk Boat cruising thru Ha Long Bay

The ‘Perfume Pagoda’ – (about a thirty infinitesimal campaign from Hanoi city) - had an interesting legend: If you lot rub the cave walls of the Pagoda amongst currency notes, you lot volition survive blessed amongst to a greater extent than wealth! (We promptly did the needful …!)

The 'Perfume' Pagoda
The journeying to the Pagoda – (a boat ride followed yesteryear a cable automobile ride to the top where the Pagoda was), was peradventure to a greater extent than interesting than the Pagoda itself. These boats filled amongst as many as 20 passengers at times, were all driven yesteryear women – most of them who were widows of war-martyrs, nosotros were told. It was amazing how rigid - these otherwise fragile looking women - actually were in addition to nosotros were actually humbled yesteryear their feat!

A 'Sea' of boats waiting to cause got us to the Pagoda
Boats steered yesteryear women (many of them are widows of nation of war martyrs)
A co rider smoking a Bamboo Pipe
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - is a must see (gives a peak into the life in addition to times of HCM) in addition to hence is the One Pillar Pagoda - which is a pocket-size pagoda standing on a unmarried pillar inwards the middle of a pond. This Pagoda is said to cause got been built yesteryear Emperor Ly Thai Tong as a token of gratitude to Avalokiteshvara afterwards his boy was born. It is ane of the 2 most iconic pagoda inwards Vietnam (the other ane beingness the Perfume Pagoda).

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The One Pillar Pagoda

The Water Puppet Theatre correct inwards the middle of Hanoi was a cultural treat! Colorful Puppets telling us a Vietnamese legend of kings in addition to farmers in addition to turtles et all – but amongst a divergence – all puppets were ‘dancing’ around on water!

The Water Puppet Show

The Water Puppeteers taking a bow afterwards the show
On our terminal twenty-four hr menstruation at Hanoi - sitting inwards the balcony of a local Coffee Shop at a busy crossroad, watching the Sun larn downward in addition to busy 2 wheelers rushing dorsum homewards, nosotros reminisced the days spent there. Hanoi genuinely had a lot to offering … but what actually stayed inwards our hearts was the starting fourth dimension manus sense of what the metropolis actually was (at half-dozen am!) – it reflected the city’s thriftiness, its old-meets-new street scenes, the plush-meets-humble nutrient joints in addition to eventful markets! Sipping the terminal of our steaming Vietnamese coffee, nosotros stepped out onto the street – bought souvenirs for dorsum habitation (a conical hat, a mini cyclo in addition to of class tons of sweetness memories!)

Bustling Hanoi

What kids volition beloved inwards Hanoi:

  • The Water Puppet Theatre
  • Cable Car Ride upward to the Perfume Pagoda 
  • Cruise along the Ha Long Bay (but the 3-4 hours cruise as the overnight ane mightiness larn like shooting fish in a barrel for kids)
  • Walk (Run past) the promenade along the Hoan Kiem Lake 
  • Visit the colourful markets of Hanoi

(An extract of this travelogue was published inwards Hindustan Times HT Cafe on May 1, 2010).


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