Apologies for being away for so long, the previous weeks had been hectic.
Anyway, we reached Hanoi on the noon of 5th of April, 2018. We met an amazing Portuguese couple in the airport and they suggested we take the bus to the Old Quarters. So, we boarded the bus number 17 (bus number 7 also takes a similar route) for a ride which dropped us close to our place, a lovely AirBnB located on the Hang Ma road in the Hoan Kiem district.
That evening, we just strolled around the place, enjoying an occasional Banh Mi with a Bia Ha Noi. The street 9 Ta Hien is a an amazing place to be. Foodie’s paradise and you shall be spoilt for variety.
We were excited about the next day, for we were scheduled to go the amazing Ha Long Bay.
The weather next day was gloomy as the tour bus came to pick us up. There were chances of rain, and by the time we made it to the halfway point between Hanoi and Halong, news arrived that it was too dangerous to go to sea. So, we turned back. Apparently, this happens quite often, and we blessed our lucky stars that we had planned the trip on the first day at Hanoi, we still had the next day to take a shot. If a situation like this happens with you, make it a point to talk to your booking agent so that an alternate may be arranged.
Once back in the city, we found no reason to waste any time by not sightseeing within the city. Leaving Ankita and Manas lounging back home, scheduled to join us in some time, I and Ritwik went out on foot.
There is a Train street in Hanoi, which is basically a train crossing right in the middle of the city, with houses very close to the track.
We had our customary Banh mi, yet again, and were headed towards the Hoan Kiem lake.
The lake sits in the middle of the crowded city, with buildings on the banks and people thronging all about. Despite the bustle, there is a sense of calm and peace near the lake. Within the lake, is the Turtle Tower.
Next up we made our way to the famous Opera House. This is a grand French opera house in the city centre, which was commissioned in the early 1900s and is still in operation.
A short walk ahead, took us to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a grand building in memory of the country’s leader Ho Chi Minh. Right beside the mausoleum is the museum, which we could not go in to.
We did go to the One Pillar Pagoda situated behind the mausoleum.
Somehow, I am not getting the actual photo of the pagoda, so, making do with a paper cut-out pop-up model’s photo of the same. These pop-up models were available in plenty in the night market street.
Now, it was getting dark, so we decided to meet up near the lake. We took an Uber to the night market on the way, which turned out to be a long street, where almost everything is up for sale, from apparels to jewellery to food and the market culminated at the lake.
Soon, we met up and were trying to find a decent place to have dinner, when we heard the unmistakable music of the song Despacito. We followed the music, and found this.
He had a small team on a synthesizer and drums to back him up and he played around effortlessly to a crowd. Since we had nothing else to do, and were quite enjoying the music, we stayed there for more than an hour listening.
We found some banh mi yet again, and wrapped up for the day.
For the ones who want to explore the city, wandering around is a way to go. For the more structured ones, Hanoi Walking tour may be the easier way.
The next day, would be our shot at going to Ha Long bay.