Sunday, 29 November 2015

Vietnam Day 2 - Hanoi

This was scheduled for us as a free day with only the welcome dinner in the evening programmed as our first tour activity but at the airport pick up the previous evening we were asked to assemble in the afternoon for a city tour.

We began the day with a hotel breakfast. As expected there were many offerings of a savoury nature traditional in the Asian diet which we three would not usually eat as breakfast items.

This dish attracted our attention;

What might it look like? Well, take a look for yourself;

It looked, and tasted, like a beef stew. Quite nice really although not what I would usually eat for breakfast.

It was raining quite steadily and we decided to use our free morning to explore the neighbourhood and the nearby lake, one of many in Hanoi. I had brought an umbrella with me from Sydney but the others had not. We were directed to a nearby supermarket where CE and ME purchased umbrellas for a handful of dollars. CE managed to cut himself opening the umbrella for the first time drawing blood so we returned to the hotel briefly for him to be bandaged. Then we set off.

Dodging stalls, people seated on kiddie type stools eating on the footpath, motor bikes parked on the footpath and all manner of other obstacles we eventually reached Thong Nhat Park. Across the road we circled around this serene lake which my iPhone identified as being in Lenin Park.

Thien Quang Lake

A nearby school with Ho Chi Minh's image prominent;

A Hanoi street at school pick up time (around 11.30 am) for those students attending morning school. (A different set of children would arrive at 1.00 pm for those attending afternoon school.)

After about three hours of walking we returned to our hotel for the briefest of breaks before the city tour.

The Hanoi skyline viewed from our hotel room;

In the afternoon we embarked on the city tour, which turned out to be two events which the tour program stated were to have occurred the next day; a walk past Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and a visit to the Temple of Literature. We assumed we would be returned to the hotel to freshen up for the evening's welcome dinner following the tour but as it turned out we were taken directly to the dinner from the tour; CE, ME and myself still in the clothes we had sweated through in our long morning's walk in the rain.

Assembling for the city tour we met our fellow group travellers for the first time. We were a party of eighteen in total, all from Australia and all pretty well proving to be delightful travel companions for the following three weeks.

First stop the Mausoleum which our group could only view from the outside in a slow walk past;

Next stop, which we could and did explore for about an hour was the Temple of Literature, a centuries old complex of courtyards which was Vietnam's first University;

At the end of our visit the sun had set and we were taken across the road to a training restaurant run by disadvantaged teenagers for our first meal as a group. No photos of this but the meal was reasonable enough.


  1. A few memories rekindled. We visited the same lake and the other places you mention, including a training restaurant owned by an Australian Vietnamese I think called Jimmy.

    1. I imagine many of the tour companies follow a well worn track Andrew.

  2. What is very different is that 15 years ago the streets of Hanoi were dominated by bicycles and cyclos.

  3. it completely exotic world from Poland. Breakfast too heavy for me it can be for lunch or dinner. Landscape lovely

    1. Gosia, I very different experience for us too.

  4. I had ostrich once (in Hong Kong) and thought it tasted like beef as well.

    Btw..I hope you got your fix of chicken pho.

    1. Yes AdRad we had lovely chicken pho, although I noticed it seemed mainly a breakfast or morning dish in Vietnam.