Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hanoi, the city of many lakes... Part II

The city with many lakes... One says that there are 18 romantic lakes…

Hoan Kiem Lake @Hanoi & the temple in the middle of the lake

Trip to Hanoi was partly as a transit to go to northern part of Vietnam.  Also, I had never been there, so as part as my attempt to conquest many places in Vietnam, I had to visit this capital city.

Buildings around Hoan Kiem Lake

Flying time, it is around two hours from Ho Chi Minh City. There are many airlines flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. I know that Vietnam Air, Jetstar and Air Mekong have regular schedule.

Motorbike for 3 guys? #Hanoi
Unlike in Ho Chi Minh City, the airport in Hanoi is a bit far from the city. I should say it takes around one hour depending on the traffic.

One of the enjoyments living in Ho Chi Minh City is that the distance between the airport and down town area is nothing. Perhaps Ho Chi Minh City is the one of the cities where the airport is still located “in the city”. It takes only 30 minutes by taxi from Tan Son Nhat airport to down town area District 1. It costs 160,000VND (US$ 8) fixed rate with Vinasun Taxi. There is Vinasun counter at International Arrival Hall after the custom clearance. 

Meanwhile, transportation cost from Hanoi airport to down town area, if I recall correctly, it is around 300,000VND (US$ 15), or more? 

Anyway, in Hanoi Trip - Part I, I have visited the Old Town, Hoan Kiem Lake, I peeped at the Opera House and Saint Joseph Cathedral,..... I had lunch at Exchange Café…

Then I went to Hỏa Lò Prison (Hanoi Hilton) and Temple of Literature… 

Let’s continue the trip and enjoy the local cuisine…

Street vendor selling flowers @ Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Thanks to Thao, my travel agent officer, who suggested that I combined the visits to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum as well as One Pillar Pagoda – they are in the same area.

Ho Chi Minh City Museum

The museum is all about the life of Vietnamese leader; Ho Chi Minh. I spent only fifteen minutes there. See reference: Ho Chi Minh Museum

Perhaps you could see my forehead was frowning -J

It reminds me of my first visit to Satria Mandala Museum (Armed Forces Museum in Jakarta) when I was 12 years old.


Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Locally it is known as Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ba Dinh Square which is the big square in front of the Mausoleum is where the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence was held on 2 September 1945. See reference: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The mausoleum was unfortunately closed at that day. So I had to find something to do to satisfy myself from this trip… Let me take pics…

This pic looks like a very simple photo. However, I took some efforts to shoot this one… I had to walk in the middle of the park, I made sure that the flag is in the center, I stood up and kneeled down to find the perfect angle…… it was at 3pm in Hanoi humid weather in June (almost summer)… furthermore I had to wait for the wind to wave the flag..!

One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

One Pillar Pagoda

The Pagoda that is locally known as Chùa Một Cột is situated in between the Mausoleum and Museum.

Come inside the gate & you'll see this temple

In my silly imagination, I expected to see a bigger temple. Still it is pretty…

Pond at One Pillar Pagoda

Flag Tower @ Hanoi

Flag Tower

Thuc, my driver who took me around in Hanoi, was wondering why I wanted to see this tower.

Its location is a little bit hidden. I could not see it from the street, until he pointed that out. What I saw was the Highland Coffee Shop -J It is quite something - next to monument, there is a café which is a well-known franchise coffee shop.

Well, this Flag Tower is one of symbols of the city and a part of Hanoi Citadel. Cute…  It reminds me of the Citadel in Hue, central part of Vietnam.

Quan An Ngon @ Hanoi

Vietnamese Cuisine

Heny, my friend from Ho Chi Minh City, flew to Hanoi later that afternoon.  We would travel together to the northern part of Vietnam.

See the fried tofu?

Wrap the fried tofu & veggie in the rice paper on the left

Early dinner at Quán Ăn Ngon was so much fun!  We ordered so many food, LoL, veggie spring roll, dim sum no veggie turned out to be Chinese buns (bakpao), bánh xèo (Vietnamese sizzling pancake) never come to our table and we totally forgot about it.  


More food to come e.g. grilled squid, tofu, etc.  Dessert was something like crush ice cubs with chickpeas and green jelly and syrup.

There is a similar concept in Ho Chi Minh City.  Even though one Vietnamese friend said " Nhà Hàng Ngon không ngon" (restaurant 'Delicious' is not delicious).  According to him, it is because this restaurant put together all of the food from all part of Vietnam to satisfy visitor taste, therefore some of the taste has been customized to non-vietnamese.

Still, I like both of these restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.  Furthermore, this place in Hanoi is less than five minutes away from the train station - We had to catch our train Livitrain to Sapa
We were heading to northern part of Vietnam along the border with China… where the ethnic minority live.

...Next post: Beautiful Sapa...

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