IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
From museums, to lakes, to a street food tour, (click here for the post), this was a thoroughly enjoyable trip, though the heat and humidity was palpable and certainly draining at times.
Our Hotel was an easy walk to the Hoan Kiem Lake, also know as "The Lake of The Restored Sword", with it's Turtle Tower and the beautiful red "Morning Sunlight Bridge". The lake is very easy to walk around, and the streets surrounding it, especially to the North which is the "Old Quarter", were bustling with local life as well as tourists.
The northern end of the lake in particular had some bars and coffee shops with fantastic views not only of the lake, but of the hustle and bustle going on at street level. All around the lake are pathways and flowers and beautiful trees that hang majestically touching the water.
A little to the north of the Old Quarter and a short taxi ride from our Hotel is the very much larger West Lake which is where we saw the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, Chua Tran Quoc. Unfortunately, we only saw this from the street, as our timing was completely wrong. The Pagoda closes at lunchtime, something we had forgotten about. A lot of the monuments and museums in Hanoi seem to close at lunchtime, so do check the timings before making any visits.
From the Pagoda, we walked up the avenue that divides West Lake from the very much smaller Truc Bach Lake. We found our way to The Botanical Gardens which are not as beautiful as those in Singapore by any means. As we were walking along, but we saw some interesting things, such as a guy operating a Barber Shop along the side of the street.
From the Botanical Gardens, we found our way to the Ho Chi Minh Museum and Mausoleum, which was currently closed due to construction and refurbishment. Still, a very impressive area.
Close to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, we also saw the One Pillar Pagoda. This interesting Buddhist Pagoda is quite historic, built in 1049 by Emperor Lý Thái Tông, and is regarded to be one of Vietnam's most iconic structures.
After taking a quick break from the walking and the heat in a cafe, we pressed on. We passed the statue of Lenin on our way to the The Flag Tower and The Vietnam Military History Museum.
The Flag Tower, built in 1812, has the Vietnamese flag flying at all times. This tower sits within The Vietnamese Military History Museum, which has a lot of military weaponry from the wars against the French and The American's in the quest for Vietnamese independence. It was interesting to see things from another perspective, even if obviously a touch biased one on the Vietnamese side. Also poignant to see American planes shot down during the war. A large structure/sculpture dominates the area, built from wreckage of a B-52, an F-111 and a French transport plane, all of which were shot down.
Hanoi has lots of interesting things to see and do. There are many tours to do from the city to outlying areas, such as Pottery Villages and even to Halong Bay. For us though, we were happy just to wander close to our Hotel, seeing the public buildings, statues and bustling streets always filled with people and motor bikes. We even saw in the late afternoon, badminton nets being strung across pavements close to our Hotel, and families playing the game.
For many more of my Hanoi images, please view my Flipagram below.
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