Hanoi II - City Tour

Hanoi Travel Blog

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Ho Chi Minh

Picked up by the hotel at 8am this morning for a city tour of Hanoi. The company we picked was AST/Sinh Travel down by the lake, and for $19 had a 7 hour tour with lunch in a minivan with 8 others.


We started at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex where we were immediately relieved of our cameras and electronic equipment. We were ordered in twos to walk in a long line into the Mausoleum. Soldiers at the door instructed us to keep out hands out of our pockets, take sunglasses off, wear covered legs and arms, hats off. The Smile Police almost. Ho Chi Min lay prostrate in his see-through coffin in a large tomb-like room guarded by 4 soldiers. We all shuffled silently round the room and filed out again where we were reunited with our things.


We then wandered round the complex, seeing Ho Chi Minh’s Palace, home abode and office, One Pillar Pagoda and the museum.

Confucious (at the Temple of Literature)
This was an excellent museum, really state of the art, but despite many explanations in French, English and Vietnamese, many facts about Vietnam’s recent history still eluded us. Why did the Americans go into Vietnam anyway? Who was leading the Republicans apart from America itself? Why did North and South

Need reunification? Added to this the museum had a number of very large exhibits that seemed not to have any purpose. A giant wonky table and chairs with a fruit bowl for instance. How did they get that signed off???


After that we went to the Temple of Literature which is one part temple, one part university. Much of the ‘literature’ is inscribed on giant stone tablets on the back of stone turtles. Groovy.


Then onto lunch.

Temple of Literature
We were dubious. Often there is a catch… but we needn’t have worried. We were taken to the Ladybird restaurant on ‘Sweet street’ (so named by us because of the endless sweet stalls) which is reviewed in many articles pasted on the entrance window, though so far has not made it into the Lonely Planet. It is awesome, and we enjoyed a feast of rice, stir fried beef, vegetable soup and a supersonic garlic aubergine dish that proved extremely popular with all of us. (Order aubergine with black pepper sauce…)


We then moved onto the Chin Quoc Pagoda by the west lake and the Ngoc Son (Jade Mountain) Temple down by the lake in the Old Quarter. The first was very beautiful, though we had to wait to get in because they were closed for lunch. The second was also nice but by now Zoe was ‘all pagoda-ed out’.


We got the driver to drop us back at the Cyclo restaurant as we had Vietnamese dong to get rid of and we’d seen 2 dishes the day before that looked too good not to have. So after some pork tornadoes with port and bacon, and beef with camembert (!) we made our way back to the hotel and got ready for our pick-up to our overnight bus to the border and into Laos.

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Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Confucious (at the Temple of Liter…
Confucious (at the Temple of Lite…
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature
Chin Quoc pagoda
Chin Quoc pagoda
photo by: mario26