AsiaVietnamHanoi

Finally in Hanoi

Hanoi Travel Blog

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Temple of Literature

Today we finally arrived in our last destination on our bus in Vietnam.  Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.  We arrived by bus from Hue around 8am.  We got dropped off in a strange location, some random place where they told all the foreigners to wait for a taxi to take us into town.  Then we were separated off into different taxis, Steve and I were the last ones so we got our own taxi with this guy who was with the bus company and he chatted with us as he took us to his hotel so we would stay at it (often the busses are subsidized by the restaurant stops and hotels that they drop off at).  We got to the hotel and the rooms looked nice but were more than we wanted to spend.

Water Puppets (seen at Temple of Literature)
  However, at the threat of us leaving, they lowered the price to $8 so we decided to take it.  Steve found out some information about a tour of Halong Bay they were trying to sell us.  I took a shower and got ready for the day. 

We first had some errands to take care of.  On the list of things to do this morning was book a tour of Halong Bay, eat breakfast and buy tickets to a water puppetry show for tonight.  First we walked aorund for awhile asking different tour agencies and hotels about their tour of Halong Bay.  Halong Bay is this amazing limestone formation with caves and thousands of islands or smthg, about 3 hours from Hanoi.  Every tourist agency arranges boat trips there where you can see the caves and kayak.

Temple of Literature
  Steve and I were interested in Kayaking there on a 2 day, 1 night trip.  We asked many different places for prices and what is included.  They were all very similar, some identical, but at last we settled on a place that offered us the tour for around $27 per person (rather than $32 which all the other agencies were saying).  The tour includes 2 days, 1 night on a boat, all the meals, transportation, entrance fees, kayaks, guide, cave visits,etc, so its a pretty good deal for what we are getting.  The tour will leave tomorow morning around 8am, and get back the next day around  5pm. 

After booking the tour,  we went to get tickets to the water puppet show which the only show they still had tickets left for was at 4pm this afternoon.

Lake in Old Quarter with building on small islet
  Then we went to eat some lunch of noodles with some meat in soup thing.  It was pretty good. 

After our errands, we were finally ready to see the sites of Hanoi.  We wanted to see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum but it was already closed for the day, so we went straight to the temple of literature.  It was this big temple area that was honoring Confuscius and some other scholars and many people studied there in ancient times, it can be considered the first university in Vietnam.  We walked through the temple and saw the sites.  Then we left and headed back towards the central part of Hanoi- the Old Quarter. 

We walked around a big lake in the old quarter which was pretty.  There were some sites to see on the lake and we took pictures.

Water Puppet Theater
  Then we looked in some shops to fill time before the puppet show at 4pm.  The water puppet show was totally awesome!  It is a old theatre form orignating in northern Vietnam from the rice paddy farmers in Vietnam.  The puppets are literally in a pool of water with a curtain behind them to hide the people controlling the puppets from sticks.  There are muscians and singers on the side that provide the sound.  The show was great, little songs and dances that were different aspects of Vietnam traditional life, such as fishing song, catching a frog, raising ducks and chasing a fox, and other types like a story about the lake in Hanoi, and a dance of dragons, pheonix, etc.  We really enjoyed this show a lot.

The show was about 1 hour, and then we went to walk to the nearby market.

Water Puppet Theater
  I wanted to do some shopping but was dissapointed when we got there because many shops already started to close.  So we decided just to go back to the hotel.  We got back to the hotel room and rested and I did some laundry.  Seinfeld was on TV on one of the English channels, so Steve was excited and we watched the whole episode.

Then we went to get dinner.  We walked around to find a place and ate at our favorite type of restaurant- eating outside on little plastic child-size stools, eating the one menu item they have which is all cooked outside next to ure table on some coals and stuff.  We had noodle soup again (Vietnamese call it Pho) and it also came with these delicious fried bready things.  We're use to this roadside pho costing only 10,000 dong (about 60 cents) everywhere, but this bowl of pho was 20,000 dong each!  We were surprised and felt we got ripped off, but oh well, that is still only just over $1.  After dinner we went back to our hotel and watched some TV and then used the internet to write our updates.

-Arum

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Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature
Water Puppets (seen at Temple of L…
Water Puppets (seen at Temple of …
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature
Lake in Old Quarter with building …
Lake in Old Quarter with building…
Water Puppet Theater
Water Puppet Theater
Water Puppet Theater
Water Puppet Theater
Pho and weird bread sticks
Pho and weird bread sticks
Hanoi
photo by: mario26