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Exploring Hanoi, and the World's Cheapest Beer

Hanoi Travel Blog

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Temple of Literature

Another sleeper bus landed the four of us in Hanoi, where our planned trip to Ha Long Bay was cancelled due to a typhoon. The Irish Three signed up for a two-day tour of the bay, and I signed up for a three-day tour. With an unplanned day to spend in Hanoi we decided to walk around and visit a few local sites. After checking into a guesthouse, getting lost, and grabbing lunch, Dave and I set off in search of the Army Museum, which was supposed to be pretty cool. We arrived to a closed museum, contrary to the hours printed in our Lonely Planet, as well as the guidebooks of the other eight travellers who showed up in the four minutes we were standing in front of the museum. Bummer.

 

Instead, we decided to walk to the nearby Temple of Literature, essentially a school of learning dating back to the first millenium. The temple grounds were spectacular, as were the huge stone things with thousand-year-old writings.

Praying in the Temple of Literature
Also worth mentioning was the HUGE drum, about 6+ feet across and weighing 700 kg.

 

It’s difficult to describe the hectic, bustling nature of Hanoi. The streets all look the same, and are near-impossible to navigate without a really, really good map. Different streets have different kinds of shops and it’s easy to wander from one to another, if a little confusing. It’s fun to get yourself lost and find yourself in the bronze/children’s toys/display cases/underwear/silk/adhesives/woodworking/fireworks/instruments/scooters/etc district. Motos crowd the streets at all hours like ants on a sugar pile. As with the rest of Asia, crossing the street is a matter of balls and luck – walk slowly, don’t hesitate, and hold your breath.

 

After meeting back up with the girls, we went out for some great food (beef satay) and cheap beer. Oh yeah, I forgot about the beer. Hanoi is famous for its fresh draft beer, bia hoi, which just so happens to be the world’s cheapest beer. One dollar will get you just under six beers. Process that for a moment. And that’s 50% more expensive than it used to be. The Old Quarter is filled with street corner bars with bia hoi for 3000d/glass. One more time, that’s six beers for a dollar. We spent a few hours sitting on the street corner chatting it up with other travellers and locals alike before heading back to the guesthouse to get some sleep before our trip to Ha Long Bay.

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Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature
Praying in the Temple of Literature
Praying in the Temple of Literature
Dave beating the massive 700kg drum
Dave beating the massive 700kg drum
Rita, Louise, Myself, and Dave enj…
Rita, Louise, Myself, and Dave en…
Hanoi
photo by: mario26