The old town of Hanoi
Trip Start Dec 12, 2010
156Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Hanoi Guest House
After a very, long bus ride, we'd finally arrived. We knew that the bus didn't drop us right in the centre of the old town however back in Hue before we got on the bus a guy had showed us his hotel, its was well placed, well priced and had everything we wanted so we agreed to look at it so someone was waiting for us when we arrived to take us there via a taxi. Mind you he took us to another hotel (that trick again) and said it was the same company and the price was more than we were quoted so out a principle we left (oh well, got a free taxi ride to where the hotels were). We'd been given a leaflet back in Hue for the original hotel and had pasted it in the taxi so we thought we'd check it out. Turns out the place was full and out of our price range anyway so we'd been lured in by a swanky hotel leaflets (that's a new one)
On our walk there we were getting hassle from more touts and one was still waiting for us as we left, so we gave in and agreed to check his place out
Had a shower, well to call it a shower now would be lying. I washed with a trickle of water coming out of a spout, changed and then we went out to explore the area.
The old town of Hanoi is made up of busy streets with people selling all sorts. And for some strange reason, they seem to have all the same shops on one street. Ie: if you want a blanket, there was one street full of blanket selling shops, next to that was paint and hardware street, toy street, hat street, shoe street, jeans street... there was even an optician street, with I kid you not – about 20 opticians on it. How they compete with the competition is beyond me. They could do with a little variety here... But I suppose if you were local to the area and needed something – you'd just have to go to one street and you're bound to get it.
It was still a great place. Scooters buzzing and beeping area. The smells were mind blowing and the colours immense. We walked around for ages just taking it all in. We made it to Hoan Kiem lake and walked around it. Not the nice relaxing lake we expected, as its surrounded by very busy streets with people beeping every second
Walking back through old town we stopped at a packed little restaurant – full of local Vietnamese people and thought it must be good. And it was. Cheap and so tasty. Plus the choice on the menu was great. Will definitely be coming back here again – as long as we could find it. Its a bit of a maze through all the streets, even with a map.
That evening we went to a place that is marked on our map as beer junction. And that's exactly what it was. A beer junction. Its a point where about 4 small roads meet and on the corners are local beer selling vendors with small plastic chairs that you sit on, on the curb and the streets. And much to Si's happiness, they were selling beer which was the equivalent to 15pence. So we sat there and watched the world go by. I got chatting to a girl who came to Vietnam 2 years ago and can't believe how much the tourism trade has increased in just those 2 years. Craziness. It was great just sitting and taking in all the sights and people watching. Not as relaxing as you'd might hope as you still had all the beeps to contend with
We didn't stay out too late as the long bus ride the night before was starting to catch up on us.