Monday, November 26, 2007

Hola Hanoi?

Taking a break from Vietnam's food, just what might you do in Hanoi?

The Old Quarters that Hanoi is so famed for. Roads named after products, such as coffee, silk, shoes, clothes etc, Old Quarter is distinctly a part of Hanoi not to be missed..

The Thang Long Water puppets is also uniquely Hanoi. How's the show? Well, the opening act was fine..but by the end of the show? erm, Dragongirl fell asleep..hahaha. A small tip here..we bought the VIP tickets, thinking we'll get a better view. We were quite disappointed to find that there was not much difference from the normal tickets..heck, the row behind us paid half of what we paid! So, just get the norm tics, ok?

The Hoan Kiem Lake, smacked right in the middle of Hanoi City is hard to miss. Beautiful, just strolling around the lake gives a sense of sereness. Well, it was serene until Dragongirl tried stealing the 'sword' ..hehe

Temple of Literature is actually a temple and a literature hall (the 'uni' ) combined (or so I was told). Nice, vast space, with the temple and structures build in ancient Chinese style; it's quite interesting see the 'examination halls' and they have the 'juang yuan bang' - the scholar's list all carved on huge slabs of stones.

The Ngoc Ha Temple at West Lake..I felt very calm once I stepped into this temple. It was a quiet day, we were just taking our time in the temple. There was a bodhi tree in the temple, the locals said that if we were to sit there and rest, we would feel an aura of calm enveloping us.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was a quite a sight to behold; the wide open space, the majestic structures and not forgetting, the amazing number of tourists..most unfortunately, it was having some refurbishment, hence we were not allowed to go in..
The Presidential Palace was grand with its' unforgettable vivid colouring. We were not allowed near the area, this was the best shot I managed to take..
One pillar Pagoda explains how it looks like..It was built on a pillar. We were told by the locals that this pagoda was built as the king was grateful that Kuan Yin had bestowed him a son. The elderly king wanted to have a son for years and have been frequently visiting pagodas to pray and seek blessings from kuan yin. One night, he dreamt that Kuan Yin handed him a son. Soon after, the queen was pregnant. Hence, we were told that if you want to have a son, just pray here and your wishes would soon be granted..hehe
As for night, just chill in a local pub.. I simply adore the pubs there as the decor was just so cool (while others, classy). Somewhat french and zen, really nice to while time away with friends. And yes, drinks are not expensive at all...
So you want to travel out of Hanoi? Then a must would be the Unesco World Heritage listed Halong Bay..
Most unfortunately, it was raining when I was there, most of my pictures in Halong Bay looks so misty.. For those who can understand mandarin, Halong literally means Xia Long (dragons descending). And of course there's a legend following this name..:). Should I tell? hehe..guess not, but it's to do with war and descending dragon princes to aid in the war...
We had a rather enchanting night staying in the junk, in the midst of a thousand islets surrounding us...Guess Dragongirl had a better time teaching our junk mates from Germany, Chile, Israel, US to play Blackjack...hehe
You can swim, kayak or check out the caves (in larger islets)..

Though i was not very impressed with the disco caves..Would have been better if it was with white light...

There are also many famous places to visit around Hanoi, such as Sapa..which I did not have time to check out. Oh well...

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Blogger Kenny Mah said...

Hanoi? Gosh, you travel a lot lar, sc... Me so envious hehe... Disco caves some more, hehe... :D

27 November, 2007  
Blogger "Joe" who is constantly craving said... food ar?..keke
so nice..i want to go visit also

28 November, 2007  
Blogger teckiee said...

*sign* such clear sky. I think I will only see mist when I go la.. picked the wrong time to go

28 November, 2007  
Blogger sc said...

kenny: aduhai kenny, you can go for hols too if you want ;p and if u read my earlier post, not all are bed of roses in hanoi :(. yes disco caves..if they added music, think can throw a rave party..haha

joe: more food to come..hehe..wei, you just came back from hols too!

teckiee: actually, when i first went, it was raining..clear skies only when i came back from HCM..jan's weather shud be lovely i think :)

28 November, 2007  
Blogger MeiyeN said...

now i know how hanoi looks like... :D

29 November, 2007  
Blogger sc said...

meiyen: the nicer part of it only...there are some not that nice too...

29 November, 2007  
Blogger Jason said...

Some places very much look like those in China.

05 December, 2007  

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