Day 15 (30 Dec 2009): Hanoi Revisited [Hanoi – Lao Cai]

For your convenience, please refer to The Journey for the itinerary and the latest updates.

Weather: Rainy

Distance covered today: 0km
Distance traveled from Guangzhou: 1,201km
Distance remaining to Singapore: 3,903km

It wasn’t my first time visiting Hanoi (KM 1201); the first time was back in 2006 with my mother. Since I had seen much of the sites, I would spend most of my time walking around and retracing some of my steps.

Hanoi’s busy traffic

Now you see him....

... but now you don't!

Hoan Kiem Lake

At the Hoan Kiem Lake, I was approached by one of the peddlers. He could speak pretty good English and started to talk to me about SEA Games football once he knew I was Singaporean. At the end, he made a sales pitch to me and I was willing to buy a postcard from him since he was quite entertaining. It was only then I realized that I dropped my money! Although the amount that I lost (48,000 VND) wasn’t significant, my expression must have made the guy believe that I had lost a couple of millions. I excused myself and escaped him.

There was an area around the lake guarded by police who restricted public access into the place. I didn’t know what was going on but the police did let me go in. I think that the restricted area was the celebration venue for the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the city.

Hanoi Emblem

Part of the decoration

Historic Arch near the lake

Banner

Hà Nội

Man in traditional Vietnamese costume

Temple

Vietnam is still a socialist country

Away from the lake I walked towards the Old Quarter.

Old Quarter

Many tourists in OQ

After exploring the Old Quarter i walked towards the French-styled buildings in the peripheral area.

French-styled Building - marriages are taking place there

Marriage notices

Hotel Metropole Hanoi - Swanky Place

Classic Cars parked outside

Socialist slogan

Keppel in Vietnam

I also went to eat ice-cream in a famous ice-cream place. Many locals were eating there too.

Famous ice-cream

Hope it won't become somebody's meal

Count down to New Year

I whiled some time away at a shopping mall before stopping by at a roadside stall for dinner. Most of my meals during the trip would be settled at roadside stalls like this. While the hygiene conditions weren’t what we were used to, the locals were all fine eating them. I would be fine too.

Where I had my dinner

Condiments

My humble dinner

I headed back to the hostel to collect my bag before setting off for the train station.

Ga Ha Noi

Unlike Chinese hard sleepers, the Vietnamese ones have compartments. When I located my apartment, an elderly man was already inside with his wife. He talked to me in Vietnamese and of course I couldn’t respond. He then asked me whether I knew English. I replied yes and we began to talk. So Mr Manh and his wife were from Ho Chi Minh City and were going to Sapa for holidays as well. He used to study in the United States and that was why he could speak English. He sorta took a liking of me and asked me some questions about my trip.

The other passengers soon filled our compartment and I went to sleep soon. However, my sleep was interrupted by the loud snoring of the man on the uppermost deck. I would be in for a long night…..

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