Where the weather is shitty but the sights are quite pretty..
Ah, the political capital of Vietnam, a peaceful living yet crazy place with a population of 7 million people.
You could easily lose yourself in this place for 3 days, just don’t forget to look, and look again when you run across the roads. Unfortunately Vietnam is very similar as Thailand in the sense that there are no rules on the road! (You think I’d be used to it by now)
Hanoi as a city boasts lots of attractions that educates on the history of Vietnam. There’s the Hoa Lo Prison, the Museum of Literature, Ho Chi Minh museum and Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, not to mention the beauties of the Botanical Gardens and Ho Hoan Kiem Lake. Most of which we have visited over our time here.
Here is a low down of our itinerary and the sites/attractions we saw in those days. I hope this helps if your wondering what to see/how much time you may need etc.
We arrived in Hanoi at 9am from Bangkok. As we had slept at the airport the night before; or not slept should I say, we went straight to our hotel and slept until about 3pm. Basically we wasted a whole morning where we could’ve seen more things but we sleep was more important at that time.
Temple of Literature
We spent the afternoon at the temple of Literature. This was Vietnams first university. It is one of several temples in Vietnam which is dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars.
On our second day in Hanoi we went to Hoa Lo prison museum and took a walk around the area of the Botanical Gardens
Hoa Lo Prison
What a fascinating museum! A prison built by the French that detained up to 2000 political prisoners and US pilots during the Vietnam War.
Most of the prison was knocked down in 1997 to make way for the Hanoi towers. Don’t be disheartened though, architects preserved some of the old prison to create the museum. What lies in tact is a creepy enough atmosphere for you to experience.
In the 1890s, the French imported many exotic tropical plants from all over the world to make up a rainforest right at the heart of the city. Cool huh?
Lots of people come here to relax, socialise, admire, study and participate in Tai Chi exercise (yes I crept in for a few moves).
I presume this would be lovely to lunch in on a hot sunny day, unfortunately we didn’t have that luxury, being January and cold.
Entry fee is just 2000 VND (6p).
The presidential palace is located right next to the gardens, which was completed in 1906 to house the Frend government-general of Indochina. You can do a tour here and see the palace for a 25k entrance fee but we chose not to, we was all info’d out for the day.
So that’s our first 2 days, keep an eye out for day 3 and a Hanoi nightlife post!