Hanoi: City nightlife & a day at the Lake

Exploring Day 3

On our last day in Hanoi we headed towards the area of Ho Hoan Liem as I’d seen lots of good reviews online.

Ho Hoan Liem

Meaning ‘lake of the returned sword.’ The centrepiece of the city. 

 Legend has it that Emporer Le Loi threw his sword into the lake at a turtle dwelling there; after conquering the Chinese army in the 15th century. 
The lake has two islands, one built in the middle in honour of the tortoise named ‘Turtle Tower’..

  
 ..and another on the Eastern side named Jade Island.  

  

  

  
 Surrounding the lake are many beautiful patches of garden and flowers, it’s very picturesque. 
   
   
 It’s also beautiful at night..  On one side of the lake (over the road) is a statue of Ly Thai To (founder of Hanoi). 

  
The other side; King Le Temple, built in 1896 in honour of King Le Loi, and is home to a crowned statue and a rock carved with a poem written by the King himself about his determination to defeat the Chinese. 

  
    
Later on we wandered for the last time around the old quarter. I got myself a nice pair of Fonverse too for only £11! (Fake converse). Then we headed for the sleeper bus. 

What we missed
A Water Puppet show: Unfortunately we missed this as we planned to go on our last day near Ho Hoan Liem, but the show didn’t start until 5pm that day and our bus was at 6. Its a shame as this is a big part of vietnamese culture and I would’ve liked to have seen a show.

Hanoi ceramic mosaic mural: This one was a bit far out and doesn’t look like it was surrounded by much so we didn’t bother going but may be of interest to you. 

   Ho Chi Minh Museum: we only walked passed but you can actually go into the Ho Chi Minh museum. We was a bit museum’d out after spending that morning at Hoa Lo. It depends how much information your brain can take in a day I guess! 

Hanoi Nightlife
There are lots of bars and restaurants around the old quarter.

Of a night there is also a big long street market down the main road; selling everything from fake Adidas to pop-up birthday cards.

  

   
My highlight: witnessing a baby  riding an electric car beside me ha  
   

  

 Here are two of my favourite bars we went to:

Prague Bar 

Super relaxed, very chilled vibe with artistic paintings, low coffee tables and sofas. It reminded me of being Back in Amsterdam, which I imagine Prague is quite similar to? 

  This serves food and drink and a lovely array of flavoured sodas 

Rock Store/stone Bar
Sorry I can’t remember the actual name.. Rock something ha. 

This place has great wallpaper; all the names and logos of familiar rock’n’roll legends. 

The bar plays sports and has a great live band there every night singing some classic anthems. 

   
 The licence to party closes at midnight in Hanoi, however there are a few bars around the area that continue the party with locks ins. Ask around to see where to go, we heard that Toms bar do late night secret parties but we never went there. 

Anywhere I’ve missed that you’d recommend? 

LwL X 

Hectic Hanoi: Exploring day 1 and 2

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. 

Day 1

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. 

   
 The area has a lovely garden, shrines and rock carvings of doctors and graduates and is only 30,000 VND to enter (just under £1).    

 Location:

  

Day 2

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.  

 There’s a horrifying array of instruments of torture and solitary confinement cells (of which you can enter) also on display is the sewage pipes in which  some prisoners escaped in August 1945. 

  Definitely worth a few hours of your time, and it’s only 30,000 VND to enjoy!  

Bach Thao Park/Hanoi Botanical gardens   This is a big beautiful park with a lake and home of many rare species of plant. It is one of the few green areas left in industrialised Hanoi. 

 
 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). 

  
There’s lots around the area of the garden, including the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and museum. All of which we passed for a photo op of course. 

   
One Pillar Pagoda

 
   

 

Ho Chi Minh Museum
  
Mausoleum  


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! 

LwL x 

5 things to do on a night in Bangkok

I spent my second time in this city for the past day and a half. Although its one of my least favourite places I’ve visited in Thailand, I admire it and I will never forget the first night i walked in to Ko San Road. Culture shock city.  

  
When travelling across Thailand it’s very likely that you’ll see Bangkok more than once, as it is a main hub to travel North to South (We’ve just arrived in Chiang Mai). 

After spending a total of four nights there between two trips, I have come up with 5 things that I would recommend to do on a night in Bangkok. 

  

1. Buy friendship bands

If you’re with a group this is a must, or if you want to take small presents home. Many stalls do 25 baht each or 5 for 100 on bracelets and different necklaces. I am yet to see anywhere cheaper than that. I grabbed 5 of these for my friends back home, they don’t take up hardly any space in my bag either. Winning. 

2. Get a Thai massage

I spent a whole month in the South of Thailand and no where is cheaper for a massage or for shopping than Bangkok. A 1/2 hour shoulder, back and neck massage is just 3 English pound. (I have a further post to come on my Thai massage experience)
  
3. Grab a bucket (or 2, or 3) on the street

Street vendors off of Koh San road are much cheaper, you can get a bucket of rum, Coke and red bull for just 150/200 baht. If you want to take a stroll with a drink down the strip, this is the way to do it. Bars can charge as much as 350 baht a bucket. 

   
 4. Eat the street food

40 baht for a chicken pad Thai made fresh in front of your eyes? Yes please. Not only are the vendors 3x cheaper than going in a restaurant, the food tastes twice as tasty! 

  5. Beetle on a stick? 

Bear Grylls eat your heart out. There are many a stalls that serve some lovely insect treats! With a varied range for you to choose from, including small maggots and scarily oversized cockroaches, I’m sure you’ll find something that ticked your fancy. 

I have to admit, I’m a scaredy cat and failed to have one of these but the boys did. Go for it if you’re brave enough. 

Any other recommendations for Bangkok? Feel free to share below!

LwL x