Girl travels,

North Vietnam - Hanoi

4:22 AM UrbanModish 0 Comments


North Vietnam - I traveled to Hanoi, Halong bay and Ninh Binh


Hanoi
Hanoi was real quick, as soon as we reached our home stay, the first thing we did was to head out and look for jewelry store to exchange money. It was very difficult for me to find Vietnam dongs in UAE, and my mom didn’t have much luck either in India. So we both decided to come to Vietnam and exchange our currency. You get better rates at these stores than at the airport. We checked with quite a few before zeroing in on one store which gave us a good exchange rate, and the two of us walked out as millionaires.

We then headed out for lunch to try out the ‘Bun cha’ (pork with rice noodles) from this famous restaurant where Obama apparently ate at. The dish costed us 100,000 dongs and it was worth every spoonful. It was our first Vietnamese dish that we tried and my mom was already regretting her decision to travel with me (kidding).

Ngoc Son temple


Post a full and happy stomach we visited the old quarter. Hanoi as per my research and understanding is divided into the Old and French quarter.

The old quarter has the Hoan Kiem lake (very average), the Ngoc Son Temple (our very first pagoda) which was connected via a red bridge. Good photo op. The entrance fee was 40,000 dongs (if my memory serves me right).  And the Don Xuang market along with the famous Tran Phu aka railway track area with people living on either sides of the tracks.

This is Hanoi’s ‘train street’, located in the Old Quarter, just a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake. For the outsider like me, it seems like an extraordinary place to live, but for the few Hanoians that reside on this small stretch of track, it is their home. It’s where kids play, laundry hangs, men shout and moms gossip as they hover over pots of steaming broth. It’s a normal Vietnamese community—well, almost.

Hanoi Train street, as I like to call it, is located between Lê Duẩn and Khâm Thin street in Hanoi’s old quarter. It's very popular and you won't have any difficulty getting there.

Train street 

Train street

Ngoc Son means  'Temple of the Jade Mountain'. The island on which the temple is built is known as Jade Island and is accessible by the iconic Huc Bridge or Rising Sun Bridge which is a charming scarlet-painted wooden bridge of classical Vietnamese design.

The temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao (who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century), La To (patron saint of physicians) and the scholar Van Xuong.

The pagoda is also guarded by two towering posts decorated with Chinese writing. The lake and temple are probably the most famous places in Hanoi city in which to rest and enjoy the view and are a great place to sit back and watch the locals.


Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son temple 

Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son temple


We then headed to the French quarter to see the St. Joseph Cathedral. The cathedral has an architecture with domes and colorful window glasses following the Neo-Gothic style and design of Paris Cathedral.

Not only was this Cathedral gorgeous in every way, it also had some amazingly beautiful energy that makes you pour your heart out. We sat there for a good time and I cried my heart out and felt so much at ease. Every nook of the church made me ooh and aah. I love places with amazing energy and this one had so much to offer!

St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral

Hanoi has a lot of cycle rickshaws, and you can get a good bargain from them. Unfortunately we got one when we were done with the sights. You can get them for an hour or so at 200,000 dongs (bargain if you please – I did) and they would take you around all the ‘touristy spots’.

We got back and visited the local supermarket (my mom’s idea) to but some local produce and came back with chips and soda. I know. We couldn’t comprehend what some things were and were also too chicken to try.





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