Hanoi, Vietnam simply stole our hearts. This was the last destination on our Vietnam tour and we made the best of every second.
If you are looking to travel to the famous Halong Bay, you will do so from Hanoi. Don’t get side tracked by Halong Bay and miss out on experiencing Vietnam’s capital city and home to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
We did not dare to get on a bicycle in Hanoi for obvious reasons. Luckily the city is compact and it is easy to get around by foot or taxi.
We made the effort to go back to the Mausoleum a second time, before 11:00 in the morning, to get the opportunity to view Ho Chi Minh’s corpse in a glass box. You have to wear clothes that cover your knees, shoulders and are respectful. There is also no talking inside, which is something rather exceptional to experience in such a load city. This was a very special and pretty emotional moment. A true privilege that we got to experience this.
After this we made our way to the Vietnam Military History Museum. We found this very insightful and slightly better than the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh city (previously Saigon).
Next we went to another highlight of our trip, the Vietnam Women Museum. This museum highlights the important role that women have played in the history of Vietnam, especially during war times. It’s an incredible insight into the lives of women heros throughout the Vietnamese history. This is definitely a must see when in Hanoi.
The night market is rather touristy with people trying to lure you into buying a bargain left, right and center. Make the time to check it out, but don’t get too side tracked by the prices. Look for something unique and take in the rest of it as an experience.
Take a walk around the lake and find a picnic spot to sit down and just listen to all the sounds around you. You don’t have to pay an interest fee and won’t be rushed to go anywhere.
We discovered lovely shops, with genuine leather bags and the best linen just off the main market strip. Don’t be nervous to walk further than your told to…this is where the real magic happens and little gems lie like old temples and the most gorgeous French architecture.
We stayed at Hong Ngoc Dynastie Hotel. The location is great and the rooms really lovely, clean, big and updated.
Like we say…don’t just think of Hanoi as your stop before you go to Halong Bay. This city is so full of history and hidden alleys and it deserves your love.
So yes, get excited. Hanoi awaits.