One word to describe Hanoi: Hectic (in the best way possible)!!
Hanoi is completely different from anywhere I have been so far. I was staying in the old part of town where the streets are narrow and packed with mopeds and street vendors.
If you visit Hanoi- stay here : Hanoi Backpackers Downtown
We arrived in our hostel early morning and I needed to go straight for a nap. When i woke up around noon, I met our three new dorm buddies, Bonnie, Cat and Harvey. Ben was studying, the lads hadn’t arrive yet and I was craving female company, so when Bonnie and Cat decided to go get their nails done, I jumped at the chance to join them.
After, Harvey joined us and we went for a stroll through town and down past the lake. Walked by St Josephs cathedral and decided that it was dinner time. We saw a menu outside a clothes shop and a waiter smiled at us and waved us over. We asked if there was a restaurant there and turns out there was a rooftop cafe. It was an amazing setting with fairy lights everywhere and over looking the cathedral. The sun was setting behind the cathedral and we could hear the hymns below. The food, company and setting were all amazing- it was the perfect way to spend my first night in Vietnam 🙂
The following day we went on a three day tour to Ha Long bay, and when we returned we were absolutely shattered! We had some food in the hostel and a few drinks with our Castaway tour but went to bed early.
The next day Ben went home. It was lashing rain, so a good opportunity to spend the day visiting museums. Myself, Jodie and Charlotte got a cab to the HCM museum. The museum is an impressive building and we strolled around for a bit- I must admit, I knew little about Vietnamese history before I came, so it was my mission today to get an overview! The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum holds the embalmed remains of Ho Chi Minh, but unfortunately, once a year he goes on his holidays to Russia to get re embalmed so he was out of town when we went to visit.
We stopped at a street for famous for street food and ordered Bahn Cuon (I got veggie). After we made our way to the prison museum. Hoa Lo Prison museum is worth the visit. It gives a good overview of Vietnamese history before the US war. As the museum is in the prison itself, the setting is quite eerie.
That night, I went on the pub crawl leaving from the hostel- and by crawl, I mean I made it to one pub 😉 I think it was Arthur Guinness day back home so happy that the one I did make make it to was an Irish bar- it even had a sign for Coppers up 🙂 I woke up the next day at 5 pm, just in time to greet the boys back from their castaways tour. We were all incredibly needy and spent a good 10 mins hugging each other. It was good to have them back- nothing beats a bitta Irish banter!
So, I had developed a little crush on the very cute castaway island guide, and I was kinda hoping he would show up at the hostel the few days after I arrived back from Ha Long bay- even though I knew we had left him there, and the boys told me he wasn’t on their tour back 😦 I went to bed early that night as I was wrecked from the night before.
I woke up to a lovely surprise the next day- guess who was back in Hanoi 🙂 I’m not sure if it was bad timing or perfect timing (or ‘just in time’ing), as it could have been better, but could have been alooooot worse- at least we got to see each other before my flight that afternoon rather than not at all 🙂
Since he was living in Hanoi for 4 months now, he knew exactly where to take me-go through a little souvenir shop
Down a hall, to be greeted by a biiiig fat ginger Tom…
Up some stairs…
…and some more stairs…
That’s nice, but there some more stairs to go…
….but I don’t have any more pics as I was trying to play it cool on my date 😉 The pics would not have done the view from the top justice anyway!
My date was also a Biomed-head, so we geeked it up for while chatting about science and other things 😉 !
Iced coffee and a hot kiwi are definitely the best breakie you can have in Hanoi… The perfect end to my time in Hanoi