Hanoi-The good destination

The combination of an all night stint at KL airport and the number of warnings we heard about scams at Hanoi airport made us go for the easy option – an airport pick up from the Hanoi Guest House. As soon as we stepped off the plane you could feel we had landed somewhere very different from Malaysia. The ride into town was a great intro, the views were a mixture of paddy fields being worked by people wearing conical hats alongside a mass of people driving like lunatics on mopeds. We were grateful to receive a complimentary breakfast of baguette and laughing cow cheese which tasted amazing after the nasty sweetened bread Malaysia had to offer. The guest house had a room ready straight after our brekkie so we grabbed some much needed sleep before orientation.

Hanoi-The good destination

The old town where we were based is absolutely stunning. All the streets are narrow and winding yet still find space to have trees lining them
At the centre of these streets is Hoan Kiem lake where the locals like to gather and escape the madness of the city. Here you’ll find the Hanoians chilling out, romancing or trying to flog postcards, fake copies of the lonely planet and pretty much anything else they can find to the western tourists. The lake also has a Nessie style tale involving a giant turtle, a sword and some emperor chap named Le Loi. See google for more info…

Hanoi-The good destination

Nothing can prepare you for the experience of crossing the road here. It is absolutely nuts, Rome and Barcelona have a fair few scooters but never have I seen or heard anything like this. The green cross code clearly got burnt along with the fake large denomination dollar bills you see getting flogged for burning at Buddhist ceremonies. They do have traffic lights and green men but for some reason neither get observed. It actually becomes quite good fun just walking out and watching all the traffic pass around you, kind of like how water would pass around an object and then reform. The noise is intense too, they drive with their fingers on the horn and the hooting from the mopeds starts at 4 a.m. and is constant until about 1 a.m.

Hanoi-The good destination

Each of the streets here also seems to have its own traditional area of specialisation. If you want a new pair of shoes there is a street that sells nothing but shoes ranging from flip flops to relatively expensive, but high quality rip offs, of Italian designer shoes. The same goes for metal street, anything from industrial metal boxes to large wire shelving units, you need to watch out on this one for the sparks flying around as they’re putting the things together. Mirror street sells… I think you get the gist. One thing that has really struck me about this place is you don’t actually have to go out with a plan of what to do. You just wander the streets savouring the assault on your eyes and ears until you can take no more. Then cool off with a Bia Hoi!

Thebirds (From United Kingdom)

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