Breakfast is cup noodles and coffee. I love their coffee, even though it’s just Nescafe instant 3-in-1. Iba lasa sa Pilipinas.
Our tour guide for the Hanoi City Tour – Dat – was already waiting for us in the lobby, 8 AM on the dot. On the Dat. Weh.
First stop was the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. No photos here. Make sure you’re wearing proper attire (no short skirts or shorts, no sleeveless tops); a friend of mine was wearing a short blouse and had to buy a scarf (4 USD) to cover her legs.
Ho Chi Minh was a revolutionary leader who dreamt of a united, communist Vietnam. The country came under one government in 1975, after Vietcong-led North Vietnam’s victory over Southern Vietnam (backed by the US and other countries) in the devastating Vietnam War.
The mausoleum reminds me so much of our own Marcos mausoleum.
We went around the complex and saw the very French-inspired Presidential Palace.
We also went to a museum, featuring the 50+ peoples of Vietnam, with the Viet as the largest group.
Some photos of the installations and displays:
These look like the bulul.
We were then dropped at a lacquer store. I enjoyed this tour, despite the fact that I didn’t have money to buy any of the items on sale.
Trivia! This girl knows Marimar, and seems to like Dingdong Dantes.
Look at the beautiful paintings on the wall. I personally would like to have the peach blossom paintings.
The creation of lacquer paintings and items is a painstaking process, involving washing and scrubbing the same item 15 times to achieve the smooth, level effect of the finished product.
Cutting shells for the paintings.
The Temple of Literature used to be the center of learning in Hanoi.
Journals of students engraved on stone; language is Mandarin.
Puppets used in the water puppet show.
Tour around the Old Quarter. We decided to take an electric car so we could all fit.
Coffee and the water puppet show.
Back to the hotel after the show. Shopping time.
I bought sweet and salty dried peach (highly recommended!), instant coffee (black and 3-in-1), bamboo placemats, and a little wallet for my sister.
The humidity was extraordinary! Wear shorts for the love of God.
|Hanoi City Tour||8:00 AM||2,060.00||50.00||50.00||All inclusive|
|Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum|
|Temple of Literature (magnet)||11:00 AM||4.50|
|Lunch (lemon drink)||2.00||Only meal was included in the tour package|
|Ethnology Museum||1:00 PM|
|Hoan Kiem Lake|
|Ngoc Son Temple|
|Old Quarter (tip-driver)||1.00||Tour around the Old Quarter|
|Water Puppet Show!||3:30 PM|
|Tour ends||5:00 PM|
|Freshen up||6:30 PM||7:30 PM||Hanoi Garnet Hotel|
We checked out early at the Garnet because we have an early flight. I think it’s clear by now that I don’t recommend this hotel. Go only if you really need a cheap place, though I’m sure there are other, better, friendlier cheap places. We hired Indochina as well to transfer us to the airport instead of relying on the unreliable Nancy. We wouldn’t want to end up missing our flight.
On the other hand, I highly recommend Indochina Legend tours – Bai Tu Long Junk cruise. Hospitable staff, good accommodation, good food, well-trained tour guides (who speak good English, a boon for non-Vietnamese speakers like myself), just really friendly people.
We had breakfast while waiting for the flight, and we’re off to Thailand.
Total expenses for Hanoi is USD 245 (including downpayment).