Good morning Vietnam! Hello from Hanoi! 🙂 I’ll tell you right now. As I’m typing this, we have only been here for a couple of hours and I have already fallen in love with this city.
Quick little 1.5 hour flight this morning in squishy seats and we entered Vietnam with our visas. No issues! Someone from our hotel was waiting for us with a sign. They brought us to the hotel. Interjection right here: THE TRAFFIC HERE IS CRAZY. THERE ARE NO STREET LIGHTS AND PEOPLE JUST DRIVE RIGHT THROUGH INTERSECTIONS WITH NO FUCKS GIVEN. It is the most insane thing and the whole 40 minute drive to our hotel we were gasping and laughing at people. I got some great go pro footage. There aren’t even street lights. At a 4 way intersection everyone just drives and goes around each other. Horns are blaring everywhere and people just act like it’s the most normal thing ever. Huge culture shock in that sense! OH. And it’s WAY cooler outside here. When we left the airport it felt like we were back home and it was not humid at all. Much more manageable 🙂
Anyways, we got to our hotel and they let us check in early. We had free welcome drinks and cold towels to wipe off. A lady sat down with me and started showing me all these things on a map and circled everything to visit. Basically every place I was planning on was there. So she helped me map out our plan for the day. While we were waiting for the room to be ready, we walked 5 minutes away and found a brewery. If you don’t know already, Dad is obsessed with going to breweries everywhere he goes and he collects growlers and glasses from each one. This was the cutest little place and we had a beer up on the terrace looking down at the busy street.
On the walk back to the hotel, we found a little North Face store. I got a hat for 5$ CAD and dad got a backpack for 10$. Insane.
We took an 83 cent Uber ride to the Temple of Literature. This place was the first university in Vietnam and it was built back in 1070. It survived the wars and is still standing. It’s absolutely gorgeous. We took a walk around and also stopped in a little gift shop.
We walked across the street and got our first Vietnamese meal! Now we’re talking.
Then we grabbed another 83 cent Uber ride over to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It honours the late president Ho Chi Minh and it is his final resting place. It was huge!!! We weren’t allowed inside or anything but just walking and seeing it from the road was neat. While we were walking we saw the Canadian Embassy!! We asked to go inside but they said no lol.
Next stop was the Tran Quoc Pagoda which is located right on the West Lake. Very beautiful views and the pagoda was really really tall. On the road, dad got a North Face hat even cheaper than mine if that was possible.
Our next stop was Hao Lo Prison, the American POW prison from back in the day. We got the uber at 3:30 as the prison closed at 5. The ride on Google maps said 13 minutes. We were still driving an hour later and ended up at the actual current Hanoi prison. I guess the wrong one came up on the uber app and the driver just assumed we wanted to go to the real prison in the sketchiest part of Hanoi!?!? He couldnt speak English and we were trying to use Google translate. I was so pissed off because this was a place dad really wanted to go see. The worst part was when we got back to the hotel we saw that it is literally two blocks away from our hotel. There’s no other time we can come back either while we are in Vietnam. So sad. We didn’t even get back to our hotel until 5:20. I mildly freaked out and almost had a panic attack, thank you anxiety, and the rush hour traffic that was insane did not help. I got over it though and we decided that if anything was going to go wrong that we are lucky it was something as little as this. Dad kept his cool thank God because I was ready to lose it. 😑
After that fiasco the driver took us by the actual place we wanted to go so we took a pic of the outside lol. Then he dropped us off at the hotel and he wouldn’t take any money from us!!!!! He drove us around for 2 hours to the wrong place which was technically our fault and it only cost us 8$. We felt terrible about it but he drove away. We went for a chilly swim on the rooftop of the hotel with a view overlooking the city which was nice. All you can hear is cars honking!!
We walked around the Old Quarter and the night market which was cool. A lot of North Face everywhere ! It was cool to see everything at night time- a completely different experience. Something exciting for me was that we searched for and found a store that was recommended in one of my favourite travel vloggers videos! And dad bought another hat there lol.
We had yummy Vietnamese food for dinner! I could eat this food forever. The only thing I’m missing from back home is Andrew and hockey. I would love to sit and watch a hockey game and I’m sure dad would too.
Our last stop of the day was the Huc Bridge right in the middle of the Old Quarter. I have been looking forward to this place for a very long time! It did not disappoint. The pictures just do not do it justice. The reflection in the water is perfect.
Biggest shock today was definitely the traffic. It is hard enough crossing the road here by walking, let alone driving through it. There were scooters everywhere and some had 4 people on them!
My favourite part of today was the Huc Bridge and the Tran Quoc Pagoda. I’m sure you can guess my least favourite part was missing out on the prison museum. I like Hanoi better than Bangkok and I was comfortable in the heat all day.
Dad was already asleep when I laid down in bed to finish this but I know he loved the craziness of the city and how friggin cheap everything is here.
We are going to sleep right now and will be going on our Halong Bay cruise tomorrow for 2 days. There most likely won’t be any service or Wi-Fi on the boat so next post will be when we come back to Hanoi Thursday night (or morning for you).
Thanks for reading and sharing this journey with us!!! I appreciate all the love and wonderful comments! 😍
Watch the video I made from Hanoi here!!