Romantic Hanoi

From Luang Prabang to Hanoi

When the tuk-tuk driver dropped me at the airport in Luang Prabang, Laos, for a flight to Hanoi, I thought he brought me somewhere else. I asked him “Where is the airport?”. “Here”, he said pointing to the small building we stopped in front of. And from here, a new adventure started in Vietnam!

Airplane propeller

From Luang Prabang to Hanoi

Hanoi (河內 – “inside the river”)

Hanoi is a fascinating city, with old architecture and a rich culture with Chinese and French influences.

Hanoi

Hanoi

The Old Quarter

First evening in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. I stay in the Old Quarter, Hanoi’s historic heart – a busy area with people cooking and enjoying dinner on the sidewalks, sitting on small chairs around a small table. Scooters are everywhere, honking and competing for the right of way.

Family riding a scooter, Vietnam

Family riding a scooter

Birds and food

Birds and food

And there are the vendors we all remember from movies: the women with conic hats carrying two bags or bins – hanged on a wooden beam, suspended on one of their shoulders. They sell fruits, vegetables, sweets and goods. The next thing I know is a scooter with a man and a woman stopping by. The man tried hard to “sell” the woman to me. At the same time a woman selling bananas passed me the carrying pole, shouting: “photo, photo”. And a man selling Vietnamese caps wanted me to try one. At the end I bought bananas.

Sellers with carrying poles

The Trades

The streets on the Old Quarter have the trades grouped together: one street for shoes, other for clothes, one for sweets and one sells funeral stones (mostly  in black with photo of the deceased).

The shoes street, Old Quarter

The shoes street, Old Quarter

Funeral stones

Funeral stones

Caps

Caps

Fruits and flowers shop

Fruits and flowers shop

Wigs for sale

Wigs for sale

Old Propaganda

Old Propaganda

The Arts

I am lucky to have a guide in Hanoi. Her name is Thao. She doesn’t speak too much English, she only smiles. Thao is a graphic designer, painter, photographer and Vespa aficionado.

Vietnamese smiles!

Vietnamese smiles!

Hanoi is a city of arts. Very impressive is the “silk painting” – it’s like an embroidery but much better. Art can be created from small pieces of egg shells or sea shells glued together on frames or vases.

Hanoi painting

Hanoi painting

Stamp maker

Stamp maker

Silk colors and patterns

Silk colors and patterns

Narrow passage and paintings

Narrow passage and paintings

The Vietnamese love photography, especially to take artistic and romantic photos of their girlfriends or wifes. The women wear nice traditional or modern clothes and the photo shoot takes place in parks or around the temples.

Bride and groom, Hanoi

Bride and groom, Hanoi

Vietnamese students

Vietnamese students

Beautiful Vietnamese couple

Beautiful Vietnamese couple

Hanoi Vodka

My mood is strange these days. I got a weird cold. Coughing and my head is like being inside a bag. I tried traditional medicine, a.k.a. ‘Hanoi’ vodka to no avail. Maybe I should try the snake wine! It is good for “body fortification”.

Snake wine

Vodka Hanoi and Snake Wine

Snake wine ingredients

Snake wine ingredients

“Hi, my first day here. How is Hanoi?” – I asked the Spanish tourist.

“I didn’t have time to look around. I got Yellow Fever…” – she answered, sipping from a bottle of medicinal drink.

My coughing worsened, so I went to the doctor. I was prescribed antibiotics. And here I am, in the country with the cheapest beer in the world drinking only water and tea…

Temple of Literature

The 1,000 years old Temple of Literature was dedicated to Confucius and later became a university for mandarins.

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Incense

Incense

Disciples of Confucius

Disciples of Confucius

Vietnamese woman in traditional costume

Vietnamese woman in traditional costume

Temple roof

Temple roof

Wedding at the temple

Wedding at the temple

Lake of the Returned Sword (Hoàn Kiếm)

Turtle Tower

Turtle Tower

The Huc Bridge

The Huc Bridge

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Min’s embalmed corpse is in holiday now in Russia, for three months “maintenance” (at the time of this post).

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Street Theater

Street theater

Street performance

Dancers

Dancers in the night

Street theater

Drama play

Little punk

Little punk in audience

Food

Street restaurant

Street restaurant

Bun Bo

Bun Bo

Dry food

Dry food

What I tried

  • Legs from something. In the menu was “Deep Fried Frog Legs”. But in my plate I found two giant legs with claws at the end. I think they were tortoise legs (too late now).
Frog legs

Frog legs

What I Didn’t Try

  • Spirit with horse penis extract
  • Riding a scooter on the busy  streets of Hanoi
  • Going to the Water Puppet Theatre
Snake whiskey

Spirit with horse penis extract (left) and cobra whiskey

Hanoi Map

Updated 2010 post

3 Comments on “Romantic Hanoi

  1. Water Puppet theatre sounds interesting! Thanks for the marvelous photos Ovi!

  2. Wow Ovidiu!
    Nice pictures
    Dar pana la urma ai incercat snake wine ?
    Interesanta idea cu o strazile, una pt pantofi, alta pt flori, etc.
    Sper ca esti ok si asteptam noi fotografii.

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