Saturday, December 14, 2019

Hanoi - long weekend

We were lucky enough to be able to schedule a long weekend in Hanoi before year-end.  Looking back it had been 7 years since we were last in Hanoi.

At the airport we found the public bus and we got the last spare seats onboard for the 30 minute drive into the city.  Luckily the hotel (E-Central) was just around the corner from the bus-stop.  Having dropped our bags we headed to a nearby rooftop bar, Diamond Sky Bar,  for a couple of cocktails.

We followed those with an expensive by local standards (but excellent) meal in the fusion restaurant, The Gourmet Corner.

The meals for the rest of the trip all added together probably cost less than the price of that meal - but all food in Hanoi was great!  We had a number of Bun Cha meals - trying multiple variations of the classic pork and noodles dish with a few fried spring rolls on the side.


It was a case of less than optimal timing choice of destination: in that the air pollution was significantly worse in Hanoi than it was in Vientiane.  However we had packed our face masks and we carried on.

On the weekend the streets around the had been closed off to vehicles and there were plenty of people taking advantage of the walking streets.  It was funny to see numerous dogs out walking with little shoes on.  Kids and powered ride-on cars created a chaos area with noise and vehicles driving in all directions.

We had a local 'specialty' of egg coffee - but while it was pleasant, it isn't something you would want too often.  It is more like dessert in a cup. More delicious, was the visit to Maison Marou - consistently great chocolates and chocolate brownie

We visited three museums while in town.  The Vietnam National Museum of History was a bit uninspiring inside.  There was an interesting wooden buddha - havent seen one like that before.  And the exterior architectural style was probably more interesting than the other contents.

We visited the "Hanoi Hilton", Hoa Lo Prison but it was a bit soulless and the information not outstanding.  Having seen a lot of similar places throughout Asia, this really didn't rate.

The surprise highlight was the Vietnamese Women's Museum.  The displays and information shared were outstanding and it is highly recommended