Sometimes the best way to experience a city is to get lost.
I actually can’t believe I’m saying that because no one likes control and a plan more than me but there’s something about Hanoi’s Old Quarter that makes you believe the perfect shop, cafe, or even spa is just around the corner. I spent a lovely two days falling in love with Vietnam’s capital and indulging in the affordable luxuries of Southeast Asian fame. Spa pedicure for $12? Unbelievable back massage for under $15? Delicious meals for less than $5? YES PLEASE!
In addition to splurging (can you even say that when it’s that cheap?) on souvenirs and relaxation, I also enjoyed some famous sights. First up: Hoan Kiem Lake – A beautiful lake in the historic centre lined with trees and filled with picture perfect vistas.
I also made sure to check out the famous Water Puppet show. It was probably the most confusing but somehow entertaining show I’ve ever seen. The entire production was in Vietnamese and I never really figured out what was going on but it was definitely worth the $3 ticket price.
Now, I was too lazy (It was hot!) to walk to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum but I did manage to see his statue across from the lake.
And on my way to the Vietnamese Women’s Museum (yeah air conditioning!) I stumbled across St. Joseph’s Cathedral. You could definitely see the French colonial influence with this 19th century gothic church bearing a striking resemblance to Notre Dame in Paris.
After two days exploring Hanoi, and slowly re-introducing North American comforts, like the amazing treats at Joma Bakery Cafe, I was ready to head home. Vietnam definitely surpassed my expectations but I was ready for a break from the constant sweating… Summer in Southeast Asia is no joke! Hanoi was the perfect end to a perfect trip… until next time!
Nice pics. I found the Old Quarter to be the ugly side of Hanoi. http://backpackerlee.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/hanois-old-quarter-warts-and-all/