|26 Nov 2009 - Hanoi
Arrived just before 5pm . Guide was at the station waiting for us.
We reached Hanoi Boutique Hotel at 5.30am. Hang around till someone checkout at 6.30am and room was ready for us at about 7.30am.
Running out of local currency, so we took a walk to Hang Trung. This street has a row of gold smith shops which also did currency exchange with one of the better rates in town.
Along Hang Buom, we bought coffee beans. Was orginally intending to buy Trung Nyugen, but was told that it was not 100% coffee, so ended up buying the weasel brand which was from coffee farms in south vietnam.
Walking to Via Mien (Temple of Literature) was suppose to be a 15 mins affair but crossing vietnamese roads was an ultimate challenge and it took us almost 1 hour.
We were hungry by the time we reached there and decided to go to KOTO prior to visting the temple.
KOTO (Know One, Teach One) is a not-for-profit organization which runs this restaurant and provides vocational training for street kids in kitchen and cooking classes.
After a Banana Pancake, muffin and coffee ... we were ready to move on
Văn Miếu (文廟) Temple of Literature
Obviously a favourite venue of the locals for wedding photoshots, graduating students ...
Obviously tradition still runs strong in the place, students in their "Confucius styled" graduation dress.
Walking from Template of Literature to Ho Chin Minh Mausoleum, passing by numerous french houses which are now government houses or ambarssies.
Ho Chin Minh's Mausoleum
Don't cross the white lines else you will be greeted with a sharp blow of the whistle from the serious looking guards. Wandering around the area, you find the other attactions like Ba Ding Square, Presidential Palace and more french colonial houses ... etc
One pillar pagoda was under repair ... walked around the small lake. Decided to take a cab back to the old quarters to Cha Cha Va Long for lunch.
Cha Cha Va Long was a "one-dish" restaurant, fish in sizziling oil with lots of dill. Quite an unique taste but was relatively expensive at VND$100K per pax.
Next we visited 89 Ma May street, which was a preserved tube house.
Passing by Green Tangerine, a french restaurant in a old house. Unfortunately we did not have a chance to dine.
Ngoc Son Temple
Taking a break
The famous Hanoi "Bia Noi Corner", where USD$0.50 beer are served by the road. Think it is now invaded by more tourist than locals.
Last night in Hanoi, so last chance for us to try all the local specialities
Banh Cuon Gia TruyenFres
Freshly made Vietnamese "Cheong Fun", rice roll with pork and mushroom.
Nha Hang Phu My
Pho Xao (Fried Beef Noodles) ... this was so good that I just have to eat this dish one more time :>
South Pacific Travel was great, their customer service rep came to the hotel to get our feedback for the trip and also gave us a token of a silk tie and scarf.
|27 Nov 2009 - Hanoi - Singapore
Had a bit more time after breakfast before our airport pickup comes at 11.00am
The plan was to walked to the cathedral area and find another cafe for our caffeine shot.
Cafe Pho Co
One more coffee shot ... passing a curios shop, through a narrow, dark walkway
Coming to a little garden, a lady takes your order here, after which you can proceed upstairs to wait for your orders.
1030 driver was here early and time to say goodbye to vietnam
1330 Flight back to Singapore
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