Location: Hanoi, Vietnam.
Highlight: Vibrant street night life and Ho Hoan Kiem lake.
We flew into Hanoi from Chiang Mai via a lovely Thai Airways flight to Bangkok (which we just didn’t want to end, 1 hour of more legroom that we could ever need, games, food… the flying dream).
From the taxi ride to the hotel we realised straight away that this was another notch higher on the intensity scale. The pun in the title isn’t just there for comic value (come on, you’ve got to admit it’s good don’t you…?). It’s crazy. But great. But crazy.
Crossing the road is like you were taught when you were young but with some extra steps:
Step 1 – Look both ways for a break in the traffic.
Step 2 – Listen for any traffic you may not have seen.
Step 3 – Continue to look both ways while you start to make your crossing.
Step 4 – WATCH OUT FOR THE… oh good the moped just missed you this time, go back to the start and find a pelican crossing with a green man.
Step 5 – Do not pay attention to the green/red man. The traffic certainly won’t.
Step 6 – If you’re religious, take a moment to pray to your deity. If not, take a moment to pray to someone else’s deity.
Step 7 – Step out, hope for the best and make yourself as big as possible. Remember, they’re as scared as you as you are of them.
Step 8 – Open your eyes again (close your eyes wasn’t one of the previous steps, but you will definitely have closed your eyes and hoped for the best at step 7).
… and you made it. Oh no, this isn’t the way (the free maps they hand out are terrible). Damn it, back we go again.
Anyway, having made our way into Beer Street (I know right!) we met with our good buddy – Matt and his wonderful girlfriend Amy
We said our goodbyes before they headed off on a cruise around Halong Bay – which they said was excellent – so we set off on having a good old fashioned tourist time around Hanoi.
Things not to miss in Hanoi
- Water Puppets Show
Why? Because it’s hilarous (we’re not sure whether this was intentional or not). The music was good and nice to see the musicians do their thing, but the stars of the show were the puppets sloshing around in water trying to catch fish by face planting into them and other scenes made ridiculous because of the inherent limitations with puppets. 50 minutes of pure comedy gold…for us at least!
- Ho Hoan Kiem lake on a Friday or Saturday
The almost uncrossable road surrounding the lake is shut down to traffic from Friday to Sunday and it somehow becomes busier than before with pedestrians. The lake was nicely lit, and on the roads surrounding there was much to see and do such as tug of war, hover boarding, salsa dancing, halloween costumes, break dancing, rare dog breeds, live bands and a Vietnamese screechy one stringed instrument.
It was a great experience with so much happening – we even got a taste of Seoul as they were running a tourism marketing event which involved an orchestra with circus acts and more breakdancing.
- Beer Street
A Haiku about Beer Street:
We enjoyed Beer Street,
Probably the main reason:
Beers were 60p.
It was warm, there was music, great company, there were good vibes all the way down the street and we ate at a delicious BBQ-your-own-meat place… All in all a top night.
Next stop: Hue. See you next time!
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