Vietnam, Hanoi – A Tour in the City
Upon our arrival and first impressions of Vietnam, we take a tour of Hanoi. The guide first takes us to Ba Dinh Square, which is famous especially for Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
The building material was gray granite and the object is really easy to spot. You can see the balsamed body or Ho Chi Minh. Do not forget to wear proper clothing, no short skirts, exposed shoulders or shorts. Before entering the building, you must put everything in depository, even your camera. Taking photos or uploading videos is strictly prohibited.
A visit to the mausoleum should include other buildings and a garden where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. If you are interested in this topic, you can also visit the museum where objects, photographs and everything that has survived and the Ho Chi Minh work have been gathered.
The site was probably chosen because it was here that on the 2nd of September 1945 Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Independence was long not enjoyed by the people, long years of fighting have followed before the modern history of the country began to be written. Anyway, the square is decorated with 240 grass squares and there are many different plant species in the area that have been imported from all corners of the country.
Just a short walk away you will find one of Hanoi's most famous monuments - the pagoda of One Column. The wooden sanctuary is dedicated to Buddhist goddess Quan Am. It is very tiny and reminds of a lotus flower. It is set on a single column from which the name of the monument is also derived. It was founded in the eleventh century, but saw damages to it several times in the course of history. It was rebuilt so it is not the same as the original yet still it remains one of the most famous symbols of the city.
Nearby, there is the oldest pagoda in the city - Chua Tran Quoc, where we are going now. The road runs along the largest lake of the metropolis - Ho Tay. The walk is pleasant and wind blows slightly. We perceive the vast expanse of the lake. To get around it, 17 km is waiting for you. In the morning you will meet a lot of fishermen and older people at the lake. The lake is vast, there are plenty of hotels, restaurants and it is a popular place to make a walk to. There is one smaller but more popular one! Lake Hoan Kiem.
We've walked quite a lot, so we want to move there by taxi. In this regard my advice woudl be to use taxi Mai Linh (green cars) or Vinasun. At best, find out beforehand how much you have to pay. In the taxi, ask for the driver to turn on the taximeter. And yes, have small value bank notes..
We do not wait for a long time. We quickly get through the streets and eventually get out. First refill liquids and eat somoe small snack. The streets around the lake are great for this. The guild street system has been preserved here. Some have still their original names, but also their original dedication. Copper, Gold, Book, Lantern, and so on. Elsewhere the name of the street doesn't correspond commodities sold there. But what has remained same is store specialization for one product.
But what else can you see at Lake Hoan Kiem? We leave it for the next week.
GPS: 21°02'08.1"N 105°50'02.5"E
Text and photos: Magdaléna Radostová
The very first day in Asia went very quickly, and in the evening we moved to a cozy family hotel. The environment is friendly, staff gives advice with a smile, they recommend you meals, trips, help with transportation or you can buy the fruit you want. At least first, before you get by, you will certainly appreciate the help.
There are many places how to travel in the country. I have prepared for you a small summary with some recommendations.
Last year already, we brought you a video of the "wedding" town of Dat Lat, Vietnam. Our reporteur made a return there to ride down one of the best roads in Vietnam for a road trip on motorbike.
Omnipresent honking, grandmas pulling bikes with flowers, Vietnamese sitting on small chairs, food, bikes, wires, bikes, French cafes, bikes with food, bikes with chairs, bike transporting part of another bike… Welcome to Hanoi! It is a city crazy beyond believe. You either love it or you hate it eternally.
Da Nang (a city almost in the geographic center of Vietnam) is largely unknown. Which is unfortunate. An average tourist usually passes by there in a taxi on his way from the airport to his favorite Hoi An hotel…. I spent three weeks in Da Nang. And the city got on the list of my favorite places in Southeast Asia (right next to Chiang Mai). In Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson called the old road to Hue as the “abandoned fragment of perfection.” I absolutely agree.
Immediately after arriving at Sa Pa, stay and do not waste your time. With clear visibility, the best choice is to arrange a lift to Phan Xi Pang. It is the longest cableway in the world that uses a three-lane system. Its length is about 6 km and was opened in 2016. It is still being built here. True, for tourists who enjoy the virgin nature with a mountain cottage, it probably will not. Several pagodas, sanctuaries, even a train have been built on top, which will take you to the highest point. The prospects are really good, and the landscape here is on your palm.
Someone loves it. Someone swears to not to come again. There is nothing in between. I am with the first group. From the first day on in Saigon, a hectic city, and I turned into a side street. We are about to introduce you to a new series where we tell you about interesting places in the city and the country. First of all, let’s talk some important facts about the country.
Nha Trang is practically the most famous tourist resort in Vietnam, not so much for some landmarks, this coastal city of Khanh Hoa province is famous for its seven kilometers long sandy beach with adjacent islands. The city of approximately 392,000 inhabitants and this number is growing steadily.
In the evening we arrive at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). We are already busy only to lodge for a quick dinner in the busy streets of this largest Vietnamese city and sleep. The next day a very exciting war trip is waiting for us - we go to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam's most famous and popular tourist destinations. It is located in Tonkin Bay in the South China Sea in Quang Ninh Province. Since 1994 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ha Long means the place where the dragon descends into the sea. It is also said that thanks to the dragon there were created interesting limestone rocks from the sea, which attract many tourists every year.
We imagined the visit to the lake as relaxing time after quite a busy day. The reality was seriously different from our expectations. I have remembered the first impression until today. With my daughter and son, we dodged through the local traffic and it was not really easy. The flood of motorcycles was not to stop. We naively thought that someone might slow down or even stop. Don't expect that. Just walk to the other end of the road. And be brave.
Do you think which destination is the right one for you? Where is something interesting and unusual? Where you can find beautiful landscape, excellent cuisine, and pleasant locals? Well, I know where to go. My favorite place is... Vietnam and I will try to convince you in the next few articles that even for you this is the right choice.
When visiting south Vietnam, go to the Mekong river delta. The river originates in China and runs across five countries. It is however in Vietnam where it enters the sea. The area lures in tourists who may experience boat rides here, a floating market, or see interesting life of the locals on the riverbank. Its brown color is not appealing for locals use it to their everyday activities – washing, cleaning etc. There are no dangerous animals in the river so you can swim in it.
Vietnam is no destination where climbers would travel intentionally. Yet once you are there you should try its climbing areas. We travelled to Cat Ba island which I highly recommend to any climber.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is often regarded economic heart of Vietnam. It is not as hold as Hanoi (Hà Nội) but still it has some magic.
Every time I have the feeling I know something more about something I come to realization which tells me the opposite. I spent one year of studying and travelling in China. Bit arrogantly I had felt Asia couldn’t surprise me much more. Fortunately, I hadn’t boarded a plane to the Czech Republic, instead I boarded a plane to Vietnam.
Even though the title suggest some offensive connotations we were did not intend to disgrace royal tombs as if we were in an action movie. A rented bike, however, solved our problems. The tombs around Hue are scattered along vast area. Before relying on public transportation it is better to pay couple of crowns to rent a bike.
Our journey continued to Hue (Huế), the former capital of Vietnamese emperors situated in the central Vietnam.
I have always longed to see a large desert with sand dunes. However, neither in Europe nor in Southeast Asia (the places where I spend most of my time) is one. Once I first saw pictures of Mui Ne, Vietnam I knew for sure that I want to go there. Okay, it is not a desert per se but sand dunes there are huge.
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