Chero Chero!

Hanoi Trip (Day 1-2)

Long overdue I know, but I was collecting photos from Liyin hehe and trust me, I think I sorted through close to 2000 pictures >.<

I usually love reading other people’s posts about travelling so I’m going to put in more effort in writing this one =) Hopefully Image Shack won’t fail me again. Prepare for the onslaught of photos!!!

We took Air Asia there and the lack of more comfortable seats, free (but sneakily accounted for in your airfare anyway) food etc was more than compensated  by the price. Around RM500 per person for return ticket! And this included the flight from Penang to LCCT as well. Oh well, when you travel budget that’s just the way it is..hehe.

Kesian betul. We had to spend a few sleepless hours at LCCT while we waited for our 6 am flight to Hanoi.

We reached 3 hours later and the first thing that hit me coming out of the airport (I love the first view walking out of airports whenever I’m overseas) was how extremely polluted Hanoi was. The air pollution was really really bad that even when I’m tried to see the landscape from the plane it was all dusty. Also, after coming back from Hanoi many of us got sick =/

2 cars were sent to bring us to our hotel cos the hotel people were scared about scams operated by the Vietnamese Mafia, whereby they’d bring tourists to sub-standard hotels that would give these people commisions.You know what was scary…like 5 minutes after the drivers came to fetch us, the car me, Dad, 1st and 3rd aunt was in was stopped by the police. Wtf we were shocked =O Frankly though, the country is oh-so-corrupted. They driver and one of the policemen went to ‘settle’ it behind the police car =/ Bad first impression.

Our hotel was the Hanoi Queen 2 Plaza located at the Old Quarter.

Day 1

The first day was mostly spent exploring the Old Quarter cos everything was just within walking distance.

Random building at the Old Quarter, which is huggeee. Dad got lost the first few hours that we were at Hanoi and he wandered around for 2 hours =/ Also, he couldn’t call any of us. As everyone knows, roaming charges are evil and serve no purpose other than to make lives miserable.

Liyinism!!! My cousin hehe.

Vietnamese eating at the roadside. Methinks they are as food-conscious as we are cos outlets that sell food are opened until late at night (Ohhh I think I just have to cook for myself when I’m feeling peckish late at night in Aussie…no more late night char koay teow or roti =/)

With 3rd aunt hehe. The Old Quarter has shops selling everything from clothes to food stuff and crockery etc and it’s planned in a way that 1 street sells the same variety of products. For example, the one in the picture above had shops selling toys. Yup, ALL toys.

Ah Ma, 1st aunt and 6th aunt =) Ah Ma was very sporting through out the whole trip and she never complained about anything, which is really rare among the older generation, innit?

Hoan Kiem lake! My favourite spot in the whole city. Hoan Kiem lake to Hanoi is Central Park to New York City- an oasis of calm in a bustling, hectic city. ‘Hoan’ means ‘return’ and Kiem means ‘sword’, which actually sounds very Chinese-like. Legend has it that a fisherman was fishing when he found a sword in the lake. He then presented the sword to a general who fas fighting the Chinese army from the Ming Dynasty. The sword proved to be a good one and he used it for 10 years, before defeating the Chinese Army. After the war, the general went back to the lake. Suddenly, a tortoise emerged from the lake and took the sword away, returning it to where it belonged. Pheww…know how I remember the story in detail? I was the only one paying attention to the tour guide during the city tour on the 2nd day and everyone in the family kept asking me to repeat the story >.<

The lake in ginormous and it’s like a park. You can actually see loads of young people there, which is wayyy different in Malaysia. It’s like the ‘it-place’ to hang out or something…many couples actually date there (hehe very low cost…I won’t get broke if I pak thor there lol) and Vietnamese are surprisingly very PDA..kissing there and stuff (I swear, I wasn’t staring! *ahem*). Try kissing in Youth Park and see, sure kena tangkap or thrown dirty looks, at the very least lol.

The Vietnamese in the background were looking at some tortoises so we kaypo-ed too =D

I love this picture..the lake’s like a mirror =D

Say hi to the bridge beauty haha

Hanoi has Nine West! Do we have Nine West? Penang doesn’t lol…not that I can afford anyway.

The traffic in Hanoi is absurdly scary @.@ Seriously though, motorbikes zoom around everywhere and people drive as if they have their foot perpetually on the pedal and hand on the horn. The honking gets really annoying after a while. Forget about traffic lights- even when it’s green for pedestrians, cars, buses and motorbikes still cross. Bro got so irritated with me cos apparently I unconsciously say ‘It’s ok, just walk straight without stopping, the motorbikes will weave around you.’ everytime we walk across roads. Every. Single. Time.

Dinner was at Cat Ca (Sorry I don’t know how to make those hats on alphabets hehe), which has been around for over a century and is apparently highly recommended in many travel guides. They only serve one item- fish in grease. 90 000 dong (around Rm 22.5) per person. Not worth it, methinks but yea, we should always try new things what hehe.

It’s eaten with a Vietnamese bihun-like thingy and fish sauce. I supposed it’s a acquired taste, cos it’s really greasy, grease being the main component and all..hehe.

Wtf I’m very angry about this…I have to post about it. After dinner, we walked out of the restaurant and we were immediately accosted by this woman selling fruits. We politely declined and she quickly forced on her hat and the thingy they use to carry their wares on my brother. Bro tried to say no but she kept saying ‘Free! Free!’ so we just obliged and snapped a few pictures. After that we returned her her stuff and she stuffed a few bananas in a plastic bag and pushed it into my bro’s hands and demanded money. We said no but she got really angry at that point so Mum asked for the baby mandarin oranges and paid her half her offered valued…but it was still a total rip-off. Whatev…guess what, the following day, we were at another part of the Old Quarter (I forgot where, my sense of direction is atrociously awful) and the same lady approached me and tried to use the same tactic =/ Grrrr

Of course Mum and all the aunts HAVE to shop, it’s like a basic necessity or something XP. This shop sold really cool lacquer ware, silk etcetc but it did smell like my hamsters’ cage (rest in peace, Hammy, Kopi and Milo =))

Art Gallery. There are tons of shops selling imitated art pieces in Hanoi. Get you own Rembrant and Van Gogh here! Yes I sound like an ad haha.

Shopping tip: You absolutely, completely NEED to haggle, unless you are filthy rich and couldn’t care less whether you are being ripped-off or not. Sighh I miss Japan lol.

I love these dragonflies made from bamboo that can perch on any surface but this shop sold 1 for USD1 =(

It was a weekend so there was a night market.

This stall sold them for around RM1 each =DD

Mum and the aunts checking out chopsticks. That night, something terrible happened. The ladies were choosing rugs to buy when out of a sudden, many women started jostling about and acted as though they were choosing the rugs to buy too. Then when 6th aunt wanted to pay she could not find her wallet. It was when Mum noticed a huge, gaping slit on 6th aunt’s Guess handbag. Wtf so scary…she was actually afraid of snatch thefts, this being a pasar malam and all, so she held her bag tightly in front of her. Nobody expected bags to be slashed =( Good thing she didn’t carry all her money with her as most of it was with Ah Ma who was already resting in the hotel. We got really freaked-out after that and quickly rushed back to the hotel to call the banks to cancel all the credit cards.

Day 2

Breakfast at the hotel before we departed for the Hanoi City Tour. We went free-and-easy, but it’s even easier sometimes if you follow a tour right? Seeing as we don’t understand a word of Vietnamese. Haha I know we’re not that adventurous. That’s a baguette in the picture…With the French influence, many roadside stalls actually sell the baguette and they’re unlike the stale, dry ones you buy in Tesco or Carrefour, these ones are oh-so-fresh and crispy. Just add butter and cheese and it’s totally yummylicious. The roadside equivalents have toppings like chicken, egg and char siew..hehe. Another option for breakfast provided by the hotel is pho. OMG I miss it!!! The pho in Vietnam is so freaking awesomely delicious omg. Even though Vietnamese restaurants in Malaysia sell them, you can actually taste the difference. For example, the soup tastes more subtle than the one here. Ah Ma calls them koay teow th’ng lol. No pictures cos I always immediately devour them hehe

This is the van we were in. 2nd and 6th aunt opted out cos they went to *jeng jeng jeng* shop, of course!

The first place we went to was a temple built on another lake. Honestly, Hanoi has quite a few of these lakes huh. Apparently John McCain’s plane crashed somewhere around here during the Vietnam War and he was subsequently taken as a POW.

Vietnam is very much influenced by the Chinese up north too and it’s sometimes mind-boggling that they don’t speak a word of Chinese and yet all these temples look like they could have come from Kuan Yim Teng in Penang or something.

The tourguide then took us to this shop that sells art pieces created using thread. The people who do this are actually victims of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The US troops used this herbicide to clear the dense foliage in the jungles so that the Communists had no where to hide. As a results, other than deaths and disabilities, many children were born with birth defects. Sigh..the atrocities of war =/

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. We didn’t go in cos it is closed on Mondays. Also, Uncle Ho was in Russia =O. Apparently the body is moved to Russia for a few months every year..sorta like a visit…it’s pretty morbid when you think about it that way

The headquarters of the French Governer-General in charged of Indochina.

Uncle Ho’s summer home. It’s really surprising how a man responsible for the welfare of the whole nation lived such a simple, spartan life- wooden bed, desk and that’s all! Oh yeah, couldn’t find any toilet too =O lol

One pillar pagoda built to resemble a lotus. Buddhism is very prevalent in Vietnam and this is apparently a must-see if you go to Hanoi.

Ho Chi Minh museum in which we spent like 15 minutes wtf cos it was closing time lol

I actually didn’t undestand much of the exhibits cos everything was in Vietnamese and French. However, in my humble opinion, the exhibits seem a tad…confusing. I couldn’t see the significance in many of the things shown there…for example, modern pieces of art and blah…maybe I’m just not intellectually-stimulated enough to get it or something. Lol but I can tell you that the broken chain in the picture above represented the freedom of Hanoi from the French colonists and the Chinese.

Another temple haha…3 temples in one day. Temple overload, seriously. This here is the Temple of Literature, which is the first university in Vietnam and over a thousand years old. Scholars used to have exams like the ones you see in period Chinese dramas. You know…pass the exam and be a Mandarin and if you’re lucky you can marry a princess hehe.

Pretty lotus pond =D

Loads of gigantic stone tortioses in the temple grounds with the names of scholars carved on them. The tortoise is actually one of the 4 heavenly beings for the Vietnamese (Are you reading this, Piglet?? =P) It it said that if you pat the tortoises you’ll get smart so Liyin, Bro and I went to pat every single tortoise we could get our hands on hehe. My, we must be super smart by now XP

After lunch we took a 2-hour-ride to a pottery village and I’ve actually forgotten the name. We expected it to be some kind of cultural village or something..based on what the person in the tour company said…But it turned out to be a ‘something’ instead of a cultural village

Worker molding the clay. Blah nothing special lar…can find loads of these kinda shops in Malaysia anyway, no? Not worth the 2-hour-ride here…we were sorely disappointed =/ be fair the stuff sold there were actually quite nice, albeit sold at a very touristy price haha

*anxiously inching closer to the buffalo* “Mummy quickly take the picture lar!!!!” hehehe XP

Vietnamese countryside. Note all the tall, narrow buildings

That night before dinner, we went to check out a shopping mall. It was really surprising to find only a few young people there, as opposed to the number of people our age hanging out in malls in most other countries anyway. Like I said, the youngsters seem to enjoy parks more hehe.

Check out the perfume bottle! Teehee so unique…like a Vietnamese lady in traditional attire and the conical straw hat. But the price of 450000 dong (RM 112.50) seems kinda’s even more expensive than my Escada from Japan lol.

Opera House

This ice-cream joint is really cool cos it’s a ride-in. People on motorbikes just ride in and buy their ice-creams there. Since 1958 haha…it’s an institution. For 6000 dong (RM 1.50) you get ice-cream in a kuih kapit kinda cone. I enjoyed it even though according to the rest of us it was not really special.

Vietnamese Idol wtf!!! At the roadside?? Haha didn’t understand….but it probably was like a preliminary thingy for anybody to try their luck at. This mini stage was located outside a supermarkat whre the parents were busily searching for the elusive nangka chips (Ok not elusive actually, but they were comparing prices haha cos they bought loads of these back)

This proves Sharon’s theory of only 3rd world countries selling Oreos muahaha just kidding

Not many trishaws left in Penang huh..but still plenty in Hanoi. Ah Ma and 2nd aunt meeting us at the French restaurant.

Guess what’s for dinner? French food! Lol we had duck in orange sauce, salmon etcetc. Nothing to shout about actually, but a nice change of atmosphere

Water puppet show. I initially imagined it would be an open-aired kinda thing where people sat on benches but it turned to be an auditoriam with cinema-like seats hehe.

It was really intriguing how the puppeteers actually made the puppets move in the water. There were even explosions and stuff =D But yeah, everything was in Vietnamese lol so many of the ang mohs behind us were asleep at the end of the show haha

And this concludes the first 2 days we spent in Hanoi. Bone-tired at the end of the day phew. But the good thing is the time for example. if you have to wake up at 7am Vietnamese time just set your alarm for 8am Malaysian time and you trick yourself into thinking that you’re getting an extra hour’s worth of sleep =D Or maybe I’m the only one this lame =.=

Stay tuned for days 3,4 and 5! Omg I spent so much time on this lol.


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  1. * pinkypong says:

    whoa so many pics!! XD the cut opened Guess? bag incident is really scary… but thank god ur aunt didnt lose all her stuff..

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 5 months ago

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