I arrived at Hanoi late afternoon that day, and the first hurdle I had was that the taxi brought me to the wrong "STAR" hotel.
I originally insisted to go back to the "STARS" hotel that I booked before. Realizing the time and the bad city traffic, and the fact that the host
from the wrong "STAR" hotel spoke perfect English, I decided to stay there after taking a good look of the rooms.
This STAR hotel was located in the Old Quarter, next to where the Tet night market was held. I walked through the night market for at least 3 times.
It was quite an excitement for me to go through crowded night market, practically squeezing through between 2000 people.
After 2 days in Halong Bay, I came back to Hanoi for another day. I visited the National Water Puppet Theatre. The show was awesome. I should say
"amazing" instead. Performers stood behind a screen in the water, where they held a long stick to put up the puppets, making them dance, jump and even
fight. At midnight, I ate at 3 different hawker stands, Pho noodle soup, BBQ sticks, fresh coconut juice and fresh pineapple.
I met my motorcycle driver the next morning, and toured Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and his past residence. We then visited different places like the flower market,
the farms along Red River (Song Hong), the train track in a middle of a city block. He even brought me to his home to see his 10-day old baby boy.
I found Hanoi, being the capital of Vietnam, that there were more culture, history and character in it. Though I felt the Old Quarter area sometimes was too dirty,
I loved the "old" atmosphere in the Old Quarter. Last thing, we weaved through the city to the airport enjoying the views transitioning from busy city streets to quiet
green farms. I still remembered the winds, the people, the food, and of course all the motorcycles.
Nightmarket along Hang Duong.
Communist Symbol besides a public market.
Small and narrow architecture in Old Quarter.
Ngoc Son Temple entrance on Hoan Kiem Lake
Another noticable piece chinese culture in Vietnam (Ngoc Son Temple).
Tet (New Year) Celebration Signs are put up by the Lake.
Emperor Ly Thai To, the 2nd Dynasty in Vietnam after overthrowing the Chinese Rule in 900s.
On the way to Halong Bay from Hanoi, a craftsman shop selling stuff made by amputees.
Holy Cow, a typical Buffalo dealer in Vietnam.
This gotta be over 200 lbs of household coal.
These are called cyclos (for tourists).
Fruits are so abundant here ....
Another example of Old Quarter Architecture in Hanoi, Small & narrow.
Ticket to Vietnamese Water Puppet Show. Deluxe seat costs 40,000 Dong ~ 3 USD
A few scenes on the Water Puppets Show (10 MB file).
Inside the Water Puppet Theatre.
They stand in the water behind those screens and control the puppets with a long stick.
At the nightmarket, pirated CD dealer stand, take you time, we provide stools here.
The restaurant my driver brought me to have Bun (another kind of Vietnam noodle soup).
The aqure in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (where his corpse is displayed).
Guard at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Lining up to get in .... to see Ho Chi Minh.
Presidential Palace, where it is used to the French Governor's House.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
This was where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked, small house beside the Presidential Palace.
A 1000-yr old school house, which houses generations of intellectuals.
Inside, there is a human-sized Chinese Chess "Board"
Delivering Propane Tanks by motorcycles.
My driver and his 10-day old baby boy.
Marketing in the back alley of Hanoi, "Need a plumber?"
Another restaurant by the Lake, where it serves only spring rolls & omelettes.
Field and fields of mandarin oranges trees along red river. Farmers grow them for Tet Celebration.
Trains do go through here. (right outside of the Hanoi Main Station).
Behind this gate is the Main Hanoi Train Station.
We're heading out to the highway.
Can't really imagine when a train is going through here !
This is as perfect as it can get to ride a motorcycle with a passenger on this surface (6.8 MB file).
Stop for another Vietnamese coffee in front of the north lake before going to the airport.
Road side BBQ is very common in Hanoi.
Can you see the iron rack mounted behind that scooter ? Don't hit it, it'll definitely hurt..
Younger generation ladies prefer Vespa, very expensive indeed. You wonder how they made their money !
Traffic is almost a complete stop at the flower market section of the road.
On the way to the airport, passing through the 2km long flower market.
We constantly weaved through traffic during that 2km section.
This was as close as I got while we're weaving through traffic.