Touristy stuff in Hanoi (Old Quarter)

We headed out to Hoan Kiem lake early in the morning but got drenched by the rain! However, it was very cool to see the lunatic scooter riders in rain ponchos and women carrying baskets like this (see below) but with rain covers on!

We visited the Hoa Lo Prison museum for £1. The museum is all that remains of the former Hoa Lo Prison. The majority of the prison illustrates the poor conditions for the Vietnamese political prisoners kept there by French Colonists.

There are also displays focusing on the American pilots kept in the prison during the war in Vietnam which was ironically named the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by these U.S. Prisoners of War. These prisoners were returned to U.S. Government after the war.

After enjoying a 60p beer on the tourist stretch of Ma May (which is relatively expensive for a beer in Vietnam, the cheapest we have seen is for roughly 14p) we visited Bach Ma Temple. It is highly Chinese influenced and said to be the oldest temple in the city. It is dedicated to the white horse that guided the temples builder, Emperor Ly Thai To, to this site, in the 11th Century, where he constructed his city walls.

We found a slightly more upmarket street food vendor to eat dinner tonight, with our total bill (including drinks) still coming in at only £1.50 each. We had a bowl of noodle soup and garlic fried vegetables and 2 soft drink cans.

After eating, we returned to the lake that we tried to visit in the rain early this morning. We caught the sun set, and helped some Vietnamese students develop their English as well as learn a few Vietnamese words ourselves.

P.s here’s a picture to try to illustrate the sheer amount of bikes in this city


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