Hanoi Journals

Vietnam Part 5: Hanoi & Ha Long Bay

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An August 2010 trip to Hanoi by Essexgirl09

Ha Long Bay (Halong Bay) Photo, Halong Bay, Vietnam More Photos
Quote: Part five of my Vietnam holiday - Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.

Ha Long Bay (Halong Bay)

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Attraction | "Holiday Highlight"

Ha Long Bay (Halong Bay) Photo, Halong Bay, Vietnam
Quote:
One of the highlights to my recent trip to Vietnam was a junk cruise to Ha Long Bay. Junks are traditional style sailing ships, many are very modern now with en suite facilities and air conditioning in your private cabins, they are still styled in the traditional way. You will find hundreds of these junks offering tours out to the bay, the one we went on was Huong Hai Junks, and this review covers my experience. We only stayed for one night. GETTING TO HA LONG BAYHa Long bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Quang Ninh province on the North Vietnam coast and is approximately four hours drive from Hanoi. The bay is made up of up to 2000 small limestone islands; th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 2, 2010

Ha Long Bay (Halong Bay)
Gulf of Tonkin
Halong Bay, Northeastern Vietnam

Nhat Tien Hotel

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Hotel | "Disappointing"

Nhat Tien Hotel Photo, Hanoi, Vietnam
Quote:
Our hotel in Hanoi was the two star Nhat Tien Hotel at 44 Hang Bun in Central Hanoi. It was included in our tour price, and I have to say we were disappointed as it was not as good at the other hotels we stayed in during our trip. First impressions were adequate – the hotel reception area looked clean, and I always found the reception staff to be helpful. I was also pleased with our room when we first arrived – it was large, with a good air conditioner, a double and single bed, adequate space and furnishings. It was also decorated tastefully and recently so I was initially very pleased with it. The bathroom however was more disappointing and it was a shame after the effort that had been made in t...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 11, 2010

Nhat Tien Hotel
44 Hang Bun - Ba Dinh
Hanoi, Vietnam 44

Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre

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Attraction | "Punch & Judy on water?"

Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre Photo, Hanoi, Vietnam
Quote:
The Water Puppets, I had been told, were a must see in Hanoi. I had also been told that they were rubbish! When we got the opportunity to go for ourselves we thought we would form our own opinion. Apparently, according to our tour guide, the Thang Long theatre is the most famous one, which has been running years and considered the best in the country. You can see Water Puppets elsewhere in Vietnam, and it is a traditional art form that has been running for centuries. I believe we paid approx VND 100,000 (US$5 or £3.35) for a performance that lasts just under one hour. If you want to take photographs or video you must pay a small surcharge. They will ask you for this as you go in, but our guide ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 11, 2010

Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre
57b Dinh Tien Hoang St. Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi, Vietnam
(84-04) 8249494

Gecko Cafe

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Restaurant | "Gorgeous Grub at Gecko"

Quote:
Gecko Café and Restaurant is based in central Hanoi. According the card I picked up they are based at a number of locations. One night, after drinking nearby we popped in here for dinner. They were full but managed to squeeze us in. There were four of us seated at a table for four downstairs, there are only about six tables downstairs, but there is more space upstairs apparently. We never ate upstairs but friends told us it was also cooler upstairs, as it was quite stuffy on the ground floor. The Ground floor is done out in a modern yet informal style, reminiscent of a coffee shop. There was a pleasant, laid-back atmosphere, it was quiet but not like a library – they played mainstream Western m...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 19, 2010

Gecko Cafe
56 Hang Trong St
Hanoi, Vietnam 10000
+849455 82240

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

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Attraction | "Meeting Uncle Ho"

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Photo, Hanoi, Vietnam
Quote:
Ho Chi Minh is a key person in the recent history of Vietnam and for that reason we were keen to visit his mausoleum and house which is in Central Hanoi. Ho (sometimes referred to as Uncle Ho) was born in 1890 and was president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (aka North Vietnam) until his death in 1969. He was a key figure in the movement for independence and a unified Vietnam. It was his wish that, upon his death, he would be cremated and his ashed scattered across North, South and Central Vietnam. Instead he has been embalmed and lies is state for much of the year in Hanoi where the people can come to visit him. We got a taxi to the mausoleum – it is only a dollar or two from ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2010

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
5 Pho Ngoc Ha
Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 4 942 1061

Temple of Literature

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Attraction | "Temple of Tranquility"

Temple of Literature Photo, Hanoi, Vietnam
Quote:
The Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam is something the Vietnamese are very proud of. It was founded almost 1000 years ago as a Confucian temple, but in 1076 Vietnam's first university was founded here also. Obviously only the elite and privileged studied here. There has been much reconstruction and parts added on since then, and I did find it unclear as to which parts were original and how far back some parts were built. The Temple is located within a closed off green area, you enter on Quoc Tu Giam, so if you walk from Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum as we did, then you will find you are at the wrong end of the park and will then need to walk round it. It is actually a longer walk than ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 17, 2010

Temple of Literature
Pho Van Mieu
Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 4 942 1061 (VNAT

Fine Arts Museum

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Attraction | "Fine Art at the Fine Arts Museum"

Quote:
The Vietnam Fine Arts museum is just a few minutes walk from the Temple of Literature on Nguyen Thai Hoc is a large, well-laid out gallery in the heart of Hanoi. It is housed in an attractive colonial style building. Bags and cameras will have to be checked in before admission, it costs VND20,000 (£0.66 or US$1). In the basement was an exhibition of ceramics. I was quite keen to see this, as I am a fan of Asian ceramics so expected to see something similar. The building is air-conditioned to varying temperatures – cooler at the bottom, but not as effective on the upper floors. Thus the basement air-con was set at 'cryogenic', but it was pretty stuffy on the upper levels. I was disapp...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2010

Fine Arts Museum
66 Nguyen Thai Ho
Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 4 823 3084