After sailing in Ha Long and trekking in Sapa, I was ready for a return to the city life I had grown accustomed to the past two years. I arrived in Hanoi at 5 am off a night train. I caught a taxi to my hostel which was surprisingly closed. I thought oh well, I can’t do anything so I will just sit on the step until someone comes.
I emailed the hostel to let them know I had arrived early and I had a Vietnam SIM card so I could use my data to pass the time. Around 7am someone came to the door very surprised to see me sitting on the step. She brought me inside, said I could drop my bags off but to come back later to check in. No problem, I’ll just go for an early morning walk through the city, maybe find some tea. My anxiety of not knowing what to do was dormant and I had a ‘go with the flow’ attitude that I do not usually have but knew it was something I wanted to develop as I travelled Southeast Asia.
I made my way to Hoàn Kiếm Lake, only a 10 minute walk from my hostel. I was expecting a quiet calm park with maybe some people walking around or heading to work. I was met with loud speakers blaring aerobic music and large groups of Vietnamese women dancing along for their morning exercise. If it hadn’t felt like 100 degrees I would have joined in, but instead I continued to walk around the lake and then crossed the road to a cafe and ordered myself a peach iced tea.
The next few days in the city I saw the main tourist sights, wandered through Old City and met up with some friends for a nice catch up.
I visited the Temple of Literature, the oldest Confucius University in Vietnam. It is so beautiful and gave me my first glimpse at historic Vietnamese architecture which, to me, very much resembles the Chinese architecture I have seen in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
I also went to the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s House and Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was the President of united Vietnam after the American-Vietnam War. The Canadian Embassy was nearby so I posed for a picture in front of the sign.
It was a great couple of days to spend in the city, I got to see what daily life was like and it was nice to catch up with friends. After this I hopped on a plane to a very touristy city a little further south.