48 Hours in Hanoi [with kids] | Part One

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi 1 (2 of 19)

We arrived into the second largest city of Vietnam, Hanoi, late in the evening and in an effort to get off the plane and to the hotel as quick as possible, so that the girls could get some much needed sleep, we left an entire bag on the plane!

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (1 of 9)

Matt & I like to pack light, we have learnt that the less luggage you have the easier it is, especially traveling with kids as you never know when you are going to have carry a child, or even 2, as well as ALL the bags.

our hotel is just to the right of this photo, we wanted to go to the coffee shop but it just never happened

our hotel is just to the right of this photo, we wanted to go to the coffee shop but it just never happened

That being said we also decided that it was time for Eden to start carrying her own stuff (more on this later) so she rocked a brand new pack this holiday which she took as carry-on.

I took this photo because of the street art...but notice the tray of raw meat sitting out for sale, totally normal!

I took this photo because of the street art…but notice the tray of raw meat sitting out for sale, totally normal!

Thankfully this was NOT the bag that was left, nor was it our carry-on bag, but rather poor Clio’s.  When her sister got a new backpack for the flight, Clio insisted that she needed to bring a small purse filled with ALL her favorite ‘babies’ I seriously mean every single one of her very favorite toys.  Yes, this is the ‘bag’ we left on the plane.

E taking photos of the bridge to Ngoc Son Temple

E taking photos of the bridge to Ngoc Son Temple

It was Clio who realized right after we had walked through some security check-point, that we no longer had the bag; there were many tears and throughout the trip she repeatedly said ‘babies gone’.

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (3 of 19)

We contemplated trying to go back but we weren’t even sure what gate we arrived into. And this is why we don’t take toys on trips.

on the bridge looking over Hoan Kiem Lake

on the bridge looking over Hoan Kiem Lake

After deciding not to go back for the toys we lined up in the rather long passport control line and waited and waited and waited until finally it was our turn.  Only then we realized we skipped a crucial step…getting our Vietnam Visa’s.

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (5 of 19)

We quickly returned to the Visa counter and waited some more, by which time the passport control lines had emptied and of course got backed up again.

Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple

I am writing about this faux pas because probably half the people made the same mistake, so hopefully you won’t make the mistake too!  The Visa counter is opposite the passport control section, but coming off the plane it was passport control that we saw first.

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (7 of 19)

One lady even forgot to bring USD’s with her, another thing you MUST remember to do. We ended up giving her the money, it felt like the right thing to do and we both agreed that we would hope someone would help us out if we were in that position.

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (8 of 19)

Finally getting out of the airport we were greeted by our driver which we had arranged through our hotel.  This is the first time we have arranged private transfers when traveling and we continued to do so all throughout this adventure. I can not tell you how awesome it was, getting off a plane, bus, train etc to see your name among the many people competing for your business.

sights from walking around Hoan Kiem Lake

sights from walking around Hoan Kiem Lake

When we finally made it to our hotel it was getting close to midnight so naturally we all went straight to bed, excited for the next 48 hours in Hanoi.

pretty flowers!

pretty flowers!

After breakfast at our hotel, which was located in the historic heart of Hanoi; the Old Quarter, we dodged scooters, walked among street hawkers and navigated our way to Hoan Kiem Lake referred to as the liquid heart of the Old Quarter.

walking around Hoan Kiem Lake

walking around Hoan Kiem Lake

Situated on a tiny island on the Northern part of the lake is Ngoc Son Temple and this was our first stop of the day.

view of the bridge leading to the tiny island/Ngoc Son Temple

view of the bridge leading to the tiny island/Ngoc Son Temple

One great thing about this temple are the few spots of shade & even a few seats dotted around the place! Even coming from Okinawa we found Hanoi hot so stopping for breaks was essential!

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (3 of 9)

Inside the temple are the embalmed remains of a gigantic tortoise and apparently there is a 200kg turtle that still lives in the lake; sadly we didn’t see it.

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (12 of 19)

From Ngoc Son Temple we walked around the entire lake, simply soaking up all the sights; busy traffic, people sitting by the lake, people selling stuff, stopping so people can get their picture taken with Eden and of course the Turtle Pagoda situated within the lake.

more pretty flowers and turtle pagoda in the distance

more pretty flowers and turtle pagoda in the distance

I had read that it takes about 40 minutes to walk the lake, I didn’t actually time how long it took us but my guess is that it was close to that, if not a little longer; after all we have 2 little people with us!

we stopped for macarons on our way back from Hoan Kiem Lake and people watched

we stopped for macarons on our way back from Hoan Kiem Lake and people watched

After lunch and naps we headed in the opposite direction of the lake further into the Old Quarter in hunt of the Old City Gate and Bach Ma Temple. The Old Quarter, while made up of more than 36 streets, is often called ‘the 36 old streets’ due to the 13th century where Hanoi’s 36 guilds established themselves in the city.

side alley, Old Quarter

side alley, Old Quarter

Each of the 36 streets sell a different product and that street is named after that product; silk street, silver street, paper street etc.  It is completely fascinating walking around them if not a little scary.

check out all the power lines!

check out all the power lines!

If footpaths exist they are used as parking for scooters or street vendors.  With kids, this makes exploring the streets by foot terrifying; I have never held Eden’s hand so tight as we weaved in and out of traffic.

The Old City Gate, Hanoi Old Quarter

The Old City Gate, Hanoi Old Quarter

Oh the traffic!  I don’t think you can entirely grasp what crossing a road in Hanoi (or HCMC) is like until you do it yourself; there are just SO MANY bikes and they seem to do what they want.

walking one of the 36th streets

walking one of the 36th streets

We quickly learnt that no matter how long you wait to cross the road, the bikes just keep on coming, in the end we would all hold hands in a horizontal line and just walk out; the bikes will just go around.

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (8 of 9)

Our last stop for the day was a water puppet show at Municipal Water Puppet Theater, very close to Hoam Kiem Lake.  The show is great and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it, however, if you go I HIGHLY recommend paying a little extra to sit in the first 2 rows.

Bach Ma Temple

Bach Ma Temple

We were maybe 9 rows back and while our view was great (the theatre is small) literally every person in the audience, apart from us, decided to hold up either their camera’s or cellphones and take photos/video’s the entire show, thus making it hard to see and extremely frustrating.

Fun Flying Four 48 hours in hanoi (9 of 9)

I was hoping to fit our 48 hours in one blog post but since I have a tendency to ramble and this post is already long I will save the next 24 hours in Hanoi for part 2; stay tuned!

this happy face (p.s. Clio was with us, she just doesn't turn up in too many photos!)

this happy face (p.s. Clio was with us, she just doesn’t turn up in too many photos!) 

48 hours in Hanoi – part 1 

  • Ngoc Son Temple (8am – 5pm, 30,000 VND ($1.30) children under 15 free)
  • Hoan Kiem Lake & Turtle Pagoda
  • Walking the streets of the Old Quarter
  • The Old City Gate
  • Bach Ma Temple (8.30am – 11.30am / 2.30pm – 5.30pm)
  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre (multiple performances daily from 3.00pm – 8.00pm, admission 60,000 – 100,000 VND ($2.60 – $4.50))

Linking up to Weekend Wanderlust & Travel Tuesday

Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

Weekend-Wanderlust-Logo-V2

 

Advertisements

21 responses to “48 Hours in Hanoi [with kids] | Part One

    • yeah I feel bad for her too, we have a (general) rule that we don’t replace toys if they get lost or broken, but I do think we will replace a few of these

    • yeah Clio was a trooper! Yeah a lot of the city was in disrepair, sadly I think many people don’t have the funds to keep up with maintenance.

  1. Your pictures and stories bring back so many memories!! The Visa queue can be a killer for tired little people, we had only done half the process so still had to queue, though some very kind people lent us pens and glue to stick our photos on and let us skip in front when the howling started! Its still an amazing place to visit but keeping control of two little people in the busy streets is tough work – would do it again in a heart beat though! hopefully in March 2016…

    • The funny thing about our visa is we never actually signed the forms! I had filled it all out, had the pictures, the money etc, but we never signed the forms because I wasn’t sure we had to do it in front of them or not, and then I just forgot! They processed them though! I agree, despite the business, we would go back, we really loved Vietnam! I hope you get to go next year!

  2. Oh man, poor Clio! I too lost a favorite toy on a trip when I was young! Its funny but I feel losing the stuffed seal, appropriately named “sealy” was what made me remember that trip with my family so well.:)
    I can’t wait to read about the rest of this trip. Vietnam is on my list (along with everywhere else lol)

    • aww sorry you lost Sealy, love that you remember it though! Yeah everywhere is pretty much on my list too!

  3. Pingback: 48 Hours in Hanoi [with kids] | Part Two | FUN FLYING FOUR·

  4. I like how you mentioned how much easier it was your family travelling booking the transfer to your hotels for all travel days. I have discovered I really appreciate having someone waiting for us on arrival unless I know exactly what I should be doing. It is stressful enough travelling with kids without trying to determine how to get to your hotels when you have no clue where to start.

    • We usually just use public transport and find our way but had read so many things/heard stories about people bombarding you when you exit, and we were definitely pleased to see our names and know we were paying a fair price you know!

  5. poor Clio! How hard to lose all her babies. We allow ours to only carry one toy with them because then I can keep track of them; this ‘wise’ rule was made after my daughter lost her absolutely favourite sleep toy on a plane. I love the way 36 streets is so organised. you can go directly somewhere to buy something on that street and then also comparison shop between the different buyers for the same street. Definitely a consumer’s choice paradise.

    • It is so hard to describe the 36 streets but I love the way you write it “a consumers choice paradise” it really is so clever having the streets sorted by product! We tend not to let our kids bring stuff on trips, or if they choose to (more aimed at our oldest, 5) it is made very clear that if it gets lost then it won’t be getting replaced!

  6. Pingback: Photo Walk with Pieter | Hoi An, Vietnam | FUN FLYING FOUR·

  7. What a fun first day! Great sights, great adventures – despite the misadventures. (Poor Clio!) I’m with you on booking the transfers. That’s our little luxury on most trips anymore. One less thing to worry about when you’re trying to keep your wits and get to know a new country. Even better when you don’t know the language. Looking forward to Part 2! (Checking in from both #TravelTuesday and #WeekendWanderlust. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by! Yes the pre-booked transfers were amazing! It was the first time we have done this and I am so pleased we did!

  8. Haha.. I was wondering, hey, how come 48 hours so short? Did I miss something? Looking forward to the next Part!

    And oh my… I cannot imagine losing a whole bag of ‘babies’! I can just visualize the tears. I think I would be more traumatised than my kid if I ever lose all my kids’ favourite toys at one go. I mean.. How am I going to entertain them for the rest of the trip???

    • lol we very rarely let the kids take toys on trips for this very reason (losing them!) and even as Clio grabbed the bag I knew it wasn’t going to end pretty. thankfully she has since gotten over it, phew! (I’ll be linking up part 2 this week 🙂 )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s