Our second day started pretty similar to the day before; breakfast at the hotel, with one minor difference; there was no power! The entire block was without power as something somewhere was getting repaired.
Fear not, the hotel were fully prepared; they lit candles and placed them everywhere, any room that was vacant they opened up to let as much natural light into the hallways and somehow they still managed to serve up a decent breakfast.
Eden thought having a candle lit breakfast was pretty awesome, and to be honest it was!
We ordered a taxi (via our hotel) to take us to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long; the former residence of the Vietnamese monarchs, where upon exiting the taxi every banknote and card fell out of Matt’s wallet and into the drain!
He managed to rescue everything apart from one I.D. card but luckily it happened right in front of a group of guys and one of them fished it out for him!
The Citadel, while not quite as big as Hue’s (more on that another day) was beautiful and despite the heat we enjoyed walking around and we got some great views of the flag tower too!
I particularly loved the bright colors and rustic charm of the place.
Since we were in the area we decided to walk to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, of course we approached it from the wrong direction (the Presidential Palace side) and some guards nearly chased us down!
Thankfully some nice passerby quickly told us our mishap and we scurried away keeping the guards happy.
It was clear that the lines were super long, it was hot and we weren’t all that fussed about going into the Mausoleum anyway so we found a place to order some cold drinks and just watched from afar, it was good enough for us!
If we return to Hanoi, which I sure hope we do, we will probably brave the lines and head inside!
Once we were a tiny bit refreshed we walked some more to the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, where everyone who wasn’t at the Mausoleum happened to be! The temple, constructed of wood, sits on a single stone pillar and is designed to represent a lotus bloom.
We found a perch in front of the pagoda, people watched and had some more refreshments; we had a lot of refreshment breaks the entire trip!
You would think we would have had enough of walking but we are suckers for punishment so we hoofed it over to one last stop before nap time; the beautiful Temple of Literature.
Within the grounds are 5 courtyards, either the first or second contain animals cut out of shrubs which the girls loved to look at!
We were almost going to skip this temple but decided since we were already in the area we should go; Matt & I are both so pleased we did, it was definitely our favorite stop that day.
Then we decided it was time to head back to the hotel for naps! Knowing it was going to be about a half hour walk back to our hotel, probably longer because we were still newbies when it came to crossing roads, we opted to return the way we came, by taxi.
We were extremely apprehensive about doing this because we had heard the stories and read the guidebooks in that it is easy to get overcharged in taxis. So we thought it best to return using the same company that the hotel used. Unfortunately, there were none to be seen.
In the end we risked it and sadly our gut feelings were right! While the driver assured us his taxi was metered, and it was, his meter was completely rigged.
I was literally in the backseat watching the fare go from 20,000 VND to 200,000 VND and then when I loudly pointed it out to Matt, it would go back down to 100,000 VND.
As soon as we recognized where we were we asked to be let out. What did we end up paying…270,000 VND ($12) and what did we pay for our taxi ride earlier that day to the same general area; 65,000 ($2.90) and that included a tip! Lesson well and truly learnt.
From here on in we always asked our hotel to order us a cab and we would make sure to always return using that same company. Only once did we have to remind the driver to turn the meter on and it is probably no surprise but I would watch every meter like a hawk.
After naps we literally just did what we did the day before and walked around the Old Quarter, it truly is amazing to do.
Worth a mention is the beer and ice-cream stop we made at Ooh! LaLa on another one of those refreshment breaks we had! Perfect place for families with something for everyone!
That sums up our 48 hours in Hanoi, other than the food, which was amazing and delicious and has my mouth watering just thinking about it.
My food photography is terrible so no photos but we ate a lot of street food and particularly loved the DIY BBQ which had the most amazing dipping sauce.
Did we get to everything on our list? NO!
Was 2 days long enough? NO!
Were we excited to be leaving the busyness of the city, even if for only a day, YES! I can’t wait to share more details of that adventure next week!
48 hours in Hanoi – part 2
- Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (8.30am – 11.30am/2pm – 5pm, 30,000 VND adult ($1.30) children under 15 free)
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (8.00am – 11.am, closed M&F, free – check regulations before going)
- One Pillar Pagoda
- Temple of Literature (8.00am – 5.00pm, adult 30,000 VND ($1.30) children under 15 free)
Just in case you missed it you can find here is a link to PART ONE.
Linking up to Travel Tuesday