If you’ve ever tried crossing the road
in Hanoi, you’ll probably say that the words ‘peace’ and ‘quiet’ don’t apply to the Vietnamese capital.
But Hanoi isn’t all that bad- the city has some lovely spots where you can take a breather and enjoy a quiet moment.
The Vietnamese are early risers- you’ll wake up to the sound of cars honking by 6am, maybe even earlier. Not a problem – get yourself out of bed, head for the nearest bakery and enjoy a nice warm baguette by Hoan Kiem Lake. It’s a great place to just sit and enjoy the scenery.
Hanoi has some lovely pagodas. This is the One Pillar Pagoda, so named because it stands on one pillar. The original was built in 1049 (what’s there now is a replica) under the orders of Emperor Ly Thai Tong after his wife gave birth to a son.
In May 1958, Ho Chi Minh, then President of North Vietnam, moved into this modest stilt house which he stayed in until his death in 1969. It’s a nice place to visit if you’re interested in seeing where Ho Chi Minh planned his strategies for the Vietnam War and how he apparently lived- his study and bedroom are both sparely furnished.
Attractive shopfronts in Hanoi
Finally, if you’re in need of of a break, do stop by Lam Cafe for some great Vietnamese coffee. Only after leaving it did I find out that it used to be the hangout for Hanoi’s painters and artists, which explains the collection of paintings on the walls. This cafe is located in the Old Quarter, on Nguyen Huu Huan near Hoan Kiem Lake.
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