Monday, September 19, 2016



This was a short 4D/3N trip to Hanoi-Halong Bay.   It really changed my preception of Hanoi totally.   I find it modern yet retaining its old world charm; the people we met were friendly and helpful  even though there is the language barrier but of course, the horrendous traffic did not disappoint us.  

The Merdeka "baby" celebrating her birthday in the air...
It was a fun trip with my family, my collegues and 2 ex-staff as well.    
The very early flight took around 3 hours to reach Hanoi and of course, most of us tried to catch some sleep on board. 

Our guide, Son in Hanoi and there is wifi inside the car! 

Street view that we passed by ....

look at the "old" houses with balconies. Infact some of the houses are definitely very "french" designs reminded me of the houses in Paris.  

The first stop - The Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh at Ba Dinh Square.  We were rushed by the guide to view this historical building as it is only open to the public free of charge for 3 hours each day 9 am to 11 am. and we were indeed able to view the embalmed body of the President of Ho Chi Minh just before it closed for the day.    No talking and no photographing inside the chamber.

 Upon the death of President Ho Chi Minh, the man responsible for the independence and reunification of Vietnam, the people decided to built this mausoleum to honour him, even though he could have preferred a simple burial.  Ho Chi Minh (hereinafer referred to as "HCM") was a simple man from the poor family background.    

The Presidential Palace (1900 to 1906), a French Colonial Building for the French Governor-General of Indochina.  HCM did not take up residence here after he declared the Independence of Vietnam on 2/9/1945 from France and started the Communist Party rule.    

The mustard yellow building in Renaissance architectural style reminded me of the French buildings in Paris. 
It is closed to the public and only open for visiting foreign dignitaries. 

The Mango Alley leading to where HCM stayed.... 

Uncle's Ho Stilt house, built in 1958 the traditional design of Vietnamese house.  HCM stayed here from 1958 to 1969 and there are only 2 rooms in this house, so you can see what a modest man he was. 

HCM's official vintage cars, one of which was imported from Russia 

The statue of Ho Chi Minh  in his garden... 

the 3 sisters...

the carp pond in the garden

These are "Budhha's'' tree (cypress tree)  roots along the fishpond  

amazing, haven't seen anything like these...

Pomelos are in season.. we tasted one but it was rather sourish.. 

the "French" Opera House in Old Quarters of Vietnam.  Very classic french-style architect

you will know the main mode of transport for the Vietnamese by these scooters.

Look up and you can see an inheritance from the French, yes electric wires hang precariously everywhere...

Rattan-ware vendor...

Another "Notre-Dame" in Hanoi... the St. Joseph Catheral.
unfortunately it was closed and hence we were unable to enter and visit.

The Hanoi Club Hotel located along the West Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake). 

The Temple of Literature built in 1070 to honour Confucius. 

The Tran Quoc Pagoda temple. 
It was relocated to this present site in 1615 and is one of the oldest Buddhist Temple in hanoi. 

A wind chime up in the bodhi tree. 

This bodhi tree was a cutting of the original bodhi tree in Gaya, India where Buddha sat under and obtained enlightenment.  It was a gift from Indian president Rajendra Prasad visit in 1959.

Going round the tree for peace and health. 

The Pagoda has 11 floors with a height of 15m and each floor has a vaulted window holding a status of Amitabha and right on the top is a 9-storey lotus. Inside there are many priceless antiques and statues.

Its time for lunch.. everyone is hungry, hot and sweaty by now.   It is really humid and our clothings are sticking on our backs.   But unfortunately we were seated in the open terrace  rather the air-con inside.  

at last our pho... but they don't served it with beansprouts and fresh herbs.??

refreshing watermelon and guava served with chili flakes and salt

after finishing our pho, we looked over the terrace.....

and saw them enjoying themselves........

he told us, the best moments of the trip! LOL

Lacquer ware is a long laborious process but the finished product can last at least 40 years.  
Lacquer is a resin derived from the Lacquer tree and just like latex it is white in colour and gradually becoming black when dried.  The art of lacquerware is a family secret handed down from generation to generation.  It is an extremely time consuming and labor intensive work as it will take around 100 days to go 20 stages of the creating, polishing, washing it in water  etc to finish a piece of beautiful glossy lacquerware.  

Roadside vegetables vendor

you can never guess such a charming cafe hidden away....

stairs leading up to the rooftop.

coffee is being prepared here below and brought upstairs...

Egg coffee served in a bowl of hot water... which I think is to keep the foamy eggy meringue stable so that it wont deflate.....

enjoying my egg coffee shot of coffee with eggy meringue..

the rooftop verandah .... low chairs and table...

The inner spaces of the cafe... 
We wrapped up the day's sightseeing after our coffee rest and headed back to check in at the hotel.

Venue for our dinner... 

Interior of the restaurant... 

our set dinner. 

papaya salad

After dinner, we said goodnight to Son but the night is not over yet... our hotel is located near a night market... so time to see some night life...

the Vietnamese preparing for the Mid-Autumn Festival


  1. Thanks for posting many beautiful photos of HCM city. I've never visited here. The city is full of joy. You have had a good time.

    1. Good morning,
      Its Hanoi, not Ho Chi Minh city and its lovely trip.

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  2. I like visiting Hanoi too! Halong Bay is very nice.. and Ho Chi Min is also a wonderful place to go too..especially shopping!

  3. You always share exciting photos that really excite me like Melbourne! Now I am undecided between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh as I have not visited this country. Something has been holding me back. Somehow I was attracted by the French Quarters in HCM city too.

    I am amazed by the small humble house lived by the famous President. I am sure his wife never carried a Hermes Birkin handbag too! LOLOL

  4. Good morning TM,
    apparently the president was a bachelor... but from the stories the guide was telling us, he is much loved by the people..