Photos - Vietnam > Hanoi - Part 1 - Life in Old Quarter and Start of City Tour

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Thu 2 May 2013 02:14



We are staying in the Old Quarter of Hanoi; it feels very different from the other cities in Vietnam.  It is busy and the streets are very narrow and filled with bikes and cars and of course the sidewalks are taken up with parked bikes, so you can either navigate around the bikes if there is room or walk alongside the sidewalks on the street where the pedestrian does not have any right of way.  Here are some night scenes of a couple of streets near our hotel.  There are so many little shops that line the streets.  Land is worth so much that is why you see very narrow little shops that grow up to 3 to 4 stories but look like each floor is one room.  Hanoi many years ago had guilds, copper, tin, silk, as you get familiar with the map of the old quarter you see Hang ... meaning merchandise or store, so Hang Gai is silk street etc.etc.  I was reading information on our map and they mentioned if anyone was interested restaurants that served dog meat to go to Hang...I circled that street in red just to make sure we never went near the street.


There are hundreds of little shops that sell everything from soup to nuts.




As tourists we scurried across the streets, never pausing or slowing down; that way we wouldn’t get hit by one of the many bikes on the streets.

Hanoi is made up of the old quarter that is crammed with people, bikes and shops and then you go one street away by Hoan Kiem Lake and you feel like you are in a different city.  We decided to do the city tour… it made it very easy for us to see a lot of sights without working too hard.


The day was overcast so it leant moodiness to the Tran Quoc Pagoda.

The entrance, I forget when you can use the brown doors, I think it is for monks and special occasions, but don’t quote me.



The famous eleven story pagoda, the pagoda was moved from Gold Fish Islet whose walls were crumbling to its present home.


They have golden fish in the fountain just opposite the pagoda.



I believe these are used to hold ashes of monks.

I will say one thing about the Pagodas and Temples they are situated in some of the loveliest spots.




The whole time we were visiting the Pagoda this person, unsure if it was a man or woman, was bent over collecting something, I’m sure it was going to be on the table for lunch.













Oh Canada... our Canadian Embassy in Hanoi.







Our next stop was to a visitation with Uncle Ho at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.


They move the visitors with military precision, they have many rules, you can only line up on a certain side of the holding walkway, and you must not wear shorts, halters, etc.etc. they only let a few in at a time and move you around Uncle Ho’s bed or litter at a brisk pace; I supposed we should have read up about the mausoleum, we were not expecting to see Uncle Ho in person….but as the extremely honored/loved former head of Vietnam and credited for reunifying the north and the south….he was “looking great”. Not sure what treatment they used to “preserve”him ….but we understand that his remains have to be shipped back to China every few years for “retouching”.


John with his purple plaid umbrella.






Spidy’s House












We left the mausoleum and walked around the grounds of the Presidential Palace and where Uncle Ho spent fifteen years of his life working and living in his house on stilts.  He never married; he felt he needed to devote all of his time to his country and people.  You forget that he lived here from 1954 to 1969 a long time ago.


Presidential Palace

Uncle Ho was too humble a person to live in the Palace; he only used it to accept foreign heads of states and other worthy delegations.

He liked to walk around the grounds and think.

He really was a very simple man with simple tastes, this was his study.


The grounds were very serene, you could spend hours just meandering around, that would be nice of course without the hundreds of tourists of present day. And, with a very inconspicuous design, right in the middle of the serenity was a bomb shelter…an essential part of his ability to live …even with the USA and other enemies looking for him.