A trip to Hanoi and the North of Vietnam

This is a post about our package holidays to Vietnam.

According to our plan, we visited historical sites such as Cu Chi, Khe Sanh and Dien Bien Phu by road. However, due to storm and flood, we had to travel by air. We got on Pacific airplane whose pilot seemed to be a foreigner. And it flied quite smoothly

We followed the team to get around Hanoi. We visited Temple of Literature, Ngoc Son temple, Truc Bach lake and Hoan Kiem lake. On the following day, we went boating on Yen stream and visted Huong pagoda and some caves. We also made for Ninh Binh to visit Dinh temple. We had chance to visit Yen Tu mountain and Halong Bay, Tuan Chau island. As we did not have much time, we could not stay in each place for a long time. But at least such places had reminded us of Vietnam’s history.

Hanoi travel packages

Hanoi travel packages

In the evening, the tour guide informed that Hochiminh mausoleum had opened and advised us to dress formally the following morning. We reached there early however, the mausoleum had been very crowded. A lot of foreigners wearing suits were queuing in line, waiting for their turn. This was the first time that I had ever visited Hochiminh mausoleum. It was the place where beloved uncle Ho who led Vietnam to fight for its independence was lying

Hanoi still maintained its antiquity. Hoan Kiem district with Sword lake, Ngoc Son temple and 36 old quarters. All were simple and so beautiful, making local people love their home village more. Hoan Kiem was impressive with its tall, big trees which were supposed to be hundred years old. A lot of foreigners flocked to Ngoc Son temple. We came across many of them, some old foreigners were jogging. On Sunday, we saw several policemen. They were responsible for keeping the place in order. If they see anyone parking in the park, he will say “ Parking is forbidden here”. If they see street vendors, he will say “ Vendors are not allowed to enter here”

36 quarters area looks like a big market where each house is a shop. However, there is no place for pedestrians as sidewalks are illegally occupied. Some pavements are used to sell goods or  are made into parking place. Many motorbikes are exceeding the limit speed and red lights are not obeyed. It is hard to cross the street. Besides, the number ò vehicles is growing and they are emitting toxic emissions into the air causing air pollution and health problems for local people.

In early December, 2007, during my trip in Hanoi, I usually went to high floor of the hotel to get the view of the whole city. However, due to layer of dust of fog and vehicle emissions, the sun is only seen after 10 am and before 3 pm. When the sun rises, the area beneath is covered with a layer of dust and sunlights make them have red colour.

According to a Chinese story named Xuan-Thu that I have read, an advisor after seeing the red sun had advised the king to move capital to another region. Maybe he could foresee the harm of red layer of dust. Nowadays, it is supported by science that such emissions are harmful and there should be solutions to prevent them. Most of emissions come from motorbikes so such vehicles should be equipped with smoke purification equipment. Besides, people should be banned from driving motorbikes on old quarters’ streets. Electric bicycles and walking should be encouraged among people. But the most important thing is giving back pavements for pedestrians.

On Monday morning, I witnessed a great change of streets. There was not traffic jam. Vehicles were moving in their lane. It was the first time that we could walk on pavements. Especially, the number of motorbikes was reduced and all of them were paying attention to red lights. When I reached Hang Dao- Cau Go street, I saw 2 traffic policemen. It turned out that thanks to policemen standing here, everything was in order. If only they could stand on the street everyday.

2 weeks eventually went by and we had to go to Noi Bai airport. We got there very early but when we looked at flight schedule, we just found the information of 2 JAL flights of fixed time. There was nothing related to our flight. In the end, we were told that one of 2 flights was our flight. We were instructed by our airport staff.

Tariff procedure, ticket and luggage checking were quickly handled. I put a lacquer in my luggage instead of bringing it with me on the plane. The flight attendant placed it in a separated place and luckily, there was no damage at all.

Over the past 30 years, Vietnam people still preserve their good qualities. However, it seems to me that young generations nowadays are more energetic and active. There are more vehicles and tall buildings.

Vietnamese people under the domination of French had to lead struggling lives. I still remember pictures in Museum which show skinny Vietnamese men pulling horse carriage for French colonialist or images of many people dying of hunger. However, with admirable resilience, Vietnam is now on way of developing and globalization. Nowadays, it is a famous destination for tourists all over the world.

Next time, I will book Vietnam Cambodia Laos tour and Cambodia Vietnam Laos Myanmar tour to have comprehensive view of Asia.