Part 2: We arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam just after 12 noon on Friday, April 13th, after leaving New York at 8:30pm on Wednesday, April 11th. We spent that afternoon exploring the old quarter and french quarter on our own, ending with the famous water puppet show and an easy dinner near our hotel. The second day was a full day tour by HanoiKids, a great university-student-led free tour, of the Ho Chi Minh complex (Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Pagoda’s dedicated to the President), Temple of Literature, Sword lake area and Old Quarter. HanoiKids was such an excellent find as far as tours go, as our guide was friendly, spoke excellent English, and gave us a local’s view of the city. I highly recommend this option if you are headed that way.
- Type of Luxury in the Sky: Read all about our flight in, here
- Decibel Level: Busted eardrums
- Deliciousness on a Plate: This began the amazingness that is Vietnamese food. Everything was fresh, delicious, and filling. The Pho was AMAZING, along with all noodles and vegetable dishes alike. Not to mention the fruits and juices. We had Vietnamese pancakes, spring roles, fried noodles, etc. Actually, from just writing that sentence, I’m craving the food again. We even ate lunch at a great restaurant the second day and sat next to the ladies of Vietnam’s Next Top Model – pretty fancy, right?!
- Expanding our Horizons: Hanoi was loud, but authentic. And we live in NYC… so when I say loud, I mean LOUD. A million honking zooming motorbikes and marketplace negotiations happening all around you was a bit much after our relaxing plane ride, but as we got used to it, it only added to the culture. Vietnam is not made for the tourist, but rather we felt like we were swallowed (gladly) into their culture. There are so many places that we’ve traveled where everyone is just trying to be like the next western destination. Vietnam stayed true to their traditions and food and we loved it.
- Shut-Eye: Silk Path Hotel. Very quiet, clean, and had all the amenities we needed (like a shower and very very comfy bed). The included buffet breakfast was enormous – a trip trend – with everything from traditional Vietnamese breakfast Pho to croissants. Arion indulged in Vietnamese coffee(s), while I enjoyed tasting every kind of freshly made juice from dragon fruit to passion fruit. Delicious.
- Jealousy Inducers: