If I was in Bangkok and someone suggested to try TukTuk, I probably decline and say I’ll just walk or take taxi. So when I saw the same mode of transportation in Hanoi, I hesitated – at first.
Our hotel host hired 2 cyclos for us at $7/hour each.
Cyclo is what they call it in Vietnam. Actually, Cyclo is more similar with my country’s Pedicab than Thailand’s TukTuk. It is a bicycle with a double passenger seat in front. My feet was relaxed on the semi-circle platform and my head was protected by a red leather umbrella attached at the back of the seat. The driver was sitting on a higher level behind us and leant over inches from our heads every time he felt happily compelled to tell us a city landmark we were about to pass by.
One of the selling points of riding a cyclo in Hanoi is the thrills you’ll get when your driver start to battle your way against the cars, motorcycles & people on the street road. The way you’ll look in the cyclo is bare naked so if your driver is not changing lanes safely on the main road, you’ll get tumbled – 100% sure.
Then it was Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was a communist revolutionary leader during Vietnam War and a significant figure in the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He did a lot of movements against France & became an inspiration for most Vietnamese even after he went down for health problems. I’ve always been familiar with the musical theatre Miss Saigon but never knew that it was the capital city of Vietnam. So when I learned that Saigon was renamed as Ho Chi Minh City, I’ve concluded that he’s a very important figure in Vietnam.
I’ve said in my travel album that Hanoi is a mixed of modernity & calmness. This mix of contrast is what sold me out to put Hanoi as the most surprising city I have been. But between these two separate moods, I’ll take calmness over modernity. Hồ Tây & Trúc Bạch Lake made me chose calmness but Trấn Quốc Pagoda sealed the deal.
Temple of Literature is one of the temples devoted to Confucius & his teachings. The architecture of this temple can be seen on the back of 100,000 Vietnam dong. What I observed was there were several batches of students wearing graduation attires inside the temple. It must have been a special day for the students and the temple was a perfect place to celebrate the day.
Dong Xuan Market always popped out from my research as the cheapest place to buy goods in Hanoi. But for me, it wasn’t. Goods are really cheap but it seemed like they sell it in bulk orders or it was a place where suppliers load off their goods for retail deliveries. Although it was very much like the Divisoria, if you are buying goods as souvenirs or you’re looking for something other than basic clothes to wear, this would not be the best market to buy. Go out and roam around in Old Quarter. There are more stores to buy from in the streets, like North Face and Kipling then get totally healthy with their street meals.
There were other landmarks we visited but I can’t remember their names anymore. From the landmarks I’ve said, the only experience existed in those moments is the cyclo ride.
The driver kept asking us to look at this…. look at that…. hey…. yes yes… that’s the museum….that’s Ho Chi Minh… seeeee.
My sister & I were exclaiming wait…..uy! aaaaaahh… really?……what is that?…. ha ha ha… wow….. loook!
At the end of our cyclo day, paying a 3hrs and a half ride was relatively worth the money. I think, in most cases, the price is not the only deciding factor we won’t do a thing when we travel. Getting a valuable ride from an all-smile driver or from a giddy driver could make something very cheap.