Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Hanoi in Vietnam has an estimated population of about 6.5 million and is the capital and second-largest city of Vietnam. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam. Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam.  The city is located on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is located at 1,760 km north of Ho Chi Minh City.  October 2010 officially marked 1000 years since the establishment of the city. On this occasion, Hanoi was named by Frommer’s travel guide as one of the world’s “Top Destinations 2010”, which coincided with our trip there.

This is the view out onto the lake and the City, from our Hotel, the Sofitel Plaza.
Looking towards the east, with the Red River in the background.
The presence of water in the form of rivers, lakes and canals is widespread in the City.
Many of the locals of Hanoi spend most of their work and leisure time right out there on the sidewalks and streets of their city. 
A typical street, seen while walking to the City centre.
A sidewalk butcher's shop. Small animals may be slaughtered right there in the street (as was the case with the chicken we saw being killed).
A game of Chinese chess always generates a lot of interest and many passers-by will stop, squat there and watch with great involvement.
One is frequently reminded that this is a Communist country.
A monument to the heroic fallen. Public gardens and parks are extremely well looked after, often by very elderly workers, as is seen here.
Bicycles have been largely replaced by scooters and motorbikes, while cars are still relatively few in number.
Dong Xuan Market, or "Cho Dong Xuan", is the oldest and largest market in Hanoi. It is located at Dong Xuan Street, at the end of Hang Dao Street.
Inside the Dong Xuan Market.
Getting closer to the City centre, there are more tourists, more traffic, more noise and commotion.
The Huc Bridge on Sword Lake ("Hồ Hoàn Kiếm"), one of the major scenic spots in the city, serving as a focal point for its public life.
The Huc Bridge (meaning Morning Sunlight Bridge) leads to Jade Island on which the Ngoc Son Temple (Jade Mountain Temple) stands. The temple was erected in the 18th century. It honours the 13-century military leader Tran Hung Dao who distinguished himself in the fight against the Yuan Dynasty, Van Xuong, a scholar, and Nguyen Van Sieu, a Confucian master and famous writer in charge of repairs made to the temple in 1864.
Outside the Jade Mountain Temple.
The altar inside the Jade Mountain Temple.
For westerners' eyes, this image is an iconic one, typifying the mysterious orient!
Numerous picturesque vistas along the shores of the lake allow good photo opportunities!
Turtle Tower (Tháp Rùa) in the middle of Sword Lake.
Văn Miếu (Temple of Literature) is a temple of Confucius. Although several Văn Miếu can be found throughout Vietnam, the most prominent and famous is that situated in the city of Hanoi, which temple also functioned as Vietnam's first university.
The inner courtyard of the Temple of Literature and buildings of the temple complex.
The Temple of Literature is popular with students at all levels of education. They devoutly pray for academic success and make offerings of food, flowers and incense. 
The image of Confucius on the main altar of the Temple of Literature.
The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, conveniently located across the road from the Temple of Literature.
"Spring" (1961), a beautiful coloured woodcut by Nguyen Thu in the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.
"Hamlet No 9" (1975), a gouache by Dang Chung in the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.
A bust of President Ho by Tran Van Lam in the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. Many "heroic", "nationalistic" and "chauvinistic" pieces of art are found in the museum, however, there is also a wealth of antique art, contemporary pieces and some examples of magnificent lacquerwork.
Although taxis are very cheap in Hanoi, walking is the best way to get to places and one sees some amazing things when on foot.
A good hotel is a must when staying in Hanoi and we were very pleased with the Sofitel, having a club room there. Although the hotel is not as central in the city as many others, it is quiet and has magnificent views over the large West lake.


  1. Beautiful photographs and informative captions!
    Makes me want to pack my bags and go there...

  2. More good stuff. Tks for posting.