Good Morning Vietnam!
Sunday, 4 December – Hanoi
Day 2 – Hanoi, Vietnam
Time to rise and shine to our first beautiful day in Hanoi, Vietnam. Waking up around 6am to have enough time to shower, dress eat breakfast and pack a day bag for a City Tour I had organised the afternoon before that left at 8am. The Tour cost $30 each to visit 8 of Hanoi’s city’s highlights. We both appeared to be well rested for a big day head of us.
The hotel supplied a complimentary breakfast each day, which consisted of mainly fruit, bread, eggs and bacon. While waiting for the bus to arrive and collect us we worked out how to access the Hotels Wifi with the supplied password, a language barrier was obvious when I was trying to understand the front receptionist when asking for the password. The other staff members spoke english
Just past 8am the tour bus arrived and collected us. The first stop visited was the Tran Quac Pagoda (Large tower 2nd from Bottom), is a Buddhist temple located on West Lake islet, Tran Quoc means “Stabilizing the Nation” in Vietnamese. The tour guide spoke about the bodhi tree situated in the gardens of the Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi. It was taken from a cutting of the original tree, under which Buddha sat and achieved enlightenment.
Our next stop was the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which is a large memorial. Our tour guide asked us to give him our Camera’s before entering as they were not allowed in the Mausoleum. I was completely unprepared for what I was about to see.
The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh is preserved in the cooled, central hall of the mausoleum, which is protected by a military honour guard. The body lies in a glass case with dim lights. Our guide said that the mausoleum is closed occasionally while work is done to restore and preserve the body but is normally open daily from 9:00 am to noon to the public.
Rules regarding dress and behavior are strictly enforced by staff and guards. Legs must be covered (no shorts or miniskirts). Visitors must be silent, and walk in two lines. Hands must not be in pockets, nor arms crossed. Smoking, photography, and video taping are also not permitted anywhere inside the mausoleum.
Once out on the law I took a few photos of the outside guards, the Mausoleum Building (as pictured) and the Vietnam flag towering above us. I felt awkward about having just seen a Presidents dead body.
Around the corner from the Mausoleum were the Ho Chi Minh House Museum, which were 3 housed Ho Chi Minh lived in surrounding a lake, Palace, Standard house and a stilt house.
One Pillar Pagoda (Picture to left with myself in it) was our next stop which is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam’s two most iconic temples. The temple was built by Emperor Lý Thái Tông, who ruled from 1028 to 1054. According to the court records, Lý Thái Tông was childless and dreamt that he met the Bodhisttva Avalokiteshvara, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Lý Thái Tông then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son. The emperor constructed the temple in gratitude for this in 1049, having been told by a monk named Thiền Tuệ to build the temple, by erecting a pillar in the middle of a lotus pond, similar to the one he saw in the dream. Many Vietnamese women and couples come to One Pillar Pagoda to pray and offer gifts to help with fertility.
- Vietnam Bacon tastes funny.
- Bring your hotel toilet paper with you EVERYWHERE!
- The sites we visited were very clean and friendly.
- Crossing traffic was still a little scary, especially in peak hour.
- Toilets will always be a worrying experience.