We made it! After almost 24 hours of air travel, we landed in Hanoi. Our private guide and driver managed immigration for us quickly and after a refreshing shower, we hit the streets. Lunch consisted of our first street lunch – a tasty Pho with beef and all the fixings (above).
Our Hanoi discovery continued with a visit to the Confucian temple dedicated to higher education which dates back to 1086 BC. As we happened to have arrived in Vietnam on the last day of the Tet National holiday which coincides with the Lunar New Year, we were privy to a special ceremony at the inner most sanctuary of the temple (see video).
A rickshaw ride around the narrow streets of old Hanoi rounded out our afternoon. Above image series shows is on the rickshaw; a busy street with a maze of power lines; and the Opera building built by the French during their 100 year colonial period of occupation.
Then it was on to the mandatory Water Puppet Theatre show which was truly amazing – staying awake in a dark theatre after not really sleeping much aside. Enjoy the video which brings this centuries old art form to life the best.
A last stop on our tour was a fantastic dinner with BBQ pork and rice noodles as well as the best spring rolls we’ve ever eaten. Our guide Ton brought us closer to local culture which would have been hard for us to manage on our own in such short time.
Now it’s off to bed at our first hotel, the legendary Sofitel metropole Hanoi.
Stay tuned for a special report on the famed Hanoi Hilton tomorrow morning.