Hanoi is the bustling, almost chaotic capital of Vietnam. The metropolis offers a whole range of sights and is one of our starting points for immersing yourself in the culture of the Southeast Asian country.
Entry Vietnam – Visa on Arrival
As soon as we arrived in Vietnam we had to get our visa. Since we had already given all the data in advance, everything could be processed quite quickly. For processing, five Vietnamese in military uniform sit next to each other and work in an assembly line process. The boss sits behind it at his real wood desk in a smart suit and doesn't lift a finger. So Visa on Arrival works very well, after 20 minutes we had paid the 25 USD and had the visa stuck in our passport. Anyone who has forgotten their passport photos can have their picture taken by a friendly border guard for USD 2 (tested by Chris).
At the immigration counter we met a Pole and a friend who wanted to share a taxi with us to the city center 35 km away. No sooner said than done and after a short negotiation we sat in the car for 400,000 Dong (approx. 13 €).
As soon as we leave the airport, the honking starts. Honking is actually used on all occasions - as an announcement to overtake, as a request to make room or simply as a preventive measure. So, of course, nobody reacts to the honking and just drives as they want. Incidentally, Mackek (the Pole) tried to explain to our driver where exactly we want to go. However, this only ensured that our driver only looked at the map and therefore a few risky evasive maneuvers were necessary. When we were then also told that he would never buckle up because it is safer then, our hope of arriving safely vanished completely. After about 30 minutes (a remarkable feat in this traffic) we reached the "Old Quarter" of Hanoi, contrary to expectations, completely unscathed and without any bumps and were therefore able to start looking for a hotel.
Hotelsuche in Hanoi Old Quarter
Here the next problem awaited us. We had received a name and a street from the hotel booking, but they didn't appear on our maps (Google Maps). So we made our way through the streets of Hanoi, always on the alert for approaching cars and mopeds - but without finding a single sign of our hotel or at least the street. After about 20 minutes of pointless running in circles, the motivation was on the ground. Just as we were about to reschedule, we made one last attempt in an unfamiliar alley and... we were lucky. Chris spotted the street sign and so the hotel was quickly found.
Hanoi Gecko Hotel
The Hanoi Gecko Hotel (the name under which our hotel “Sans Souci II” is run here) is a 7-storey building with approx. 20 rooms. The facility is functional but clean. The rooms have a minibar, a safe and a bathtub that can be used as a shower. However, the safe is no more than a metal-reinforced shoebox that you can easily take with you. That's why we decided to lock the safe with a hair dryer inside (to fool the burglars that something is inside) and to hide our valuables behind the fridge - hopefully it helps.
Are you still looking for a suitable hotel in Hanoi?
You can find a hotel that suits your budget through the various online travel agencies such as Agoda, Booking.com, ebookers.de, Expedia, Hotels.com, lastminute.de, opodo, otel.com or Venere.com.
Jadebergtempel am Hoan Kiem See
Nach einer entspannenden Dusche und ein paar Minuten Erholung vom Hupkonzert waren wir auch wieder so weit motiviert unsere Stadterkundung fortzusetzen. Als Erstes besuchten wir den Jadebergtempel am Hoan Kiem See.
Hier fallen, neben den vielen Räucherstäbchen, hauptsächlich die eigenwilligen Tempelgaben auf. So darf man nicht verwundert sein, wenn man neben alten Skulpturen und Texten auch Butterkekse, Wasserflaschen oder auch eine Flasche Wodka findet.
Hoan Kiem See
Then we continued around Hoan Kiem Lake. This is one of Hanoi's few quiet (that's relative - the honking is everywhere) and relaxing spots in downtown Hanoi. The place was therefore overrun by Vietnamese bridal couples. It was almost impossible for us to walk along the waterfront without ending up on a wedding photo.
St. Joseph Kathedrale
After a little refreshment at a Mexican (even if some local food stalls look quite tasty, we didn't dare to go today) we then plunged back into the traffic chaos.
The contrast between the hectic, sometimes dirty street shops and the quiet, very well-kept temple complexes always strikes you. One of the largest religious buildings is the Catholic St. Joseph Cathedral.
Since we were still very upset by the flight, we let the evening end with beers and chips from the 7-eleven shop around the corner and still deal with the pitfalls of blogging.