Hanoi strikes me as the poorer elder sister of Saigon. Don’t ask me how I derived at this seemingly pessimistic perspective but somehow, this was my biased impression prior to setting foot in the capital of Vietnam.
There is a common misconception that Ho Chi Minh is the capital of Vietnam. This may be due to the fact that it is bigger, more sophisticated and in tune with current world trends. Truth to be said, it’s undeniable that Hanoi is more conservative and progressing at a slower pace. You’d see a difference in the people too, with those at the South being a tad savvier in various aspects. Yet, I am sure Hanoi has her merits (I havent really had the chance to know her better).
(Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, dated Feb 2012)
Blessed with a tropical climate, Hanoi’s weather tends to be hot and wet throughout the year. In addition, it can be quite chilly and foggy during wintertime (typically from November to February). I arrived at Hanoi on a dull February afternoon and was greeted by a landscape of grey. Our time in Hanoi was to be short but time (or rather the lack of it) did not stop us from enjoying this quaint city.
3pm+ in the afternoon, people are just strolling, doing exercises and sitting around (be it with friends or pondering by self) Such idyllic ways to spend an afternoon is very enviable.
Their beautiful smiles light up the grey city and I couldnt help but to smile along.
Located at Indira Gandi Park, near Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ly Thai To statue commemorates the founder and first emperor of Vietnam’s Ly Dynasty (1009 – 1225). He moved the capital to present-day Hanoi.
Tran Quoc Pagoda (Stabilising the Nation)
Old Quarter comprises nearly 40 streets packed with shops selling all kinds of goods, with each street being named for its primary goods or services.
Bun Cha comes in a bowl of fish sauce soup (sorta anyway) with grilled pork. Veg, noodles and other ingredients can be added according to one’s preferences. This is one of Hanoi’s famous local dishes.
Picture on the right shows the famous bun cha store that we went. Prices were pretty reasonable.
Brendan Francis Behan said, “No yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves to today”. Although our time in Hanoi is short, we made the most of it and had a memorable afternoon that will be recalled fondly in time to come. 🙂
The above information has been complied based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information on the destination, do check out http://www.vietnamtourism.com/
From Me to You:
A Simple Reference Guide For Your Travel In Vietnam
As you said, Hanoi is as not vibrant as Saigon but It owns the special characteristics and distinct impression.
Now i live in Hanoi but frankly to be told that I love Saigon much more:)
Thanks! We have the same sentiments, I do enjoy Saigon more though I think I should stay on longer at Hanoi the next time to be fair to the North:)