Today we headed to the tiny Hue airport for our transfer to Ha Noi. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Nguyen he’d been lots of fun and his English was so good.
But then we met Trang and she was equally amazing. From Ha Noi airport and we transferred to our hotel to check in and drop off our bags. Before setting out for some sight seeing Tran took us to a local restaurant called Dai Hai which means big ocean. Here we had beef pho. In each area the pho is slightly different. In the north there is less in the pho. Just the broth, green onions and the beef and noodles and yet it was very tasty. The pho was served with fried bread which was a bit oily and too crispy for my taste.
First stop on the tourist trail was the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Thang Long Royal Citadel. This site holds much of the history of Vietnam, particularly North Vietnam. We were there on a weekend and there were students on school excursions completing assignments inside the musuem part of the building. Outside many students were having their final school photographs taken and celebrating their graduation.
Our walking tour then took us to Tran Quoc Pagoda the oldest pagoda in Ha Noi which was built in the 6th Century standing on the west shore of Hoan Kiem Lake. Outside there were turtles for sale for visitors to buy and release for good luck. We were warned that they were then recaught and resold so not to buy them there.
Our walking tour took us back to our hotel through the surrounding streets bordering the lake which are closed on the weekends for celebrations before the new year. The roads bing closed meant you could walk around without fearing for your life and it was so nice to have a break from the crazy traffic and be able to just look around.
After going back to our hotel for a rest we heading out again through the area near the lake to find somewhere nice for dinner. The streets were full of people, young and old all having fun and celebrating the coming lunar new year.