Today was my last day in Hanoi before taking a trip out to the famed Ha Long Bay so I thought I would attempt to see a mix of what was left to see with my tight schedule.
After breakfast I took a ‘cyclo’ (basically a bike with a one and a half person seat strapped on the front where the handle-bars should be) over to the “Embassy District”, as I like to call it. This was my first cyclo ride and was good fun because it is one of the few places in which you are not hassled by random dudes asking “where you going?” or “you want motorbike/lady/cyclo?”, giving you the opportunity to actually take in your surroundings. Aside from embassies, my cyclo destination also boasts Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (where he is embalmed and on show), Ho Chi Minh’s former Hanoi residence as well as the War Museum.
From here, things went a little wrong for me, although I wasn’t to find out why until later in the day. I wandered up the Ho Chi Minh Museum: closed for the whole day – great! Ah, that’s ok – I’ll go to the Mausoleum…also closed – DOH! All was not lost, however, as there was quite a lot to see from the outside of these places as well as in the surrounding area. After taking a stroll through the gardens of the Ho Chi Minh Museum and marvelling at the “One Pillar Pagoda” (a temple supported by only one pillar above a small pond with lotus flowers – very pretty), I paid my way into the grounds where Ho Chi Minh had built a very modest stilt house. This house lies within the grounds of the Presidential Palace which was built in 1901 for the governor general of Indochina. The main Palace and grounds are stunning and surely do emphasise just how modest HCM’s house was!
From here I went to a small cafe which was opposite a huge statues of Lenin and right beside the War Museum, my next port of call…or so I thought! At lunch in the cafe, I spoke to my parents which was cool and we talked about how I wasn’t all that sure if I had the right time on my phone. After my conversation, I found out that in fact I had been out an hour for the last few days – oops! That would explain why I missed on the War Museum after lunch!!! Ah well, I was still enjoying myself so it didn’t phase me!
In the evening I kept a low profile – just got a bite to eat then headed back to prepare for the next day’s trip to Ha Long Bay. Thank goodness I had the right time now – otherwise I would have missed the bus!!! I’m such an eejit! (I can tell most of my friends and family have their head in their hands by this stage!!)