Day 29: Hanoi

Hanoi, despite being the capital of Vietnam, was only a transit stop in my journey, arriving in the morning and departing in the evening. After getting a cab from Gia Lam Railway Station to Hanoi Railway Station to leave my bag, I proceeded to take a walk around Hanoi.

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Walking north from the Hanoi Railway Station along Lê Duẩn, I passed by the popular railway crossing with houses close by.

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The traffic wasn’t relenting as well during the morning peak hours. I guess this is why I couldn’t get my ticket from Gia Lam to Hanoi since the railway may not want to run a train through this traffic during this time.

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Looking towards Long Bien and Gia Lam.

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Looking back at Hanoi Railway Station with the gates to the station locked when there are no trains running through.

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Passing by Thong Nhat Park or Lenin Park. It was originally called Thong Nhat Park and later changed to Lenin Park, and again reverted back to the original name, but now the names are used interchangeably.

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I was quite surprised to see Lenin’s influence still around in Vietnam. And since I didn’t get to visit Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow, this was a mini-throwback and a surprise alternative for me to complete my Russia visit.

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The sign at the park still says Lenin Park despite the reverted name.

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Nearby the Lenin Park is the Ba Đình Square and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

The Ba Đình Square was where then-president Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence of Vietnam in 1945.

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The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a memorial hall and resting place of Ho Chi Minh, although he was against the idea of it. It was, however, closed on the day that I was there. Just like the Lenin Mausoleum and the Mao Zedong Mausoleum during my visits. Oh well.

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The Presidential Palace of Vietnam, beside the Ba Đình Square and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It is a ticketed area to visit with limited operating hours, and I decided to give it a miss since I would have to wait till after lunchtime to enter the compound.

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One of the back entrances of the Đồng Xuân Market, the largest covered market in Hanoi.

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Traders were in full swing around noon time, despite signs saying everywhere that it is a “night market”.

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The touristy side of the Đồng Xuân Market.

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Walking south along Hàng Đường.

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A local selling vegetables of the day on her bike.

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A view of the Welcoming Morning Sunlight Bridge (Cầu Thê Húc) and the islet within Hoàn Kiếm Lake which the Temple of the Jade Mountain (Đền Ngọc Sơn) sits on.

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A drooping tree along the perimeter of Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

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The Turtle Tower (Tháp Rùa) on another islet in the middle of the lake.

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The St. Joseph’s Cathedral, west of Hoàn Kiếm Lake. It was completed in 1886 and the architecture resembles the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

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The interior of the St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

After walking the loop around Hanoi, I went back to the station vicinity to rest and prepare for the next leg of the journey to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is a pretty compact city and if you’re here just to see the key attractions and not focusing on huge modern shopping malls, one day might be enough to get a glimpse of the city. I took around 5 hours for a slow walk to see all these attractions, including a long lunch break. I got a shower in the station hotel and then bought some snacks from the convenience store inside the station for the 2-night journey to Ho Chi Minh City.

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