26th of July – Arriving to Vietnam
On 25th I checked out of the hostel in Seoul but my flight didn’t leave until 6am on 26th. On 25th I spent the whole day writing at the guesthouse then in the evening I met my friend to have dinner. When I went back there for my belongings I got to talk to the owner of the hostel. We talked until midnight so he had to take me to Seoul station to catch the N6001 bus to the airport as the bus at night runs differently.
I arrived to the airport at 2am and fortunately I only had to wait 1 hour to check in. After checking in I waited at the gate and I met the couple who stayed at the same hostel as me in Gyeongju. They are travelling for the whole year all around Southeast Asia. They also went to Vietnam with me. I amazed them so much as they had a whole year to travel around. I wish to do the same.
I was exhausted as I didn’t sleep at night only on the bus. Getting to my seat on the airplane I fell asleep right away. I didn’t even know when it took off. The flight was 4 hours 30 minutes long. I arrived to Noi Bai airport then took the bus to go to my aunt’s house. The bus fare is pretty cheap. Airport bus cost 9000 VND and the regular bus cost 7000 VND. Not even 1 USD.
I arrived to my aunt’s house and spent the whole day with sleeping and eating. I was extremely tired. 26th went on uneventfully like that.
27th of July – A shopping day
Today my cousin promised to take me around but he didn’t show up until 12pm. So I went out for a walk to see what was in the neighborhood. Traffic, motorbikes, food stall, clothes shop and smell. It wasn’t only hot but the air was full of smog. Moreover the streets were smelly. I went home fully covered in sweat and was annoyed. When my cousin arrived he took me to Vincom Mega Mall to shop. I had to buy a new shoes and check what else to buy for my upcoming travels. We spent a lot of time in Decathlon. There wasn’t anything interesting in the mall except the aquarium that had real fish in there. I think Japanese gold fish but not sure. We went home at around 7pm then I stayed at home doing nothing until the next day.
If you want to do shopping in the mall, there is Lotte mall (Korean brand) and Vincom which are popular. But even on the road you will find many clothes, shoe shop where you can do the same shopping. If you don’t mind walking on the street from one shop to another, it’s a good way to sightsee as well.
28th of July – A fast sightseeing day
Narrow train street
Today was much more interesting. My another aunt came early to pick me up. I got an idea of visiting the narrow train street in Hanoi by one of the commentator on my Facebook page so I wanted to go there. I couldn’t imagine something like this really exist. The street is already narrow but the train is still running. The peak is that people are living there. They live just by the railway. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could live in place like that. That shows how many people are in Vietnam but the territory is not enough for everybody.
Korean BBQ in Vietnam
Then we went to visit my another aunt before going to my cousin’s place. They already booked a table in a Korean BBQ restaurant. We ate grilled meat in Korean style. Well, my conclusion is that if you want to eat Korean food, go to Korea. In Vietnam you should eat only Vietnamese food. After all there is a reason why they belong to one country.
Hoan Kiem Lake shopping pedestrian street
I had a rest at my cousin’s house then at around 4pm we went to the area of Hoan Kiem Lake. The name means “returned sword”. You can read the story about it here and here. Near the lake there is a shopping pedestrian district where you can buy souvenirs, watch street dancing and buskings. I had to buy magnets and send it to my friend in Korea. However at the post office the cashier said they couldn’t send it as the magnet might interrupt the airplane’s radiation. I found it so stupid but whatever.
I also had to exchange money. My aunt took me to a place where you can buy / sell gold or something similar and I exchanged there. But around the pedestrian shopping district you can find money exchange place easily.
We got into a heavy rain. Since it’s a monsoon season it can rain really easily. On daytime it’s sunny and hot but in the afternoon it rains heavily. We had to wait until it got better. If you plan to travel to Asia in July or August, prepare a rain coat as it rains unexpectedly.
We later went to eat che. Che is a type of dessert which is a bit like “sweet soup”. There are beans, jelly in it with a juice. I love them. Vietnam is convenient for its food. Whenever you feel hungry you can just go out and eat any kind of authentic food, che, fruit, snacks (which is not chips or french fries) at a reasonable price. I love Vietnam for that reason.
My aunt took me back to my grandmother’s house. From there we went to eat again. This time in a Vietnamese small restaurant. Small means the table, the chair is all small and low. There was fried chicken, vegetables and glass noodles. I don’t like meat so except that I ate everything else. I got to spend time with my aunts, uncles and cousins. After that we went home and prepared for the next day travelling.
I’m not going to say my stay in Hanoi was so interesting but if you spend time to visit the museums such as Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, the Ethnical museum, stroll around the Hoan Kiem Lake you can find interesting places.
Fortunately the public transport system is improving so you can take the bus to go around. Or use apps like Grap, Goviet to call for Xe om (motorcycle taxi) or taxi. Usually xe om is not that expensive and is definitely faster than car as the street is full of motorcycle and car. The car is always slower.
I will go back to Hanoi later but before I’m travelling around the country. The next stop is Lang Co.