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In the north of Vietnam, Hanoi is the centre of government and capital city of the country, although not as large as Ho Chi Minh City a thousand miles to the south. It is more Vietnamese than the French styles of the Ho Chi Minh City, and it actually gets cold during the winter and has appreciable seasons.

We were in Hanoi just for a couple of nights, staying in the old quarter. Had we had more time we would definitely have headed out to Ha Long Bay, but that will just have to wait until next time!

Bridge over the Red River

The Chuong Duong bridge crosses the Red River, this picture was taken from a boat pub fairly late at night.

The old quarter of Hanoi is close and busy, but the city doesn't have the entirely frantic and overcrowded feel of Ho Chi Minh City.

Old quarter


At the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum area, a large mostly empty square which reminded me a bit of Tiananmen Square in China.

Most unfortunately Uncle Ho was out of town when we stopped by, he had been sent off to Russia for his annual treatment hence his mausoleum was closed. I've now missed seeing Lenin and Ho, but I did get to see Mao in 1989.

Ho Chi Minh

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda, a popular symbol of Hanoi and Vietnam. This is not the original, as that was destroyed by the French in a final act of spite when they were being kicked out of the country in the 1950s.

The Ho Chi Minh museum, which like his mausoleum was also closed. Don't come to Hanoi in October if you want to get in anywhere!

Ho Chi Minh Museum


A shot of typical Vietnamese housing and foliage opposite the Ho Chi Minh museum.

The Huc Bridge on Hoan Kiem lake reminded me of willow pattern plates.



The entrance to the Huc Bridge, heading over to Turtle Island.

A late night flower market in the old quarter of Hanoi.



We had some difficulty getting into Vietnam on this trip (a seven hour delay at the border) which was due to the Apec summit being held in the country at the time. George W and all his cronies were in town.

A long standing traditional part of Vietnamese culture is water puppetry, controlled by puppeteers behind the curtain, they perform to song and story. I had very little idea what was going on, but it was interesting to see and worth the 50 pence entrance fee.

Water puppets

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2006