Off topic: Visiting Vietnam(Hanoi) and seeking advice which places to visit
Thread poster: Evgeny Filimonov
Evgeny Filimonov  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 04:48
English to Russian
+ ...
Nov 17, 2006

GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!!!!!! I just watched this movie couple of days ago and what a coincidence, I’m going there next Tuesday. I have a layover for 18 hours in Hanoi on my way to the Mother Land Russia and I want to go and see the city instead of getting bored in the airport. I would love to hear some tips on where would you go in Hanoi if you had 18 hours? What’s the best places to go? Any pieces of advice are more than appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Eugene


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:48
French to English
+ ...
I would Nov 17, 2006

without a doubt zoom from Noi Bai (Airport - if zooming is possible!) straight to the old quarter around Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of the Restored Sword) and walk around the 36 streets historical district (each street is named after the trade that used to be practiced there), have a bite at a restaurant called Cha Ca ( a Hanoi fish specialty, on Cha Ca street).

Enjoy!

Patricia


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CathyFS  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:48
German to English
+ ...
Mausoleum, war museum, streets of the old quarter Nov 17, 2006

Yes, defnitely roam around the old quarter. There's a street where all the shops sell shoes, another where all the shops sell motorvehicle accessories ... and so on. Take your camera. We got a fab shot of a shop selling traditional lampshades! You can't walk on the road because traffic is pheonomenal, and a lot of shops extend their property to take up the entire path in front of their premises, so you'll find that Hanoi is an extremely busy city. By the way there's a lovely public park there too, every morning at around 5am it fills up with men going there for (tai chi? I really don't know...) before work.

Personally, I found the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum well worth a visit, but in my case I had travelled specifically to Vietnam and had paid so much for my flights, I wanted to see and do everything I could while there! Regardless of your views on ho CHi Minh himself, the visit is a fairly surreal experience. Admittedly, his body might not even be there at the moment, as he's flown to Russia for 2 months every autumn or thereabouts for embalming ...
See these links:
http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Asia/Vietnam/Thu_Do_Ha_Noi/Hanoi-1481679/Things_To_Do-Hanoi-Ho_Chi_Minh_Mausoleum-BR-1.html
and
http://www.marymount.k12.ny.us/marynet/StudentResources/art/southeastasia/vietnam/html/hochiminh.html

Taxis are incredibly cheap and you'll find that most of the drivers have a bit of English. Enjoy your stop-over, Hanoi's a great place to visit!!!

There are a load of tourist "cafes" around the old city, you can head in there and get info on what to see and do. Most of those serve food as well.

I also found the Hanoi war museum fascinating. Afraid I can't find a link to it, but again it's an easy taxi ride.


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danhila  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:48
Member (2008)
Vietnamese to French
+ ...
taxi/shuttle bus Nov 17, 2006

Patricia's advice is excellent ! The temple of Literature is also worth a visit.
Noi Bai airport is about 50km from Hanoi, taxi fare will be 250.000 dong. Shuttle bus only 20 or 25.000 dong. 1USD=16.000VND.
The temperature is very nice now, not too cool (15oC) last previous years. You can wear short leaves skirt.
Have a nice visit !


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 22:48
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
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Ha Long maybe? Nov 17, 2006

18 hours is not too much time, especially if the airport is so far away. (When I was there I travelled overland.)

As others mentioned before, try to discover the streets of the old town.

If your time allows, perhaps a quick day trip to the Ha Long bay could fit in your schedule. It's a beautiful phenomenon that you may have seen in a handful of movies. That said, no tour to the Ha Long bay is "quick", unless you can find a small group of people, as large groups tend to stop in charity centers and for lunch break on the way there.

Even better, if you can manage to extend your stopover with a few more days, you could make an excellent trip to Sapa, a small town on the Chinese (Yunnan) border, where an excellent market is held every Saturday. If you find this too touristy, head to Bac Ha, in the same region, where an authentic village market is held every Sunday morning. The market in Bac Ha was one of my favourite during a month of travel in Vietnam. Both Sapa and Bac Ha are about 5 hours by bus from Hanoi.

Csaba


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:48
French to English
+ ...
Vang! (in EN YES!) Nov 17, 2006

danhila wrote:

Patricia's advice is excellent ! The temple of Literature is also worth a visit.
Noi Bai airport is about 50km from Hanoi, taxi fare will be 250.000 dong. Shuttle bus only 20 or 25.000 dong. 1USD=16.000VND.
The temperature is very nice now, not too cool (15oC) last previous years. You can wear short leaves skirt.
Have a nice visit !


Yes, forgot that -- but in such a short time, can't do it all!

Qua lau roi, toi da lam viec o Nha Xuat Ban Ngoai Van.... va toi sinh o Sai Gon

Xin Chao/Cheers

Patricia

[Edited at 2006-11-17 15:41]


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CathyFS  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:48
German to English
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Would be great alright if u had more time... Nov 17, 2006

Like Csaba suggested, Sapa and Ha' Long Bay are fantastic. It took us 4 hours to get to Ha' Long Bay by bus, but it stopped off along the way so we could all be fed and watered. It really wouldn't suit you on a tight schedule. The best part of all was the boat journey out to one of the islands, I lost count of the number of times the boat stopped to let people jump off and swim in the deep waters way away of shore ... what a fabulous experience.

I loved the area up around Sapa by the Chinese border too (did a 3-night trek through the hills and rice paddies, staying with local Hmong people along the way), but the journey actually took us an awful lot longer than Casba's 5 hours (things must have changed a lot, I was there in 2001?!). The train up to Sapa took 11 hours overnight and it was the only choice we had, from what I remember. We were lucky enough to be able to get an airconditioned minibus back to Hanoi, but this took 8 hours and wasn't a whole lot more comfortable than the train - the main avantage was the aircon.

There's also a daytrip to a Buddhist temple that you can take from Hanoi, but it's around a 2-hour minibus ride then 1 hour by boat and another 1 to 2-hour uphill climb ... I'd say if you only have 18 hours, definitely stick to the city centre. You might like to try the water puppet theatre in Hanoi, they put on a cute show. If you go to the mausoleum, there's a small group of 3 or 4 musicians there who put on a really sweet musical recital lasting about 10 minutes in a room halfway down the stairs from HCM. Most people miss them because there's no sign up, but they welcome people in (they really just want to sell you traditional instruments, but their instruments are very different, lovely, and very reasonable). I found the recital to be a lovely cultural experience!


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danhila  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:48
Member (2008)
Vietnamese to French
+ ...
tra loi Patricia : vui qua!! Nov 18, 2006

Patricia Lane wrote:

Yes, forgot that -- but in such a short time, can't do it all!

Qua lau roi, toi da lam viec o Nha Xuat Ban Ngoai Van.... va toi sinh o Sai Gon

Xin Chao/Cheers

Patricia

[Edited at 2006-11-17 15:41]


Rat vui duoc gap mot nguoi dong huong ! Con toi thi lai sinh o Paris...

And also the Huong (perfume) pagoda, but Evgeny must have at least 10 hours. And the handicraft village tours...
But if Evgeny's first time in Hanoi. it's better to stay in the center, the old city and the lakes.


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:48
French to English
+ ...
just in case Nov 18, 2006

thanks all for not grumbling about a few words in Vietnamese (without tone marks or accents, sigh) -- I know it is not politically correct to err outside English on an English forum

Danhila, I'll email you, OK? In the mean time, since you translate literature and poetry, do you know which is THE best VN-FR translation of Kieu?? Too rusty to read it in the original, which is the only version I have - too many trips to the dictionnary for reading pleasure!

Cheers,

Patricia


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