Huế to Hà Nội

We took the train from Huế to Hà Nội
A very comfortable journey with super friendly train staff
(did I mention how easy it was to book the train tickets too?)

Upon reaching Hà Nội, we walked around the Hoàn Kiếm Lake
which is located in the key area of capital city.
It is another of these public spaces where people enjoy
and that makes Vietnam such a wonderful place.

However the lake. was undergoing some water draining
and did not look as clean and pristine as the last time around.hanoi1hanoi2

As we walked around, we could see that
Hà Nội was also in the mood for tết 2018.hanoi0hanoi4

For dinner, we got to try the famous Bun Cha of Hà Nội
which even Obama enjoyed with some bia (beer) in one of these joints.hanoi3

Streets of Huế

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Since, tết or the vietnamese new year
was round the corner
the stores of Huế were decorated
with artificial flowers that
that looked almost real,
but the real flowers
also found place in nearby corners
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walking around any new city gives us
a sense of understanding the place.
and while travellers could give a miss to Huế
I am glad we got to walk this historical city for all its worth.

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Inside the market was this joint
and we had all that rice and fish for just $1.75

We then walked to a nearby park
and appreciated the public spaces
that exist for children to play and enjoy
as this little one came and displayed
his roller-blading-cum-kung fu skills.
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cafés in vietnam…

serve green tea, coffee and beer
and these are the top three drinks in vietnam

but vietnamese coffee shops also have the cutest corners
with a lil bit of this and a lil bit of that.huecafe6
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this coffee shop was right outside the citadel
and mock me, but i ordered a pizza
(the first and the last time hopefully)
because i was soo hungry.

then we walked a few hundred yards
and there was this other café… 🙂
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My Son Ruins

My Son (pronounced mi-son) is probably
the most unheard temple ruins in Southeast Asia.
It is not Angkor Wat
but these are Hindu temple ruins
after the fall of Champa kingdom.

To make matters worse,
we have the Vietnam war bombing
that wrecked the place.mysonmyson2myson6myson5myson7myson3myson4Today, it stands as a popular destination
for offbeat travellers curious to explore
since it has joined the elite club of
UNESCO World Heritage site.

When Hội An lanterns light up your evening

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When you arrive in Hội An during day,
you see these ordinary lanterns hanging everywhere.
and you don’t really pay much attention
but you can’t ignore them when night falls…

and that was how i remember Hội An
from my last visit to this town
this time around was no different
as it lit up and glowed in the dark.hoianatnighthoianatnight3hoianatnight6interestingly, these lanterns are made of silk
and while I did not get any (should’ve perhaps)
i did get a silk suit made in Hội An
which is apparently another of the must-dos in this town.

đối sách/ 43 Phan Bội Châu

i keep running into interesting bookstores in Vietnam.
Last time around was Boa Bookstore in Saigon.
This time, it was đối sách in Hội An.bookshop0
This bookstore looked more like a private collection
that has been made open to the public.
Of course it’s a great place
where book lovers can read, relax, buy, exchange and sell books.
There are apparently 5000 books in this shop
and is run by a retired teacher who also looks out for poor students. bookshop5hoian18bookshop3bookshop4hoian19

Morning in Hội An

Hội An is a walking and cycling town. It is a very relaxed little town which has also made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The last trip to Hội An was only for a few hours as we stayed in Da Nang and took a taxi here only to enjoy the evening old town walk.

This trip, we arrived early morning in one of those swanky buses from Mui Ne.
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Thankfully, we had booked Harmony Homestay who allowed us to check in even at 6am and gave us the room with the balcony where we had our Pho’s for  breakfast.
(Although the pic below is from the second morning but I hope you get the drift)

We are not the resting type. So we walked around town and it felt like all the tourists in Vietnam had come to Hội An. It is definitely the most touristy area and they know how to maximise -as visitors pay 100,000 dong to roam the old town. Although there are various museums and interesting sites which require the entry tickets that is included in your ticket, we didn’t have time to use them all.

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For lunch, we went to the central market and ate some good Vietnamese food at a very reasonable price -and some Vietnamese coffee of course.

On our way back to the hotel, we browsed through this cozy second hand bookshop which I shall detail in the next post.