Hanoi – an uncut diamond

It was Tuesday early afternoon when I’ve met my parents in Hanoi, to enjoy a 7 day trip together, after they visited us in Singapore for several days. We started off visiting Hanoi’s sightseeing spots, like the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the Temple of Literature. On Thursday morning, we left in direction of Halong Bay where we joined a cruise for one night. Halong Bay is protected by UNESCO and therefore a very pretty, but also very touristy spot. After visiting the amazing cave, a short kayak tour in a small isolated lake and a sunset party on the deck of the boat, we were amazed with delicacies from the junk kitchen. The next morning started with a short hike and swim in the ocean. A cooking demonstration followed, where we were introduced into Vietnamese Kitchen secrets. And of course, we made some spring rolls. After lunch, we headed back to the terminal, where we decided to wait going back to Hanoi, but drove to Hai Phong instead. We found a city with a raw beauty, which was way less hectic and also more authentic than its neighboring big city. After some sightseeing, we enjoyed great food in a restaurant close to our hotel. After lunch the next day, a real journey awaited us. A train trip for 3 hours and 3 USD showed us how close you can build a house to train tracks and also, that traveling in Vietnam does not have to be stressful. Our arrival at the train station in Hanoi was clearly to early, as it seemed like it has not been finished half way. Our hotel awaited us with open arms and we even got the same room again. On our second last day in Hanoi, we visited the Ethnology Museum, where we learned more about the Vietnamese Culture. Later, we visited a small city outside of Hanoi, which is famous for silk production. As we arrived, we found a restaurant where we were amazed by what we were able to order without even speaking one word in the same language as our hosts. It was absolutely delicious. Silk was buyable in all types of size, colors and quality, which surely amazed my mother’s curiosity. 🙂 Later on, we went back to the city for a delicious supper. Our last day did not start as we imagined: We ordered a driver who spoke English for one day, but our driver could not speak, and more importantly, had no idea where our destinations were. But thanks to his uncountles turns, and wrong side streets he took, we saw a side of Vietnam which was hidden from us. People, so friendly they invite you into their homes, willing us to show us their business and just happy, with what they have. It deeply impressed us and gave us a sense of what the “real” Vietnam looks like.

Vietnam is still very simple in a lot of ways, but also very advanced in others. So many things seem to unrattle, getting ready to blossom and I am excited to see what will happen to this uncut diamond in the future.

The trip with my parents has been enriching. It was absolutely amazing being able to travel with them, seeing their energy and curiosity to discover the unknown. Thank you.

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