We were pleased to arrive at the Maison D'Hanoi for a shower and freshen up after a 14 hour trip. The accommodation is very nice and while not the Sofitel (the best hotel in town) suits us very well - it has a shower and an internet connection so Mike had everything he needed!
After a couple of hours of catching up on emails we headed out to explore Hanoi
. The hotel is right in the middle of the Old Quarter so also in the middle of the action. Think of Fortitude Valley on mega steroids. We walked around the busy local streets which are lined with stalls and shops, selling a lot of cheap Chinese wares. The traffic is caotic and most people ride scooters and motorcycles. As there are no crossings or lights, navigating the streets is tricky....you need to start walking out into the traffic and hope the scooters go around you. We quickly became experts!
We had a lovely local meal and a couple of beers in a restaurant overlooking the busy streetscape and the Hoan Kiiem Lake. We have attached a couple of photos of the view.
The view from our first dinner
in Hanoi central overlooking the central lake.
Although we were pretty weary by the time we arrived in Hanoi, we successfully navigated the taxi cab husslers & paid our US$15 taxi fare to take us on a 30 min trip into Hanoi Central. The landscape on the way into town reminded us we are in a third world country; the houses are very tall and skinny, due to expensive land costs, and in varying degrees of disrepair! The 'highway' meandered through local streets where vendors sold everything from car tyres to cheap clothing to cans of coke. The traffic was crazy and following two lanes seems to be a suggestion rather than a rule, even for the motorcycle and scooter riders (who must have a death wish).