We were up early. The Hanoi time zone is one hour behind Beijing, so Hanoi 6:00 am, is what our bodies thinks is 7:00 am. Breakfast is nice.
We meet our guide and driver at 9:00 and head for the Tomb of Ho Chi Min. The streets of Hanoi are so interesting with all the motorbikes. Our guide told us that the Hanoi population is close to 7 million, and there are more than 4 million motorbikes. I believe it! Many of the intersections (including large ones) don’t have traffic lights. I don’t know how so many vehicles get through with so few scratches.
The queue to go inside the tomb is LONG. We never planned on going inside. It’s an impressive area, with gardens and the home where Ho Chi Min lived from 1954 till his death in 1969.
After the tomb visit, we got back in the car and drove to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam. It’s an important site for students to visit, and we saw many school groups and individuals getting their pictures taken. There was also a temple honoring Confucius on the property.
We had a nice lunch with several Vietnamese dishes. One of the things we’ve enjoyed about this travel company (we used them in Malaysia and Bali), are the nice meals they arrange during the tours.
After lunch, we visited the Hanoi Hilton (nickname), the prison site where American pilots were held that were shot down over North Vietnam during the war. I didn’t realize the building had a long history as a prison, dating back to the 1800’s. It was a landmark building for 100 years during the colonial French times, with a brutal reputation.
After the Hanoi Hilton tour, we had a chance to walk through some of the Hanoi Old Quarter. We had coffee and tea in a well-known shop, hidden at the end of long and narrow alley. We were supposed to take a rickshaw ride around the Old Quarter, but decided to move the tour to our return to Hanoi on Tuesday. We were dropped off back at the hotel and enjoyed a chance to relax around the pool and the room.