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- Hong Kong
Going to Vietnam?
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Step 5/60: Vietnam -
Price: 15 €
Traveling time: 8 hoursA nice simple Chinese meal is included in the price. The border crossing is well taken care off; a golf buggy type car brings you across.
Tips & Tricks
- Check cosmetics for 'whitening', since Asians like to become whiter... We don't.
- You can buy an 'open bus ticket' that will take you all the way to Ho Chi Minh.
Things to see
This was the countries first national university and dates from the 11th century. There are 5 courtyards, each with their own gate, pavilion, pool or temple. The 4th courtyard has statues of 82 turtles who carry stelea with names of people who were able to take their exams successfully. Nowadays the Vietnamese will let their kids pet the turtles hoping they'll become smart.
The heart of the Old Quarter. Supposedly really big turtles swim in this lake, but no one has seen one since 2006. In the south is an islet which houses Thap Rua (Tortoise Tower). This has become an emblem for Hanoi. Around the lake are walking paths and you'll see many people exercising. Just walk around to clear your head or sit down and overlook the water to relax.
This temple dates from the 18th century and is located on a small island in the northern part of Hoan Kiem Lake. It's a nice place and also houses the embalmed remaines of a giant tortoise they claim once swam in the lake. Good place to visit and to overlook the lake while sitting on the edge of the water.
Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum itself is free. You'll have to leave your bags and camera's (also free) and you'll have to wear decent clothing when visiting Ho Chi Minh's embalmed corpse. The lines are not too long. 3 Months a year he gets time off for maintenance in Russia and the Mausoleum will be closed. His residence, a museum (which I thought was very boring), and 2 pagodas are also within the complex.
Ha Long Bay is a must-see in Vietnam. Everywhere in Hanoi you can book various excursions/junkboat-trips to the islands. I took the one Hanoi Backpackers offered. It's more expensive for sure, but most likely you'll know everyone on board from the hostel. You'll be with all backpackers. Otherwise it might be cheaper, but you could be stuck with old people/couples or kids...which might not be as fun!
48 Ngo Huyen street, Hoan Kiem
A real backpackers Home! It's got all the ingredients: Big sturdy beds, big lockers, breakfast, books, movies, rooftop terras, tours and 2 very enthusiastic Ozzies who run the place.
Aks your hostel where you can find one.
There are more of these; street crossings where many nationalities come together to drink really cheap beer (€0,13). It's fun and a great way to meet fellow backpackers.