I reached the hostel past lunch time, around 4PM if I’m not mistaken. I stayed in Vietnam Backpackers’ Hostel (The Original Hanoi at Ngo Huyen Lane). The mixed dormitory room is clean, as well as the toilet. The lockers are just under your bed and it’s big enough to fit an 85L hiking bag. There’s a wooden safebox beside your bed and a power plug to charge your phones and other electronic gadgets.
Right after fixing my bags in the dorm, I went out and wandered around the streets. It wasn’t my official “city tour” so I decided to just go around and check the places where my feet bring me to. My first unplanned stop was the St. Joseph’s Cathedral. From that instant, I knew that this trip is going to be fun.
Around the Cathedral are students playing some sports and games. The church was closed so I managed to only take a photo of the facade.
There’s one lady selling snacks who keeps on following me and asking me to buy. I was hungry at the moment so I decided to buy 3 pcs of donut. From her, I learned the aggressive art of selling. If a customer buys 3 pcs, you sell him 5 pcs at a seemingly “cheaper” price eventhough it probably isn’t. So she was insisting me to buy 5 pcs for only 20,000 VND. At one point I almost gave in, then I said, “I’ll just buy one instead of 3”. Luckily, I only bought 1 because the food isn’t as delighting as it looks.
After that, I walked to the Hoan Kiem Lake, aka “Lake of the Restored Sword”. I decided to go there because there are a few more tourist places around it such as the Tortoise tower (Tháp Rùa), the Lenin Statue, among others. The place was an irony of things. Around the lake are the bustling people doing all sorts of stuff and at the center is the lake that is so calm and serene.
The place was really an attraction. I can probably spend my entire day there observing and watching as the day dawns. I had a few shots of the lake and the tower but I got more interested in the activities happening around.
If you want to know how to travel from the Hanoi Airport to Old Quarter area, read my First Day in Hanoi.