A photographic account of Vietnam: Hanoi

This is only the beginning of my account on my experience in Vietnam. It begins with Hanoi.

Flashbacks that run through my head when I think of this old northern capital city:

  • Looking out of the taxi window, groggy after the longest flight of my life, and feeling overwhelmed by the chaotic streets with motorcyclists hooting continuously.
  • Sitting on a child-sized plastic stool on the sidewalk of a busy street and tasting the best bowl of pho ga (a divine chicken noodle soup), made by an old Vietnamese woman who only charged us about a Euro for it. This was to become one of my favourite daily dishes throughout the trip.
  • The strong scent of incense at the Temple of Literature and the peaceful feeling it gave me.
  • The sun setting on the pagoda.
  • Waking up early to catch the coach for Sapa, and being moved at the sight of the old Vietnamese walking out of their humble homes and stretching their vulnerable bodies as they reached to the skies.
  • A kind artist, who patiently packaged our paintings in a cylindrical tube and, tying a string on both sides, made them easy for us to carry.
  • The little altars and shrines with incense sticks, flowers and fruit in hotels, shops and restaurants.

Unfortunately, Hanoi was the first place we went to, so I was jetlagged when my friend and I got there. My first impression, as I stepped out of the taxi, was that the place was dirty, chaotic, hot and rundown. I felt a little anxious as the endless stream of motorcyclists drove past us and wouldn’t stop hooting. What was this urban jungle? It was only towards the end of our three-day stay at Hanoi that I started to appreciate the beauty of this old Vietnamese city and I feel like the few images I managed to snap don’t do it justice. I’m sharing them just the same, as they’re part of my journey.

 

hanoi fruit seller

A common scene in Vietnam - fruit baskets on wheels.

 

Vietnamese old woman smiling

A friendly Vietnamese woman who smiled while having her picture taken.

 

Vietnamese boys

Vietnamese schoolboys.

 

Motorcyclists in Hanoi, Vietnam

The madness - most roads in Hanoi are this busy with motorcyclists!

 

Hanoi Buildings

Bright signage and rundown buildings - a very common sight in Hanoi.

 

Vietnamese woman

A Vietnamese woman selling food on the street in Hanoi - another common scene in Vietnam (most often, the food is delish!)

 

Hanoi Pagoda

The stunning Pagoda in Hanoi at sunset.

 

Temple of literature

Temple of Literature.

 

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Inside the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.

 

Temple of literature

Incense sticks at the Temple of Literature. According to folk belief, the numbers of burned incense sticks are always odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) because they represent prosperity and development.

 

Temple of literature

Children playing at the Temple of Literature.

 

Temple of literature

Door detail at Temple of Literature.

 

From this point onwards, the experience gets more inspiring, exciting, and enriching. Stay tuned for my next post on one of the most stunning places in Vietnam: Sapa.

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