Vietnam
Hoàn Kiếm

Here you’ll find travel reports about Hoàn Kiếm. Discover travel destinations in Vietnam of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

209 travelers at this place:

  • Day69

    Wir landen 15 Uhr. Als wir auf unser Gepäck warten, begutachten wir den Himmel. Es sieht regnerisch aus.
    Nachdem wir unser Gepäck haben, werden wir für 18 Dollar abgeholt vom Flughafen. Und wie sich herausstellt lohnt sich das! Wir sind mitten drin im Gewusel und bekommen den Verkehr hautnah mit. Von allen Seiten quetschen sich Mopeds und Autos vorbei. Es wird ununterbrochen gehupt. Und wir sitzen sicher in unserem Taxi.
    Es gibt keine Regeln und auch wenn die Ampel auf rot steht, wird gefahren. Wer konsequent und sicher auftritt gewinnt. Das gilt auch für die Fußgänger. Willst du eine Kreuzung überqueren, musst du loslaufen. Ohne zu zögern. Wenn du zögerst, quetschen sich die Mopeds von allen Seiten vorbei und du bist gefangen.
    Am ersten Abend stresst uns das extrem. Der Verkehr, die vollen Straßen, die Gerüche, die vielen Menschen. Und das Wetter. Unerwartet sind in Hanoi 14 Grad und Regen. Darauf sind wir nicht vorbereitet und wir haben kaum dicke Sachen dabei. Von einem Tag auf den anderen sind in Hanoi die Temperaturen um 15 Grad gefallen. Das dauert meistens nicht lange an, doch leider sind wir genau in der Zeit hier. Also planen wir komplett um und buchen direkt einen Zug, der uns am Montag weiter in den Süden bringen wird.
    Nachdem wir 5 Millionen Vietnamesische Dong abgehoben haben, machen wir uns auf den Weg in die Altstadt. Die, wie vorab geplant, nur 2 Straßen neben unserem Hotel beginnt.
    Als wir zögerlich an einer Kreuzung stehen (niemals zögern - immer laufen), lächle ich einer Obsthändlerin zu. Großer Fehler! Sie reagiert sofort und hängt mir ungefragt ihren "Obststand" über die Schulter. "Foto, Foto," sagt sie und wir wissen beide in dem Moment, dass wir da nicht mehr rauskommen. "Okay, dann kaufen wir deine Ananas." Leider haben wir noch keine Ahnung und kein Gefühl fürs vietnamesische Geld. Im lauten Gewusel und hin und her, greift sie in das Portemonnaie und gibt uns Rückgeld. Als wir uns trennen, ahnen wir beide schon, dass das jetzt wahrscheinlich ein großer Schein war. Schlaues kleines Ding.
    Am Ende kosten uns 500 Gramm Ananas und das Foto, 18 Euro. Eigene Dummheit. Und auch nicht dramatisch. Wir haben ihr wahrscheinlich einen freien Tag ermöglicht. Trotzdem rennen wir danach noch einige Zeit mit blöden Vorurteilen im Kopf rum und "schreien" den aufdringlichen Obstverkäufer und Süßigkeitverkäufer schon von weiten ein lautes "Nein" entgegen. Ihr Trick: sie greifen einen gezuckerten Windbeutel aus ihrem Korb und legen ihn ungefragt in deine Hand "zum kosten". Aus Reflex greift man zu. Aber nicht mit uns. 18 Euro haben uns belehrt. Und in den Tagen in Hanoi laufen wir mit Händen in den Taschen durch die Straßen.

    Nach 2 Tagen gewöhnen wir uns immer mehr an Hanoi. Es gibt viele kleine Gassen zu entdecken. Überall wird auf der Straße gekocht. Die Vietnamesen sitzen auf kleinen Hokern und schmeißen Fleisch, Fisch und Muscheln in ihre Töpfe. Wir sehen wie ein halbes Schwein mitten auf dem kleinen Fußgängerweg zerlegt wird und überall warten Händler mit Gemüse und Früchte in Körbe darauf, dass sie uns etwas andrehen können.
    Letztendlich sind es nur die Wanderhändler, die sehr aufdringlich sind.
    In den Restaurants und Cafés werden wir herzlich begrüßt. Wir versuchen Vietnamesisch zu lernen und die Vietnamesen interessieren sich für Deutschland und versuchen Deutsch zu sprechen. Wir fühlen uns willkommen.
    Am ersten Abend landen wir in einem typisch - einheimischen Restaurant. Auf Empfehlung unseres Hotels. Ich bin froh, dass sie uns nicht in eine Tourihöhle gesteckt haben. Ich esse meine geliebte Pho Ga, die ich in Berlin auch sehr gerne gesessen habe. Und zu meinem überraschen schmeckt die Nudelsuppe genauso wie in Berlin. Bei Ralf gibt es Currytopf mit Reis.
    Im Allgemeinen kann man das Essen mit dem in Deutschland aber nicht vergleichen. Es grenzt sich auch vom Thailändischen ab. Ich muss mich manchmal noch etwas an die Gerüche gewöhnen. Hier wird viel in Brühe gekocht. Fleisch und Fisch wirkt noch sehr weich. Die Vietnamesen lassen oft Haut und Fett dran. Was mich etwas abschreckt. Außerdem sehen wir bei einer Tour durch die Stadt, einen Stand mit gebratenen Hunden. Irgendwie habe ich das Gefühl, das Vietnam einen kulinarischen Einfluss von den Chinesen hat oder andersrum. Die Restaurants sind auf die Touris ausgerichtete. Also landen wir erstmal doch in Touristenhöhlen. Manchmal müssen wir uns auch erstmal rantasten.
    Auf der anderen Seite hat Vietnam durch die Kolonialzeit einen kulinarischen Einschlag von den Franzosen. Es gibt Croissant, Baguettes, sehr guten Café und Froschschenkel. Außerdem das berühmte Ban Mi, was ich auch noch probieren werde.
    Durch die Kolonialzeit gibt es hier wunderschöne Gebäude und Fassaden. Alles ist sehr schmal und schlauchartig nach hinten erbaut. Wir lieben diesen Stil. Wir lieben diese Balkone. Es hat was romantisch-chaotisches, wenn die Fassade blättert, erdige Farben aufeinander treffen und sich überall Pflanzen ihren Weg suchen.
    Und dann wird ein Teil der Altstadt dicht gemacht. Die Fußgänger dürfen auf den großen Straßen laufen am Wochenende ohne vom motorisierten Verkehr erdrückt zu werden. Und von einem Tag auf den anderen ist Weihnachtszeit. Alles platzt plötzlich vor Schmuck und Weihnachtsdeko aus den Nähten. Es gibt sogar Stände mit Weihnachtskostüme für Babys bis Rentner. Total verrückt. Und die Temperatur steigt auch wieder.
    In der Woche wird die Temperatur wieder auf 22 Grad steigen. Der "Temperatursturz" war nur für einige Tage. Das ist normal für den Norden. Länger dürfte es auch nicht kalt sein, die Vietnamesen haben keine Heizungen.
    Heute geht es mit dem Nachtzug nach Hoi An. Dort werden wir uns für 3 Wochen einrichten.
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  • Day163

    Good morning (or is it night?) Vietnam

    February 16, 2017 in Vietnam

    After travelling 14,900 miles, two journeys >24 hours and visiting 7 international airports in just a few days since San Jose, we are now in Hanoi, Vietnam. We arrived on Wednesday evening and have spent a couple of days exploring the city and trying to recover from our jet lag. The jet lag is proving more difficult than Costa Rica - our own fault for arranging a schedule that traversed 13 hours of time zones in 5 days I suppose (UK is 6hr ahead of Costa Rica & Vietnam is 7hr ahead of UK)....

    On our first day in Hanoi (after having woken up at 2.30am) we wandered around the old quarter, exploring the streets and learning how to cross the road. I have never seen so many mopeds in my life (it makes Italy look positively tame!) and you need some nerve to cross the road, especially with a 4-year-old in tow... Every street has a theme, with shops mostly selling the same type of thing - so far we've seen silk street, toy st, moped repair st, jewellery st, jade st, light st, hardware st and noodle st, amongst others. Our hotel is near Hoan Kiem Lake, so we walked along the lake shore and also visited Ngoc Son Temple, which is on an island in the lake and you get to it by walking across a picturesque red bridge. The temple gardens were small but a lovely tranquil haven from the bustle of the city, with beautiful bonsai trees. We sat by the lake eating a snack after the temple, when a group of local secondary school children asked to interview us about New Year for a school project (see picture). They found it hilarious that we don't wear any special clothes or eat any special food at new year! It was interesting talking to them. In the afternoon we went to see the water puppet show, thinking it would be a great thing to do with Solana. Unfortunately she fell asleep in the sling on the way there and when we woke her up to see the puppet show, she was scared and didn't like it! A shame because it was actually quite good and I ended up missing most of it... Solana fell asleep again later in the afternoon; we tried to wake her for dinner but she was so tired she was unrousable, so we ended up taking her out asleep - she slept through dinner and the walk back!
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  • Day44

    Day 44 - Hanoi Again/Last Day in Vietnam

    October 23, 2017 in Vietnam

    Today was pretty uneventful. Besides the shuttle back to Hanoi this afternoon, we didn't do anything too exciting. The highlight of the day was definitely our return to the restaurant where we had the best pho ever. We each got an order of beef pho and we split the vegetable spring rolls. I had a fresh mango juice and Tim had a fresh orange carrot juice and a beer. It was all delicious!

    Now we are resting up before the trip to Bangkok tomorrow!
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  • Day33

    Day 33 - Hanoi Arrival

    October 12, 2017 in Vietnam

    What a long day...or was it 2 days?! We didn't sleep at all on the 10 hour flight from Rome to Bangkok...arriving at midnight Rome time, 5:00 am Bangkok time. Then, after a 2 and a half hour layover and a 2 and a half hour flight (with a little sleep), we arrived in Hanoi at 10 am local time. We got our Visas, got a taxi, and went straight to our hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, right next to Hoan Kiem Lake. Fortunately, we were able to check right in. This hotel, Golden Moon Hotel, had the nicest room we have stayed in the whole trip. It is one of the nicer hotels I have ever been in. And it's $25/night, which is actually our most expensive accommodations in Vietnam. We set down our luggage and took a much needed 3 hour nap. We could have slept the whole day away but we knew we needed to adjust to the time, so we forced ourselves up around 2:00, took showers, and went out to check out Hanoi.

    Hanoi is insane!!! The roads are wild, filled with motor scooters, pedestrians, construction, street food, children, and even a few tourists. We had fortunately seen some random Facebook/YouTube videos on how to cross the street in Hanoi before we got here (basically you just walk across slowly and the vehicles avoid you). If we hadn't just spent a few weeks in Italy with those crazy roads and drivers, I'm not sure we would have had the courage and confidence to do it. But we seem to have figured it out.

    Our first stop, of course, was a pho lunch at a busy street vendor. YUM! It was so good (and $3.75 total for both of our meals). Hanoi is known for having some of the best street food in Asia and that is one of the main reasons we are here. After pho, we wandered the streets a bit until we found our way back to our hotel. We relaxed for a bit and I was about ready to call it a night, but Tim was somehow hungry again. We found a restaurant a couple of blocks away. I wasn't too hungry, but we got a couple of passion fruit mojitos, a couple of beers, and split veggie spring rolls and a chicken curry dish (all for under $15...which is actually very expensive here). The meal was pretty good, but I think we will stick to street vendors for the rest of our time in Hanoi.

    Now, some reading, and then probably 12 hours of sleep!
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  • Day34

    Day 34 - Hanoi

    October 13, 2017 in Vietnam

    What a great day...Hanoi is awesome!

    We got to bed pretty early last night but knew we needed at least 12 hours to catch up on sleep. We got about 10 hours, then woke up to eat the free hotel breakfast (pho and fresh fruit!) and then got another couple of hours of sleep and relaxing before we set off for the day.

    As soon as as we left the hotel, we saw a crowded little food stand selling chicken on a stick and decided to order two. We accidentally ordered two full meals to go - chicken, vegetables, rice noodles, and broth, all for $1. We found a bench at Hoan Kiem lake and ate our lunch there. The chicken was amazing!! Then we went into a temple over the bridge in the middle of the lake (I had to borrow a "costume" to cover my bare shoulders). After the temple, we walked around the whole lake and then started wandering through the busy streets for hours and going in several little shops. Since we recently decided we love Chess, we bought a cool little stone Chess set, and found an outdoor beer bar to sit down and drink and play. We hung out at this bar on the corner of two wild streets and played Chess and drank beers for awhile. Then we went out for a pho dinner, came back and played a little more Chess, and now we're about ready for bed. We have an early bus in the morning to Sapa!
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  • Day164

    Hanoi

    February 17, 2017 in Vietnam

    We started the day at 1am when Solana woke and couldn't get back to sleep - we all finally managed to drop back off around 5am, only to struggle to get up again at 7... We got a cyclo taxi (like a rickshaw) to Ho Chi Minh mausoleum site in the morning. The ride itself was fun, if a bit hair-raising with traffic coming at us from all angles at intersections! We got to see Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts, the one pillar pagoda and some lovely gardens with plenty of bonsai trees and koi carp swimming around. There was a nursery trip visiting at the same time too, which was cute to see. We have seen a bit of wildlife so far in Vietnam, although nothing on the scale of Costa Rica - bird count now about 7 and mammals 3 (black squirrel, bat and rat!).

    In the evening we went out to the night market, where we enjoyed wandering round the stalls (with Solana in the sling on Laura's back so she didn't get lost - it was pretty busy!). We invested in a neck pillow for Solana, to help her sleep on buses, trains, etc - hoping it will be a good investment of 100,000 Dong (about £4)! We also ate at an open-air restaurant there - tasty fried beef noodles, cooked on a little burner outside - 2 dishes plus beers for about £6.50 (which would have barely bought us a piece of cheese in Costa Rica!). Solana managed to stay awake until around 8:30pm and we re-packed, ready for our trip to Halong Bay.
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  • Day38

    Day 38 - Back to Hanoi!

    October 17, 2017 in Vietnam

    Wow! Has it really been 38 days?! This trip is flying by. But, at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago that we were getting on the Greyhound in Richmond to head up to JFK back in early September. I could stay in Hanoi forever. But I also miss my cats. And everyone and everything else. But I'm also not even close to ready to come back.

    Anyways, today we traveled back to the amazing Vietnam capital, Hanoi. We relaxed in our hotel room in Sapa until check out, then we ventured out to lunch. Our entire time in Sapa, we had been watching groups of people eating a dish called a hotpot. We wanted to try one but they seemed to be best split between 4-6 people (or more) and we weren't sure if we could find a smaller one. We couldn't, but we got one anyways. We decided to go with a salmon hotpot (1 kg was the smallest they would let us have!). About 5 minutes after we ordered it, one of the employees walked into the restaurant with a grocery bag that had a giant flopping salmon in it. Talk about fresh! Then, about 10 minutes after that, they started to bring out the food - a small tabletop stove with a pot of broth (water, herbs, onions, pineapple, and so much more), a plate full of the entire raw salmon (filleted), potatoes, carrots, greens, noodles, tofu, and all sorts of sauces. We devoured almost all of it, over the course of a couple of hours, along with a few beers.

    We headed back to our hotel to pick up our bags and wait for our van to pick us up to take us back to Hanoi. The van ride back seemed to take forever, but we made it back, got dropped off at the wrong hotel, walked the quick few blocks to the right hotel, and checked in to another amazing hotel right in the center of the Old Quarter. Then we set off for dinner. We finally got a pho that is possibly better than our favorite spot in Richmond, Pho So 1. A couple have been close, a couple have been worse, but this was definitely the only one that is as good or better. We will certainly be back.

    Now, bedtime. A long day of Hanoi exploring and eating and drinking tomorrow. Can't wait - I love this city!!!

    (Only pictures today are off our awesome hotpot lunch. Unfortunately my phone was dead for our late night Hanoi wandering and pho dinner.)
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  • Day39

    Day 39 - Hanoi!

    October 18, 2017 in Vietnam

    Hanoi is awesome! We started the day with a delicious breakfast of banana pancakes with fresh watermelon, pears, coffee and juice. After breakfast, we visited the prison museum where French colonials jailed Vietnamese revolutionaries and where US POWs (including John McCain) were imprisoned during the "American" (Vietnam) war. The museum was really interesting but also very depressing.

    After the museum, we decided to grab some lunch. We found a local street restaurant and had a delicious lunch of spring rolls and vermicelli with stir fried chicken and peanut sauce. Yum!

    Following lunch we decided to get a 90 minute Swedish massage at a highly recommended parlor which trained and employed masseurs who were visually impaired. Best massage ever! We were so relaxed we decided to return to the hotel to rest for about an hour.

    Around 7, we decided it was time for dinner. We found another nearby street spot and had an amazing dinner of pork, chicken, and beef with rice noodles.

    After dinner, we did some shopping for a few gifts before drinking a few beers at restaurant on a second story balcony overlooking a busy street. After paying our bill and before heading home, we stopped in at one last bar for a few icy cold ones...and some manhattans! We have an early morning tomorrow so its time for bed!!
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  • Day168

    Last day in Hanoi

    February 21, 2017 in Vietnam

    Today was our last day in Hanoi. After visiting the museum in the morning, we spent the afternoon wandering the streets of the old quarter for the last time and buying a few supplies, ready for the overnight train journey. We've tried to capture here some of the common street scenes; when you look at them, imagine the noisiest city you've ever been to (no doubt Hanoi itself for those of you who've been there), then multiply it by about 3 and you're probably somewhere near a virtual visit! We were able to get all of the supplies we wanted in the supermarket, plus some chicken feet which we decided to pass on this occasion! We ended the afternoon with dinner at "Pho 10", the noodle shop we found on our first evening in Hanoi - it only does beef noodles but has about 8 different kinds of beef - simple but tasty.

    We've really enjoyed our time in and around Hanoi and would highly recommend it for a visit. It's crazy but fascinating. The climate is great too - temperatures in the early to mid-20s C when we were here, so warm enough for shorts and t-shirt but not hot, sticky or humid as the coastal areas of Costa Rica were. Next, we head South - back towards the heat and humidity...
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  • Day3

    Hanoi zu Fuß

    October 30 in Vietnam

    Aktuell sitzen wir schon im Bus zu unserer nächsten Station: Insel Cat Ba.

    Gestern haben wir den ganzen Tag Hanoi zu Fuß erkundet. Von unserem Hotel im Viertel Old Quarter ging es zunächst zum Hoan Kiem See. Hier waren wir am ersten Abend schon, da war bereits recht viel los mit Straßenkünstlern und Musik. Aber eigentlich ist auch überall und zu jeder Tageszeit viel los 😁
    Wir schlenderten weiter, stärkten uns mit einem banh mi baguette oder banana cake. Wir besichtigten die Tran-Quoc-Pagode, und den Park rund um das Ho-Chi-Minh-Museum und -Mausoleum. Da das letztere aber geschlossen war, war nicht besonders viel los. Auch mal schön. Auch unser nächster Stop, der Literaturtempel, hatte leider bereits zu. Also setzten wir uns erstmal in die Nähe, um unsere erste Kokosnuss zu schlürfen. Wird nicht die letzte gewesen sein 🙃
    Anschließend zurück ins Old Quarter suchten wir uns ein schönes Fleckchen zum Abendessen. Wir wählten Bun Cha - es gab wieder zuerst eine große Schale Grünzeug, ne ordentliche Portion Reisnudeln sowie "Schweinsfrikadellen" in leckerer Brühe und sehr leckere Frühlingsrollen! Zufrieden und mit vollen Bäuchen machten wir uns nun noch auf die Suche nach dem täglich frisch gebrauten Bier "bia hoi". Lange mussten wir nicht suchen, bis wir uns auf winzigen Plastestühlen niederließen und die ersten zwei Bier auf dem Tisch standen. Umgerechnet ca. 30 Cent. Und dafür tatsächlich ganz gut! Da es nur ca. 2-3 Umdrehungen hat, ließen wir den Abend dort mit 3-5 Getränken ausklingen.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Hoàn Kiếm, Hoan Kiem

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