Hanoi in 24 Hours

Hanoi, Vietnam is a popular destination for many people.  It was the first stop of a girl’s trip around SE Asia.  Of course 24 hours is nowhere near enough time to experience everything it has to offer but here are ideas of how to get the best out of a short trip.

Check Out Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple

Around the lake in the early morning and in the afternoon provide two different experiences but both are worth seeing.  Locals exercise during the peaceful morning.  By the afternoon, it becomes crowded with people and food carts.  The temple, which is on the lake, has a small entrance fee.  Make sure to wear a shirt with sleeves or bring something to cover up because shoulders can not be exposed.  In the area, there are streets dedicated to specific stores like silk, shoes, and books.  It’s cool to see rows of stores that all sell the same product.

Visit One Pillar Pagoda

This small temple is in the center of a lotus pond and is considered to represent a lotus flower growing out of the water.  It was interesting to see but the lotus pond wasn’t impressive.

Learn at the Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is home to Vietnam’s first national university, the Imperial Academy, and is dedicated to Confucius.  Many students visit the temple to pray for success before tests.  University graduates also use the temple as a backdrop for their yearbook photos and to celebrate their achievements.  We saw a bunch of graduates, especially girls in traditional Vietnamese white dresses.

Explore Train Street

If you can’t do anything else on a short trip in Hanoi, visit train street!  Located in a narrow street surrounded by homes, lies a train track.  Twice a day, a speeding train headed for Ho Chi Minh City passes through here.  If you’re there at that time, you literally have to become one with the buildings when the train passes.  Unfortunately, we missed the trains that day but still had an enjoyable time.

Eat Street Food

Right around the corner from train street are many shops.  You can buy raw meat, fruits, vegetables, and cooked food.  Try some if you are adventurous because what you eat will be a mystery.

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