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Published: September 9th 2008
We arrived in Hanoi 40 minutes late than planned because there was a delay in flight. Despite the unnecessary panic attack caused by the assistant pilot who can barely murmur a proper English sentence, the 3 hour flight was quite pleasant. Clear blue skies accompanied by cotton-candy like clouds with not a tint of air turbulent. Kudos to all my pink balloons!
On our way from the airport to the old quarter, we were greeted by endless honking on the roads, it was so frantic we thought that the taxi driver has gone mad. It took me a while to figure out that Vietnamese drives on the left side of the road and all that honking was to 'shoo' the slow coach away. It all seemed daunting and a tad bit scary. So much for culture shock!
We checked in to Hanoi Orchid Hotel which I pre-booked with Air Asia. Must say that it was a pleasant hotel. Comfy beds, 40 over TV channels, air conditioned, hot shover, and a balcony over looking the bustling streets of Hang Be. Located in the Old Quarter, this is a recommended place to stay. Not only it's just minutes walk away from
the famous Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of Sword Restored), its also a stone throw away to many souvenir shops, restaurants and coffee bars. And oh, not forgetting the friendly english speaking staffs at the hotel 😊
Hanoi is a city of 'indifference'. Pedestrian paid very little attention to the frantic honking of motor-vehicles. Such display of annoyances would have cause a bleeding nose back home. But in Hanoi, it has become part and parcel of extreme tolerance (at least for me) in everyday life.
After we have gotten our City Tour and Halong Bay tour with Vietnam Open Tours at the hotel , it was time to unveil the hidden jewel of the Old Quarter.
It was hard to walk around the Old Quarter without a map. That's because the Old Quarter itself is like a gigantic market made up of 36 streets (or more) - which were named after their selling product.
At Hang Dao Street
From silk clothing ready-made and tailored, embroidery, silver products, jewelry, bags, DVDs, shoes to women's accessories (and many more!), the Old Quarter is definitely a shopper's paradise :D
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