17th May 2019 ~ hot day!
Landed in Nội Bài International Airport, my buddy trip, Ann, exchanged her money. I remember it was USD 1 = VND 23,300. From there she got enough money and we booked Grab to our hotel in Old Quarter Hà Nội for VND 254k, about 40 minutes.
Our itinerary for today was not too many for today – as it was almost sunset when we finally arrived in our hotel. Our official first stop was the famous Hoàn Kiếm Lake. But on our way to the lake we had our early dinner at the Highway4 Restaurant. The fine restaurant was located around the Old Quarter as well. We went up to the second floor and sat at the lower table – just like the locals do. <(￣︶￣)>
This restaurant was famous for their Nem Ca Xa Lo4 (Catfish Spring Rolls) so that was the first thing we ordered. As much as I wanted to try their Sun-dried Venison with Salt & Ant Dip, but I finally decided to order something else; Bu Niong La Chuoi (Strips of Beef grilled in Banana Leaves).
Now we had enough energy to make our way to one of the famous lake in Hanoi. But unfortunately Đền Ngọc Sơn or Ngoc Son Temple in the middle of the lake was already closed by the time we arrived there (temple opens at 08:00 and closes at 17:00 every day). So we decided to just walk around the lake and enjoyed the bustling weekend night around the lake.
Hoàn Kiếm Lake is a fresh water lake, measuring some 12 ha in the historical center of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. It is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life. Also known as Hồ Gươm (Sword Lake) and in the past, the lake was variously name Lục Thủy Lake (Green Water Lake).
According to the legend, in early 1428, Emperor Lê Lợi was boating on the lake when a Golden Turtle God (Kim Qui) surfaced and asked for his magic sword, Heaven’s Will. Lợi concluded that Kim Qui had come to reclaim the sword that its master, a local God, the Dragon King (Long Vương) had given Lợi some time earlier, during his revolt against Ming China. Later, the Emperor gave the sword back to the turtle after he finished fighting off the Chinese. Emperor Lợi renamed the lake to commemorate this event, from its former name Lục Thủy meaning “Green Water”. The Turtle Tower (Tháp Rùa) standing on a small island near the centre of lake is linked to the legend. The first name of Hoàn Kiếm lake is Tả Vọng, when the King hadn’t given the Magical Sword back to the Golden Turtle God (Cụ Rùa).
I got my first 5 bug bites around this lake! Apparently my mosquito patch was not working in this city – by the time my holiday was over my bug bites was countless. (＞﹏＜)
and some other streets around the lake was closed. We enjoyed some local attractions around the lake. From tai chi dance, hip hop dance, bamboo-jumping games, bottles juggling, and many more played by local amateurs. It was fun to watch, but rather than standing there watching and scratching my skins I was more attracted to try local street foods.
We were supposedly stop and enjoy aperitifs at the Legend Beer. But unfortunately the famous beer place overlooking the lake was also closed for maintenance until end of May. The building was still there, other stores were still open, but however we decided to give it a pass.
As advised by the hotel staff, we now continued walk to the street market at street. (´｡• ω •｡`)
night market was a busy place. You could find souvenirs, street foods, local shirts, and many things here. But make sure you have to have a bargaining skill and remember not to get riped-off. From the busy street market we made a turn to
The cold draft beer served in a plastic cup and tourists were sitting on small plastic chairs on the street watching people walking by or other people enjoying their beers. Weather outside was still warm and humid but a lot of tourists were sat down with their friends enjoying a small talk with cold beers. It was fun. (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ
We were slightly chilled by the draft beer and decided to walk back to our hotel in a tiny alley. Tomorrow we will have a long day walking around this hot city. Or maybe just chill at a shopping mall. Who knows.
But for now, this was how our first day end. (￣▽￣)