In one of my earlier travel posts, I’ve mentioned that if you’re staying in the Old Quarter in Hanoi, it’s actually very easy to get around on foot. In fact, many of the notable attractions and must-see places in Hanoi are also within walking distances from the Old Quarter.
Well, when I say ‘walking distance’ while I’m travelling, it can mean anywhere between a 5-minute walk to a 1-hour walk, lol. If my legs can take me that far, I will just walk as much as I can because it’s really the best way to explore a foreign city and you just never know what you’ll discover along the way. Since I love trying new local eats (probably eat way too much!) when I travel, walking is also necessary to aid digestion and to burn off calories (not much but every little bit counts, haha).
We set off from our hotel early in the morning to make our way to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This was just a random shot I took while waiting at the road junction of Dien Bien Phu Street – classic example of high volume of motorcycles and scooters in the streets of Hanoi. The endless flow of traffic, never-ending honks and polluted air really made road-crossing a stressful affair at times.
On the way, we stopped by Lenin Park which was supposedly built in 1958. It was known as Thong Nhat Park (or ‘Reunification Park’) during that time as Vietnam wasn’t reunified yet and in 1980, it was renamed Lenin Park to commemorate Vladimir Lenin on his 110th birthday. This park is one of many recreational parks in Hanoi where the locals would come here to exercise. We saw a group of old folks dancing Cha Cha and later in the afternoon, this space was filled with skateboarders.
That was Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in the background. And this green space was Ba Dinh Square which was named after the Ba Dinh Uprising, an anti-French rebellion that took place in Vietnam in the late 19th century. It was also where President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence in 1945.
This is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh lies. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go in as the mausoleum was closed for maintenance.
Located near to the mausoleum is the Presidential Palace which was built in the early 20th century to house the French Governor-General of Indochina. The palace building isn’t open to the public but you may walk around the grounds for a fee (40,000 VND per pax).
I think not many people knew that though the queue to get in here was very, very long. We walked to the front of the palace and took a picture of the striking yellow building. Why queue and pay when you can just walk to the front and take a peek at the palace? Anyway it was kinda weird because I held my camera through the gate and took my time to take photos – no one stopped me. Two local girls came by to take a ‘wefie’ with the palace in the background and they were stopped (and chased away) by the guards on duty. Hmm, tourist privilege?