Women with Balancing Poles
A common sight in Vietnam are vendors in the unmistakable Vietnamese conical hat. These women walk from street to street and place to place to hawk their wares, which are usually food or fruits such as mangoes, strawberries and the local star apple.
I bought some mangoes from one of the vendors. Just carrying the 2 kilos with me to the airport and back home to Malaysia was a real chore. I guess most of us cannot imagine how hard these women work...to make a living.
Pick a tour from any agency in the old quarters to go out of Hanoi and most tours will have temple visit. About 70% of the population re buddhists. It is interesting to see the architecture of their temple is different from the ones in China and Thailand. The colours signifiied different aspects of life such as orange represents health etc(if i remember it correctly). Offering one incense is to offer to King of the heaven, three is to offer to heaven, earth and the God of that temple and five is to offer for the five elements: Gold, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth as in soil. All entrances to the temples will have a raised barrier to make sure that you "bowed down" as a respect to the Gods in the temples.
There is a special Chinese meaning when someone says to the guy that he wore a "green hat'. Go find out about it.
But this Vietnamese Hat for the soldier is in bright green and with the famous star.
You can buy them for USD2 and below at any souvenier shop.
Hanoi has a modern medium size international airport. Coming from Europe, the best deals are from the old metropolis, Paris. Air France has manyplanes to Hanoi and HCMC.
There are few Duty Free shops here, so make your shopping in the city before leaving...
Pretty average place, I went with some vietnamese students and they still couldnt get our food orders correct even when there was no language barrier!
Much better places to eat in Hanoi, don't bother unless you are desperate.