Today we joined a City tour of Hanoi with our guide, Bay and our driver, Chung. The only other guests were three lovely, 20 year old Belgium girls. Our first stop was the hugely impressive Ho chi Minh presidential palace area including the mausoleum, coy carp lake and his private quarters.
We then visited a museum that told the history of Vietnam and about all the different ethnic groups that still live in the country, thanks to Bay, he made it educational and his knowledge of his country new no bounds.
Our third stop of the day was to a workshop that produces hand made tiles using lacquer and inlays of duck egg and mother of pearl, this was absolutely fascinating and the finished products were simply superb. While we were being shown around the workshop, the workshop guide said that Mandy and I had three beautiful daughters ( the Belgium girls), well we just all looked at each other and burst into fits of giggles.
Bay and Chung then took us for the included lunch break at a local restaurant, we were just expecting a snack but ended up enjoying a 9 course lunch. Suitably replenished we set out and visited the temples of Ngoc son and One pillar, the former dating back to the eleventh century.
All too soon it was time to say good by to our new Belgium and Vietnamese friends as we all boarded Cyclo's to be driven through the chaotic traffic of the old quarter back to our hotels after a hugely entertaining and informative day.
In the evening we wandered through the streets of old Hanoi and stopped off at a bar for a tiger beer, as we sat outside a troupe of musicians and actor set up a impromptu stage and began performing a play using historical costumes and musical instruments. We then had a lovely dinner at the Hanoi food centre, a lovely little bistro overlooking the old quarter.