The trip from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to Hanoi is not a short trip, but is a great way to see Vietnam. We had two nights, and one day to enjoy the scenery. The accommodations include a small room with 4 beds, so we got to share our space with some Vietnamese travel companions. We were just happy not to be in the room with the people who were traveling with their rather noisy rooster.
The accomodations were mediocre at best, but the scenery was fantastic.
We arrived in Hanoi around sunrise and were happy to step off the train and feel cool air for a change. Not cold, but the kind of cool that deserves a sweatshirt and jeans. After checking in to our hotel we got right to work exploring Hanoi. We found the architecture and atmosphere of Hanoi to be far more enjoyable than Saigon.
The streets of Hanoi were crowded and narrow. We enjoyed walking around the old part of the city looking at all the food and goods you could buy for remarkably low prices.We took time in the afternoon to go the the local water puppet theater. This is a traditional form of theater that used to be conducted in rural rivers and rice paddies.
Mary claims this fish dish was the best food she ate in Vietnam. I was happy for $1 beers.
Ho Chi Minh's will stated that he was to be cremated and have his ashes spread across the united north and south of Vietnam. However, "in the supreme interest of the nation" his request was ignored. His body is preserved to this day inside this massive memorial "so that people from the north and south of Vietnam as well as the other nations of the world can express their deep feelings of gratitude." It was closed for maintenance to his body while we were there.
We also visited the "Hanoi Hilton" which was the name given to the prison where American POWs were kept during the Vietnam war. It is now a museum.