We arrived in Hanoi at 5:45am after a sixteen hour train journey and were obviously too early to check in to our hotel. We dropped off our luggage and by 7am were sitting having coffee before exploring the old quarter of Hanoi on foot for the next five hours!
We went through the outside food market where a variety of foods from animals to seafoods to incredible fruits and vegetables were on display. Frogs and turtles the most disturbing to my western eyes but then again, we’ve eaten frog’s legs in France so can’t be too hypocritical.
As the morning progressed, the noise increased as did the traffic with a mesmerising flow of motorbikes, where they were all going, we had no idea.
By midday we were fading and thankfully were able to check in to our room and have a very welcome shower before sitting down for lunch a few doors away. Feeling much better once replenished we were able to take on the afternoon complete with a trip to the theatre to see a Vietnamese water puppet show.
I was dubious but the puppets were charming, humorous and educational. They were operated on large poles under water and told fables of rice farming, mythological animals and the history of the lake in Hanoi.
From the puppet show, to dinner at the Blue Butterfly, a highly recommended restaurant where we enjoyed another lovely Vietnamese meal before eventually collapsing, 23,000 steps later, into bed to sleep the sleep of the extremely knackered.