We flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It was a two hour flight and cost about $100 per ticket. We got into Hanoi about midnight, a little later than we would have liked to, but ended up finding a room at the Lake Side Hostel in the historical center of Hanoi (for reference we do not recommend this hostel).
Hanoi has been a thriving city for over 1000 years. It has served as the capital through French Indochina, the capital of northern Vietnam during the Vietnam war and continues to serve as the capital today.
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Our hostel was located near Hoan Kiem Lake “Lake of the Restored Sword“. Legend has it that the emperor Le Loi was boating on the lake when all the sudden a Golden Turtle God surfaced and requested to have his magic sword “Heaven’s Will”. Heaven’s Will was gifted to the emperor from the Dragon King (a Vietnamese local God), during his revolt from the Chinese Ming dynasty. The emperor released this magical sword to the golden turtle and renamed the lake commemorate this event. In the middle of the lake now stands the Turtle Tower to symbolize the history.
Don’t forget to check out the Jade island and the temple of the jade mountain on the north side of the lake. This temple was constructed in the 13th century and honors military leaders. Jade island is connected to the shore by the red bridge.
When we were walking around we saw many Vietnamese students who had just graduated and where taking pictures with family and friends. We couldn’t help it and took some portraits of them too:)