This is a tour diary report that we want tourists to have a further view towards how a particular free walking tour is conducted.
Our time set was 8:30 am on June 25, 2016 at Golden Silk Hotel, 109 Hang Gai. It was so hard to explain why unfortunate stuff always happened at first. The guest just left from Hong Kong whose timezone is 1 hour earlier than Vietnam, but he forgot to set his clock right. Consequently, he kept waiting so long that by the time I came, he had been wandering somewhere outside. Additionally, he didn’t have a Vietnam sim card for us to contact, so I just sat in the guestroom waiting for the agency who tried to contact him by emails. One hour and a half later, by 10:am, I finally received a phone call informing his location in the end. Certainly, I was like crying happily at the time. That’s how the walking tour began.
He was drinking some coffee waiting me at Highlands Coffee, a famous Vietnamese coffee branch, inside the Opera House. Therefore, French Quarter was our initiator.
Hanoi Opera House is absolutely the first destination of the walking tour which brought us back the time of 1945 meeting for the beginning of Hanoi Revolution. Heading through French streets, along the Sword Lake, we not only shared stories about historical relics but also our daily stuff. We talked a lot about Mandarin because I’m a beginner of this language and he had some experience with it while he was working in Hong Kong.
The Old Quarter
Passing through the main streets of the Old Quarter where the night market is held every 3 weekend nights, we stopped by the building at 46 Hang Ngang, the private house served as an working office of Communist Party during 1945. Walking in the Old Quarter are like into a battle of matrix; however, we made it through conquering the whole complex with significant relics such as the White Horse temple, O Quan Chuong, Bot Hang Dau, and the extraordinary gift for 1000 year Hanoi named Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural under the oldest bridge in Hanoi.
When you’ve been to Hanoi, street food is an indispensable part. Stopping by 29 Cau Go, I found a champion of Bun cha & sugar cane juice who finished a set of Bun cha by 3 minutes and took 3 shots of sugar cane juice at once. The guest seemed absolutely enjoying the meal. I did ask him why he could enjoy so fast and it was when family stories were shared. He told me about his family where there’s 9 children under the same roof, if you were not fast, there couldn’t be any food left, he joked.
We continued our stories at a coffee shop lying on Dinh Tien Hoang street where we wanted to save some energy for the rest of the walking tour in the afternoon.
Under the hot sunshine and Hanoi humidity, sweat kept dropping, various bottles of water kept being drunk, but there were always smiles on our faces. Through tens of streets, Hoa Lo prison and Temple of Literature were our last destinations. We decided to make it, and we made it successfully and joyfully, though I could feel there was no energy left in the guest’s body. Tired to be fun, that’s all the walking tour about. Approximately 21 km long is the sum total of our walking before we took a taxi from Temple of Literature back to the hotel.