This is our final day in Hanoi. Our flight departs at 6.30pm, gave us half a day to finish up the few sights that we did not manage to visit on our first day in Hanoi. My friend and I deliberately keep the itinerary today very light, so we can get back to the hotel and freshen ourselves up before leaving for the airport. We very much wanted to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. However, when I checked with the staffs at the front desk of the hotel, I was disappointed to be informed that the mausoleum is closed on every Mondays. Guess we will have to visit the next time if we ever come back to Hanoi.
St Joseph Cathedral of Hanoi
After breakfast, we made our way to St Joseph Cathedral of Hanoi, which is located west of Hoan Kiem Lake. St Joseph Cathedral of Hanoi is the oldest church in Hanoi, built in 1886 and is one of the first structures built by the French colonial government. The Neo-Gothic style church has two bell towers that resemble Notre Dame de Paris and is nicknamed Notre Dame of Hanoi. St Joseph Cathedral overlooks a small plaza in front of the church. It is distinct that the original white colour church has given way to soot, with most of the structure covered in patches of black spots, which gives the church an aged character. The church was not crowded at the time of our visit, allowing us to take pictures of the church without any interruptions. As we entered the church, a staff member of the church informed us that the church will be closing in 1 min, I think we were lucky to have the chance to visit the interior of the church. 1 min is sufficient for us to take some pictures of the interior of the church.
In Search of the Vietnamese Egg Coffee
After exiting the church, my friend wanted to try the famous Vietnamese Egg Coffee that we did not manage to try for the past three days. We went enquired at a few cafes around St Joseph Cathedral and finally managed to find a cafe that sells the Egg Coffee. The Egg Coffee tasted creamy and rich and has a very unique texture to the coffee. After coffee, we walked around this area of Hanoi, stopping by a few shops to do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs. Somehow, we ended up in the northern part of Hoan Kiem Lake and popped by a supermarket nearby to shop for souvenirs. Soon it is time to head back to the hotel. When we returned to the hotel, we had some time to take a dip in the swimming pool in the hotel, which helped relieve the summer heat.
Till Next Time, Hanoi
Our arranged airport transfer arrived came 15 mins earlier than the destinated pick up time. Anyways we were ready to depart for the airport for our flight back home. Along the way, the sights we have seen flashed by the car window reminded me of how much I had enjoyed the trip despite being short. The locals are friendlier and more patient than I expected. The sights and the locals that we have come across is what made this Hanoi trip enjoyable.
I thought four days is sufficient to cover most of Hanoi and the surrounding sights such as Halong Bay and Tam Coc unless one is going to Sapa for a trek, which usually requires two days. I thought the day trip is sufficient for Halong Bay and does not require anything more than a day unless one wants to experience sleeping on the cruise ship in Halong Bay. For first-timers going to Hanoi, our itinerary for the four days are as follows for reference:
- Day 1: Exploring around Hanoi
- Day 2: Day Trip to Halong Bay
- Day 3: Day trip to Tam Coc and Hoa Lu
- Day 4: Finish up the sights in Hanoi