Biking in Hanoi: We survived

July 18, 2013 ASEAN Backpacking

Mai Mislang, the former presidential aide, stirred controversy years ago with her tweets that sparked discussions across local social media platforms. One of her tweets read, "Crossing the speedy motorcycle-laden streets of Hanoi is one of the easiest ways to die.


According to The International Herald Tribune, "While visitors to London might discuss the weather and tourists in Paris debate restaurant choices, here in the Vietnamese capital, it is hard to escape the elemental conversation on how best to cross the street."

So, please don't tell my mom I biked in Hanoi.

Our original plan of going on a professional bike tour fell through, so we just decided to rent bikes. Luckily, our friend Mat Map from Hanoi gladly took us around Hanoi.

The first few minutes were a bit scary and startling, but once I got the hang of it, it was actually fun.

Our first stop was the One Pillar Pagoda.

The One Pillar Pagoda is one of Vietnam's two most iconic temples. The temple is built of wood on a single stone pillar, and it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom.

After that, we walked to the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

The Ho Chi Minh Museum is a museum dedicated to the late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam's revolutionary struggle against foreign powers. Although it tackled a very sad subject, the museum didn't feel depressing. I think this is one of the best museums I've seen.

We got on our bikes again after the Ho Chi Minh Museum and rode to the Temple of Literature.

The Temple of Literature is a former center of learning in Hanoi.

This is the site of the "Imperial Academy" or Vietnam's first national university. As homage to Confucius, sages, and scholars, graduates come here to have their pictures taken.

The temple offers visitors a glimpse into Vietnam's rich educational and cultural heritage. Today, it continues to be a popular destination for tourists, students, and locals alike, symbolizing the enduring importance of education and intellectual pursuits in Vietnamese history.

Just across the street is the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, which served as the final stop on our bike tour.

The museum offers art enthusiasts and cultural explorers a captivating journey through the creative expressions of Vietnamese artists, providing a deeper understanding of the nation's cultural identity and artistic traditions.

On display is a remarkable piece created by Mat Map's talented uncle.

In the end, amidst our screams and laughter, the experience turned out to be quite memorable. Now, with pride, we can proclaim that we not only explored Vietnam but also conquered its bustling streets on two wheels.

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