Biking in Hanoi: We survived

July 18, 2013 ASEAN Backpacking

Years ago, local social media was abuzz over the controversial tweets of then presidential aide Mai Mislang, who tweeted "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 so depressing.  I think this one the best museums I've seen.

We got on our bikes again after 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.

Just across the street is The Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, which was the final stop of our bike tour. 

It is a museum showcasing Vietnam's fine arts, which includes a piece from Mat Map's uncle.

In the end, although we screamed a lot, it was a good experience. We can now proudly say, we survived biking in Vietnam.

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