• Vietnam Women’s Museum is pretty place and looks at how women have been involved in Vietnam’s history and culture, including military conflicts as well as in commerce, family, fashion. The exhibits are well presented and the exhibits also gives insights into Vietnamese ethnic groups and their rich history.
• the Museum of Ethnology, ethnic tribes displays, is colourful and interesting.
• the over-the-top propaganda in the Ho Chi Minh Museum and Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution are hilarious.
Hoa Lo prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton. Photo by Dennis Jarvis
Hoa Lo Prison was a prison from the French Colonial era and used to incarcerate Vietnamese as well as US military. Exhibitions, photos and information are direct, brutal and graphic so this is not a place for those with delicate dispositions, but it is educational and interesting.
Short trips out of Hanoi
• Bat Trang, a famous ceramic/pottery village just 9kms south, easy to reach via Bus 47.
• Tam Coc and Hoa Lu, pointy hills (karsts), grottoes, ancient king’s shrines and an hour’s boating
• the Perfume Pagoda (mountain hikes, boating and temples), 60 kms southwest.
• Halong Bay’s magical, water-embedded peaks.
• Sapa, a two or three day jaunt, see at top.
Hanoi is a boom town, modernising fast and getting a sniff of the smoggy side of contemporary societies. Photo by Ongbac9999
There is a thick haze of smog and noise around Hanoi these days as seven million people emerge daily from tall, improbably narrow buildings into the hectic outside where all life shares the streets – motorcycles, bicycles, cars, chickens, dogs, rats, humans and tourists.