We arrived into Hanoi from Hue in the late afternoon and immediately went sightseeing around the city. After the Vietnam War, the capital of the country was moved from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Hanoi.
Our bus drove us past the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh before taking us to the Temple of Literature which was constructed about 950 years ago. It was utilized as a university for many years and the architecture had a heavy Chinese influence. There were plenty of monuments to Confucius, too, as his philosophy was taught at the university.
We then walked across the street for dinner at a restaurant named Koto which is similar to the Friends restaurant we ate at in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This restaurant was started as a way to train marginalized youth to have careers in the restaurant industry. I had a chicken satay and stir fried duck, both of which hit the spot!
After dinner, we went to the hotel to check in. Most of the group was exhausted, but four of us walked to a nearby square which was home to Saint Joseph’s Cathedral. A mass was going on so we couldn’t go inside, but the church was gorgeously illuminated from the outside. We then grabbed a gelato and chatted for about 45 minutes about different places to go in Southeast Asia, which made my bucket list grow quite a bit.
We then headed back to the hotel for the night as we had a relatively early start the following day.