Dec 4-5, 2019 — days 1,2 — 2h30m — 37km — arrival — hectic ride — street food — sightseeing
Nervous wait at the baggage carousel ended happily and we walked out to assemble our bicycles. A lady showed up volunteering to recycle the cardboard boxes. Exit from the airport was a bit tricky: no motorbikes or bicycles allowed on arrival/departure roads. We had to find the bike parking and follow people to get to the highway.
The rest of the journey to get to our hotel was an adrenaline pumping ride through packed streets and smog. A Vietnamese guy told me later that when he first came to Hanoi he couldn’t cross the street. Traffic moves slow but it rarely stops, even when there are lights. You go with the flow and just push forward without hesitation.
Jet lagged but excited, we started exploring the city on foot the next morning. The path around Hoàn Kiếm Lake was busy with local people, walking, running and dancing (mostly to western music from 80s). We found a street food stall and had Xoi xeo chi may (sticky rice with mung beans).
Later, we checked out a couple of places on our list: the prison and the literature museum. Both were worth the visit.