Friday, August 12, 2005

Hanoi - City Of Charm And Beauty

The Huc Bridge in Hanoi.
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
Hanoi vastly exceeded my rather vague expectations with its charm and beauty. There was a sense of history and a serenity there that Saigon definitely did not have. Hanoi is the historical and colonial capital of the country and has a mélange of architectural styles from the ancient Buddhist tradition to the French colonial influences to the Soviet-style brutalism. While the surrounding area has the typical sprawl of a developing nation, the city itself is orderly and well-kept.

The central city area surrounds Hoan Kiem Lake, which is ringed with park area and forms the hub of activity in the city. On an island in the lake is the Temple of the Jade Mound, which is accessed by the beautiful red arched Huc Bridge pictured here. This is one of the most beautiful pictures I took on the entire trip and judging by other photos on Flickr and the web in general, it’s tough to take a bad picture. I particularly like the reflection of the bridge in the water and the contrast between the red of the bridge and the green of heavily forested island.

It cost 3,000 dong (~$0.20) to go across the bridge, definitely a bargain. While I was there, the bridge was used by a wedding photographer and an endless stream of tourists. Definitely one of the most picturesque sights in all of Vietnam.

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