After Halong Bay, next stop was Hanoi! It took around 4 hours to reach Hanoi from Halong Bay. Hanoi has a great vibe and lots of windy streets to get lost in. We spent our first evening in Hanoi at ‘Snake Village’ for a ‘Snake Banquet’. I don’t think we quite knew what we were letting ourselves in for… We were served 7 different dishes (all snake) which were accompanied by a shot of snakes blood and a shot of snake bile (both mixed with a little rice wine). I was absolutely disgusted and couldn’t bring myself to do the shots, but left them in front of me (just in case – I didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t do it!) whilst I got more and more drunk on the super strong rice wine that my glass kept getting topped up with. After spending the first half of the meal just drinking rice wine and refusing to try anything at all, I was soon drunk enough to have a little taste. Some of the dishes weren’t too bad – one lucky person got to eat the heart (which was still beating on the plate..) and another found a snake penis in his dish (supposed to bring good luck and fertility if eaten!). Towards the end of the meal, I decided to do my shots, so that I could say I had done it. I soon regretted leaving it so long as the blood had thickened and had started to congeal.. GROSS!
EDIT: Obviously this was before I became vegan!!!
The following day we visited the Museum of Ethnology, a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. In the evening we went down to the theatre to watch a ‘Water Puppet Show’ which lasted 45 mins. It was a fun evening out, but rather strange.. It involves multiple puppets ‘dancing’ on water whilst a woman sings in Vietnamese in the background! Sorry for the terrible photos..
Hanoi was our last stop in Vietnam before heading to Laos and we didn’t have long there either. The tour was great for seeing a lot in a short amount of time, but I could easily spend three times as long in each of the places we visited. When I go back next year (2016), I will definitely be spending more time enjoying each destination!