Vietnam, one of the Asian Tiger economies!
Hanoi is the largest city in the north of the country and has undergone many changes in the last ten years. If you drive from the airport you will be using a brand new highway guiding the traffic flow right into the city centre. You will see massive advertising bill boards warning the visitors that Hanoi changed from being a regional city into an international one.
Hanoi still owns an old city center. Narrow streets are packed with small shops where each street is showing its own profession. The one street is full of shops with ladders, the other one with plumbing materials. One street only offers wooden furniture, in another one black smiths rule the place.
Through the whole city the motor cycles are creating a disturbing noise. Of course it's the Vietnamese main mode of transport, but it seems so difficult to escape from the noise!
During my last visit (in 2008) I luckily discovered this one place of tranquillity within this hectic city:
The Temple of Literature
I visited the temple before in 1999 and luckily it had not changed a bit!
A bit of history on the place: The Temple of Literature is a Temple of Confucius and was founded in 1070. In 1076 the first Vietnamese university was established within the temple and functioned for more than 700 years. The temple consists of five courtyards, the first two are peaceful havens of ancient trees. The complex has undergone much restoration work, most recently in 1920 and 1954.
I have to be honest. To me the actual temple was not the most impressive. It was the surrounding temple grounds and courtyards that appealed to me. Wandering the grounds you could hear the motorcycles outside its borders, but these sounds seem to be dampened by the beauty of this place.
To me the Temple of Literature is Hanoi’s hidden gem…for sure.
Travel tip shared by VandenBoomen