A Rainy Afternoon At Hanoi Soul Cafe

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, November 26, 2014 | Published in


There are many cafes in Hanoi, and one of the cafes I've been to is the Hanoi Soul Cafe.

Right after leaving Kim Ngan Temple in the Old Quarter, the sky had darkened considerably. Son, my tour guide from Hanoikids, quickly went in search for a cafe to escape from the impending rain.

He finally brought me to Hanoi Soul Cafe located at a ship-like building opposite the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake.

Crossing the road from Hang Gai Street to the building was quite a nightmare as there were far too many cars and motorbikes which would not stop for you to cross the road! Luckily Son was there to guide me. The trick is to just walk across the road in a steady manner and allow the cars and motorbikes to swerve around you as you walk.

I actually got the hang of it after some practice and could cross any road in Hanoi confidently during the rest of my trip. LOL!

The signboard of Hanoi Soul Cafe was displayed at the ground floor entrance of the building. By the way, I don't think the website exists. I wonder if they have a new website.

I followed Son up to the third floor and saw this signboard which leads us to the cafe.

I did not take any photo of the cafe inside. We decided to sit outside at the balcony to get a nice view of the busy streets below and also to enjoy the beautiful view of Hoan Kiem Lake.

I had a good time chit chatting with Son here and I particularly enjoyed the view while it rained outside.

I had earlier thought of ordering Vietnamese coffee but since my stomach was not feeling so good, I decided to go for coconut water instead. Son had a glass of smoothies.

We did not order any food. I guess we were still quite full after that delicious late lunch we had at New Day Restaurant at Ma May Street.

If I were to return to this cafe in the future, I would definitely order some food and Vietnamese coffee. And I would certainly go cafe hopping on my future trip to Hanoi!

By the time we left Hanoi Soul Cafe, the rain had already stopped. Son took me for some leisurely walk around Hoan Kiem Lake before showing me around the French Quarter. You can read all about it HERE.

Coming Up Next : My Kayaking Adventure At Halong Bay

My Visit To Kim Ngan Temple In Hanoi

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, November 21, 2014 | Published in


After visiting the Heritage House at Ma May Street, Son, my tour guide from Hanoikids brought me to visit Kim Ngan Temple located at Hang Bac Street.

On the way, I took a photo of this building. Notice the influence of French-style architecture? This type of building is prevalent in many parts of the Old Quarter, making the place a rather interesting sight.

 photo P1210034_zps794e1817.jpg

Each of the 36 guild streets in the Old Quarter is associated with a traditional craft and was originally named according to the merchandise on offer. Hang Bac, for example, is also known as Silver Street, as it is where gold and silver jewellery were made and traded.

 photo P1210037_zpsc0357ea2.jpg

It so happened that during my trip, the Old Quarter was celebrating a Jewellery Craft Festival, so when I stepped into Kim Ngan Temple, I saw gold plated lotus flowers and gold plated deities.

 photo P1210038_zps85fb8aa3.jpg

The gold plated lotus flowers.

 photo P1210039_zpse1f1ab03.jpg

A close shot at a lotus flower.

 photo P1210040_zps3cf14c3e.jpg

Gold plated deities.

 photo P1210041_zpsce2d6823.jpg

Built during the Le Dynasty at the end of the 15th century, the Kim Ngan Temple is now recognised as a national relic site in Hanoi.

 photo P1210042_zpsead080df.jpg

Below is a pictorial tour of the temple so I would just let the photos do the talking.

 photo P1210043_zpse5c4acf5.jpg

 photo P1210044_zpsf30fcb86.jpg

 photo P1210047_zpsc5b2ed84.jpg

 photo P1210049_zpsdb5cc0d2.jpg

I am not sure what does this horse signify. Anyone reading this knows?

 photo P1210050_zps2a2ce416.jpg

And there was what looked like a hen on top of the horse. What does it mean?

 photo P1210051_zps707b88c3.jpg

Some pretty impressive carvings and decorations in the temple.

 photo P1210052_zps7d1ef8f4.jpg

 photo P1210054_zpsd0b8783e.jpg

 photo P1210055_zps2334da2c.jpg

 photo P1210056_zps1b266d8b.jpg

 photo P1210058_zps43239e7b.jpg

The images of cranes standing on tortoises are common sight in Vietnamese temples. They symbolise longevity and happiness. It was a pity I could not take a front shot of the two cranes with the altar in the middle as something was blocking the view, so this would have to do.

 photo P1210059_zpsa90a61a5.jpg

 photo P1210060_zps6becd326.jpg

 photo P1210061_zps9d50908e.jpg

 photo P1210062_zps8e212191.jpg

 photo P1210063_zps97924bc1.jpg

In conjunction with the Jewellery Craft Festival, there was also a collection of ancient coins on display at the temple.

 photo P1210045_zpsc11df818.jpg

 photo P1210046_zps3d1bb23a.jpg

 photo P1210048_zps17b5baf6.jpg

When we stepped out of the temple, the sky had darkened considerably. Son and I quickly searched for a cafe to escape the rain and we ended up at Hanoi Soul Cafe, which I shall blog about next!

My Visit To Heritage House @ Ma May Street

Posted by : foongpc | Monday, November 3, 2014 | Published in


After our late lunch at New Day Restaurant, Son, my tour guide from Hanoikids brought me to Heritage House located at 87, Ma May Street.

 photo P1200992_zps8acc613d.jpg

It is actually just a short walk from the New Day Restaurant - in fact, almost directly opposite the restaurant!

 photo P1200993_zpsce908142.jpg

The Heritage House is some sort like a museum showcasing the architecture of a typical traditional house in the Old Quarter in Hanoi. These type of houses are known as "tube houses" as they have narrow facades (width) and long length.

Entrance fee to this Heritage House was 20,000 VND (US$0.95 / RM3.10).

 photo P1200996_zps92f9bed2.jpg

The above photo shows the front part of the house which usually acts as a shop in the olden days. It was dimly lit.

Then we came upon a small courtyard, which let in some light and allows good ventilation in the house.

 photo P1200994_zpsa00cd5fb.jpg

Not sure what were those green plants in the middle of the courtyard.

 photo P1200995_zpsf201a4f9.jpg

Walking past the courtyard, we entered a second section or building and here, there were many things on display, and also on sale. This part of the house was like a living area for the family in the olden days.

 photo P1210002_zps0c2f3b1a.jpg

 photo P1210009_zps42beadf2.jpg

 photo P1210011_zps4fcb2aaa.jpg

 photo P1210012_zps6aa7bdd0.jpg

Then, we reached a second courtyard that separates the living area from the kitchen. The bathrooms were located at the far end of the house.

 photo P1210005_zps6ecf561a.jpg

I think this is the kitchen area.

 photo P1210004_zpseedc8d23.jpg

Taking a photo of the door entrance into the living area from the second courtyard.

 photo P1210006_zps2a24b8f2.jpg

I noticed several birdcages hanging. This one had a bird in it. Was the bird for sale? I did not ask.

 photo P1210007_zps01aeed84.jpg

Walked back into the living area and snapped a photo of the lanterns hanging from the wooden ceiling.

 photo P1210013_zps89abc15d.jpg

Then, we walked up the stairs to the floor above. The building by the way is a two storey building.

 photo P1210020_zps5fbe5289.jpg

We entered the living room which was located in front facing the road and directly above the shop below.  Took some photos here.

 photo P1210018_zps59db5a90.jpg

 photo P1210019_zps069a7a4f.jpg

This is the first floor looking down at the courtyard below.

 photo P1210021_zpsf54b4ca9.jpg

Opposite is the bedrooms which is directly above the living area below.

 photo P1210024_zpse239817f.jpg

Saw a Chinese chess board game. Perhaps that's what the Vietnamese do in their free time in those days.

 photo P1210025_zps5700a4a7.jpg

This is the first floor area overlooking the second courtyard near the kitchen below.

 photo P1210028_zps2da6c14d.jpg

Took some pictures inside one of the bedrooms.

 photo P1210030_zpsb5689fc6.jpg

 photo P1210031_zpsffa78d80.jpg

Built in the end of the 19th century, this traditional house had since been restored and promoted as a Vietnam National Heritage.

 photo P1210033_zpse4e1ac0d.jpg

If you are a first timer to Hanoi, a visit to this Heritage House would be quite interesting as this type of house could only be found in Hanoi and in northern parts of Vietnam.