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fountainhall

Hi Chi Minh City Photos

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I had a 'senior moment' when typing the heading. Apart from the spelling mistake, it should read HANOI! (Ed. is there no way to alter mistakes made in headings?)

 

As posts more than a year old seem to have disappeared, I thought some might want to see some photos of Hanoi. I was there for a few days in June last year and enjoyed it hugely. I had a wonderful young gay guide (sadly, he was only interested in young Japanese guys :( ) who, whilst he did not go to many gay venues himself, happily pointed out two of the gay bars. And was equally happy for me to meet his young gay friends. I am told there are several saunas and bathhouses, although they are not exclusively gay.

 

I was really not so interested in nightlife, and so will leave that for others to report. I was more fascinated with seeing how the city has picked itself up after a century of French colonisation and 30 years of war with the French and the US. The first photos are of the infamous Hanoi Hilton and its guillotine where prisoners in the colonial era were kept in horrendous conditions. The 3rd last is of the simple house where Ho Chi Minh lived for most of his later life. The final one was taken at one of the famous Vietnam water puppet shows.

 

Hanoi's a hustling, bustling place that has retained some of its colonial influence and some of its traditional architecture and culture. It's a friendly place. If you walk by the inner city lake on a Sunday, you will see hordes of people of all ages enjoying themselves. Some younger ones were happy to chat a little. Getting around is easy and taxis are cheap - although you have to be sure to have small change with you.

 

The only drawback of early-June is the humidity - almost the worst I have experienced anywhere in Asia! For a future visit, I'll go in the Spring or Autumn.

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You really do take some great street photos...

 

Good camera or is it the man behind the camera? :p

 

Which quarter of the city did you stay in and do you recommend it/why? Any hotel recommendations?

 

Surely, if you took the effort to post such great content, the mod can be bothered to change the title for you to make it accurate. Ask...

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Good camera or is it the man behind the camera? :p

 

Surely, if you took the effort to post such great content, the mod can be bothered to change the title for you to make it accurate. Ask...

 

Good man behind the camera. My own photos are nowhere near as good -certainly not of the little street scenes.

 

I'm not sure if us "mods" can actually change the thread titles.

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Good camera or is it the man behind the camera?

Thanks - I am glad you like the pics. Not sure how to answer your question, though. The camera certainly helps, as the Sony I have has a 20x zoom and so you can take photos of people without their realising it. Asia settings help, as there are just so many fantastic sights. And I think weather also helps. I have just been in Moscow where the weather was lousy - rained the whole time, and so whilst some of the buildings' photos are good (I think) people had their heads down all the time! I'm back there for a couple of days next week and hope the sun will shine this time.

 

In Hanoi I got a good advance purchase deal at the Hilton near the old Opera House. The location is great, but some readers will prefer to stay in less expensive accommodation There are lots of good hotels in the US$50 range and there seemed plenty of taxis. Friends who stayed at the Hotel Charming 2 said it was excellent.

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Well, the man behind the camera's got to have something. The composition's great. I hope you post more photos. Suggest using Flickr or Photobucket instead of just attaching them to the site - your shots will come out better that way.

 

Thanks for hotel recommendations.

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Thanks to the eagle-eyed, and appropriately named Snapshot, having missed them when first posted, I am in complete agreement. Very good photos and excellent report.

 

I visited Hanoi a few years ago and I liked it a lot. I stayed at a cheap place called the Thien Tan Hotel - centrally located and within walking distance of the centre of town. I attach a copy of an email I've just dug out of the bowels of my PC. It's quite amusing looking back but it was sufficiently annoying at the time for me to complain.

 

 

To: The Manager,

Thien Tan Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam

 

"Dear Manager,

I stayed at your hotel for 8 nights recently, leaving on

the 27th March. As part of my bill I paid US$3 for a

bus to take me to the airport. I assumed this was the

one organised by Vietnam Airlines which runs every half

an hour. However, that morning one of your male employees,

the one who uses a motorcycle, took me to the stop for the

public bus. This fare to the airport, as you will know, is

only 2,500 dong, not $3. As you can imagine, I do not like to

be made a fool of. I cannot understand why, when I stay

8 nights as a guest in your hotel, and pay my bill in cash

on checking out, that your hotel cheats me in such a way.

Do you have some sort of explanation for this? Otherwise,

I would appreciate an apology. " :(

 

Yours sincerely,

Rogie

 

I am pleased to say an apology duly arrived! :)

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A $3 rip off is nothing.

 

I stayed in a hotel for 5 nights in Saigon (Mai Gia Huy)& settled my bill on the evening before departure (think it was $125, but might have been more).

On the departure day, they tried to charge me again. They had no record of me paying at the front or back desk. I fished out the receipt & showed it to the guy in the counter. The supervisor then demanded to see it, I said I've already shown it to your colleague and walked out with the ignorant little cow shouting at me to stop. That is no way to treat customers.

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Thank you. I was there in June 2010 and I the am sure the gay scene will have changed a bit. As I mentioned in the OP, I was not there for nightlife and so I'm sorry I cannot tell you much about it. My lovely gay guide showed me where one of the main gay bars is sited - near the Cathedral, I seem to recall. When that one closes, there is another very close by which then gets busy.

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Friends tell me at least two new gay bars have opened since then. But there are also gayish sections in some straight bars. There are 2 or 3 saunas where westerners will be admired. But any action is reserved for dark rooms. Best to use them to make contacts and meet up later.

My guide was very open about being gay. He was lovely to be with and introduced me to some of his gay friends, including one everyone called "Madame Nhu" - not my type but hilariously funny. He said the gay scene is small but active at the week-ends. Just walking around, especially around the large Hoan Kiem lake in the middle of the city (near the Opera House at one end and the Water Puppet Theatre at the other - you have to see a Water Puppet show!) can be cruisy. Again I was told there is one particular little street just by the lake where a lot of gays meet, but I did not visit it.


A lot of guys come from the countryside to work and Sunday seems to be their day off. You can see many just sitting or walking around the Lake, many with brothers or sisters. This is where half the city seems to come on a Sunday, some to have wedding photos taken.

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Many guys will smile at you. Most are darker skinned and some are probably gay, but they are shy and it's unlikely any will chat with you unless you make the first move. But the country boys will not be very experienced. Like all big cities, you have to be very careful that you don't meet up with someone who has 2 or 3 friends lurking around who might also turn up in your hotel asking for money.

 

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June was very hot and incredibly humid. Having lived in Asia for so long, humidity as a rule does not bother me. But if I was to return, I'd pick a different month!

Note that whilst gay sex is not illegal, prostitution is; and so if you are caught paying cash for sexual services you could find yourself in trouble. Be discreet!

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