Overnight from Hong Kong to Hanoi – via Friendship Pass

Posted: June 10, 2012 in 2012 Summer - South East Asia, Vietnam

The ‘Friendship Pass’ is the gate you travel beneath from China’s Guangxi and Vietnam’s Lang Son Province.

Originally built in the early Ming dynasty with the name of Zhen Nan Guan (south suppressing pass.) In 1953 it’s name was changed to name was changed into Mu Nan Guan (south watching pass) and it’s name was changed again in 1963 to You Yi Guan  (friendship pass)

P.s. this is not my photo, but thank you http://www.traveljournals.net!

The actual border crossing was quite straight forward, minimal queues or hassel. However one thing to note though, the soldiers/border guards do seem to to lack any sense of humour. They fix onto you with an expressionless stare, their faces hiding any signs of emotions… Needless to say they did not react when I gave them a lovely big smile when they held up my passport to compare the photo with my face 😦

I am off to explore old Hanoi today, but first call is the train station to buy tickets for my train trip to Haiphong on the coast, which will cost the grand total of 2 pounds for the 2.5 hour journey. Sight seeing today will include:

  • The Old Quarter, near Hoan Kiem lake, which dates back to the beginning of the 20th century… 36 streets make up the original old quarter. Each street would of have hosted a particular trade, filled with merchants and households specialized in silk or jewellery. Few now remain but instead the historic buildings are filled with cafes, clothes shops and restaurants.
  • Colonial Hanoi – once the administrative centre for the French colony of Indochina  – French colonial architecture style became dominant. Several tree-lined boulevards like Phan Dinh Phung street and its buildings such as the Grand Opera House, State Bank of Vietnam (formerly The Bank of Indochina), Presidential Palace (formerly Palace of the Governor-General of French Indochina), Saint Jospeh Cathedral and Hotel Metropole.

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