(PICTURE: Huyen with our two tour guides.)
I need to write a special thanks to our two tour guides Toan and Viet. Toan and Viet both are volunteer tour guides with the organization Hanoi Kids. Hanoi Kids is a very famous student organization which gives free tours to foreigners in exchange for the chance to practice English. Tra My, one of my favorite students, is a member of this organization and helped get us two tour guides for our day around Hanoi. Originally, Tra My was supposed to be one of our tour guides but she ended up having a final exam on the day of the tour. As much as I would have loved one of my students to lead the tour, our two other guides did a great job.
(PICTURE: Toan in action, telling us about Vietnamese kings and students.)
(PICTURE: Viet perfecting the tour guide point.)
The guides were quite informative and very funny. Toan immediately made a bond with Mark and Anthony who proceeded to corrupt him with false information about America. They told him facts like, "Everyone in America has a gun" and "We all have horses like cowboys." The three of them got along great all day and by that evening Mark and Anthony told me that Toan had facebook friended them (I think by the end of the trip they had at least 30 new Vietnamese facebook friends).
Huyen and I had thought about hiring a tour guide for the day but are really glad that we went with Hanoi Kids. I had a bunch of family members come up to me and say that they really enjoyed being lead around by students. Unlike with paid tour guides, you could tell that the students also loved being able to lead around foreigners.
So, if you're coming to Hanoi anytime soon, you might want to contact Hanoi Kids about giving you a tour! Here's their contact information:
Ms Loan -Tour operation Dept.
+84 972 518 680
Ms Hà Ngân - Tour operation Dept.
+84 166 503 4898
+ 84 972 880 551