Hanoi, Vietnam

Crazy, Fun, Hanoi.

If you’re traveling around Asia, don’t skip out on Hanoi. Hanoi is a crazy, loud, dynamic city. It’s a city where you think you will die trampled over by a motorbike. Don’t worry, you won’t. Don’t ask me how, but they manage to have very few accidents. I have never seen that many motorbikes in my life.

In Hanoi there is so much going on at once, you don’t know where to go and what to look at. Everything happens on the sidewalk: restaurants, shops, barbers, naps…you name it.

Street Barbershop Hanoi

Haircut on your way to work? Why not!

Nap on your bike? Why not!

It’s a city where you can walk around and never have a dull moment. We spent the day walking around the old quarter, the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Opera house and the hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole. This is the perfect city to just get lost in and enjoy.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Before going to Hanoi I read an article in The Guardian that said that if you only have few days, don’t stress about checking your checklist. Instead relax, walk around and soak in the dynamism of the city. That is exactly what we did and I highly recommend it as well.

A friend of mine gave us another great tip: to do a food tour. There are millions of them, it will depend on how much you want to pay and how many people you want on the tour. We did a tour only for the 2 of us. We both thought it was the best alternative. In this case, the less people the better. Our guide took us to different street food places and had us try different types of street food while telling us more about Vietnam.

We had:

Sticky Rice Hanoi

Sticky Rice Hanoi at Xoi Yen.

 

Egg Coffee Hanoi

Egg Coffee. This is very popular in Vietnam. The coffee has cream made from egg, condensed milk, coffee and egg. It’s very sweet.

 

Banh My. pork sandwich. It was so good I actually forgot to take a picture of it!!

Banh Khuc Hanoi

Banh Khuc: rice with pork & vegetables

 

Banh Trung Ran

Banh Trung Ran. It’s a traditional rice cake mixed with pork.

 

Hoa Qua Dam

Hoa Qua Dam: ice cream with fruit and condensed milk

The names of the restaurants have the name of their speciality and the name of the family. For example, Xoi Yen. Xoi = sticky rice and Yen = name of the family.

The night could not end without a few Vietnamese beers. There’s a corner that’s called Beer Corner and everyone hangs out drinking. It’s really fun because technically restaurants are not allowed to invade the sidewalks with their tables. They do it anyway so when the police pass by suddenly your seat is taken almost right from under you, your table disappears and you are left standing on the street with a beer and a plate of food in your hand. As soon as the police pass by, everything is brought back out and nothing happened.

Ending the night with a nice, cold beer.

At the end of our stay in Vietnam we spent another day in Hanoi and it was a Sunday. Sundays in Hanoi are the best because around the Hoan Kiem Lake, all the roads are closed to motorbikes and cars and left only for pedestrians. Everyone is out on the street playing games, walking around and enjoying the day. It was a great way to spend the day.

Another REALLY nice thing about Hanoi, is that if you go in winter, it’s a nice break from the really hot weather around south east Asia.

Travel Tips:

Hotel: La Beauté de Hanoi Hotel

Street Food:

  • Bánh Khúc Quân: rice with pork & vegetables
  • Giảng Cafe: egg coffee
  • Bánh Mì Bà Dần: pork sandwhich
  • Xôi Yến: sticky rice

 

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4 thoughts on “Crazy, Fun, Hanoi.

  1. jpietraczuk says:

    Thanks for the tips on the street food :). I also laughed at the story of disappearing chairs and tables – it didn’t happen to us so far :). Good luck with your travels and thanks for this short guide!

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