Vietnam: Hanoi

April 2017

From London, it took us 16 hours to get to Hanoi, Vietnam, with a connecting flight in Bangkok.

First observations: there are way too many mopeds and motorcycles here, to the point of chaos. There are so many people walking left and right and cars everywhere, all rushing to get to their destinations. Cars in the middle of the road, cars about to collide on to you if the breaks weren’t stepped on time.

There are still so many places we’ve missed out on our visit here, like the Hanoi Opera House, Tran Quoc Pagoda and the Long Bien Bridge. Another reason to come back to Hanoi, however, some of the places we managed to visit are listed below.

Places To Go To:

  • Hoan Kiem Lake
    • Beautiful park and lake to walk around. People would be taking their morning runs here and groups doing yoga.
  • Ngoc Son Temple
    • Quick visit to the temple is more than enough to see this. You will see this temple at the end of the Hoan Kiem Lake.
  • Old Quarter
    • This is the best place to get lost in, left and right, filled with so many shops. Just wander around and see where the Old Quarter takes you.
  • Cot Co Tower
    • Beautiful museum with old war planes. It has a few areas with history about the wars in Vietnam.
  • One Pillar Pagoda
    • If you go to the One Pillar Pagoda, you will be presented with other places to go such as the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh and museums about this beloved revolutionary leader.

 

Places To Eat In:

  • Hanoi Social Club – Hipster cafe, great food, chilled out vibes. Perfect place to unwind from Hanoi’s chaotic city streets.
    • Address: 6 Ngõ Hội Vũ, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
  • 10 Ly Quoc Sur – you cant go to Vietnam without eating a lot of Pho.
  • Ngon Villa –  Highly recommended, for £20, we endulged on a 20+ course meal.
    • Address: 10 Tống Duy Tân, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
  • Bun Cha Ta – so if you have had way too much Pho in one day, switch it up with Bun Cha. Eating Bun Cha is an art. You are given a soup broth, some leaves, noodles, garlic and chilis. All separated from one another. The art and process of these ingredients are to put them all together and to mix it up to create your very own Bun Cha Ta. The soup has minced pork and pork crackling. This is by far my second favourite dish in Vietnam.
    • Address: 21 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
  • 49 Bat Dan – this is as local as it can get with eating Pho. Imagine a massive queue of locals getting their dinner in a quiet low lit street. Then being asked if you want beef or duck, and the meat just hanging off a hook near the prep area, ready to be cooked in boiling water. Then being sat down in a low stool and low table with strangers. After which if the queue is being held up by diners, a quick shout will see people hurrying up with their meal and giving space to continue the flow of diners. I had the time of my life, despite eating my food in less than 10 mins, deliciously quick. I enjoyed it. It opens your mind to the simplicity and minimal contentment. Plus, it costs only £2 for a big bowl of Pho. By far, my favourite Pho place in Hanoi.
    • Address: 49 Bát Đàn, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
  • Duong’s Restaurant & Cooking Class – this is quite an experience. All of the food we ordered tastes so good. We even created our own fresh spring rolls! This is probaly not the most cheapest restaurant we’ve dined in, but the price for the food is definitely worth it.
    • Address: 27 Ngõ Huyện, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
  • Giang Cafe – you cannot leave Hanoi without having the legendary egg coffee. It’s not enough that Vietnamese condensed coffee is the best thing ever, the Vietnamese have created their own style of coffee using egg yolks. This cafe isn’t easy to find as its quite squished in with other cafes stating they also sell Egg Coffee. But this is the birthplace of the egg coffee, the original, with the original, you cannot go wrong.
    • Address: 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

 

Quick Tips:

  • Currency: Vietnamese Dong
    • £1 = 31,000 Dong
  • Download offline Google Maps of Hanoi, it will make going around the city more efficient. However, its not a bad thing to get lost in the alleys of Hanoi, there are so many hidden gems in this city.
  • With Google Maps downloaded, if you’re really up for it, walk! Walk everywhere in Hanoi. We just walked everywhere in Hanoi. From our hotel near Phan Chu Trinh, we walked all the way to Cot Co Tower, which took 35 minutes or so. Taxis are quite cheap in Hanoi, but its best to see the city by foot.
  • If you have quite a sensitive stomach like me, I would recommend you bring your own water bottle and everyday fill it up with bottled water.
  • Get some massage time booked in one of the spas in Hanoi. Massages are so cheap here. We went to Mido Spa (26 Hàng Mành, Hàng Gai, Hà Nội, 10000, Vietnam). I even got my nails done for £5.
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