Welcome to the next trip review where I will be sharing about my trip to Hanoi. I took a trip to Hanoi back in mid-July for a short weekend getaway, partially because I had forgotten to cancel a hotel booking. It is nice to be checking out another Vietnam city, I have visited both Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh city in the past, making this the 3rd Vietnam city that I have visited. Hanoi is the charming capital in the northern part of the country with most of the attractions in the old quarter with their colonial buildings.
Given the warm weather during the day, we need some transportation besides relying on our legs. For typical tourists, a ride share would be your best bet. Taxis are not recommended since there might be an issue communicating where you want to go as well as on the fare since dishonestly might be prevalent in this part of the world. The two major companies and apps that you can use here would be Grab and Go Jek. Prices are very affordable. This is a good and comfortable way to get around the city.
I just got roaming from my Starhub telco in Singapore. 5 SGD for 2 GB works perfect for my short stay in Vietnam and that is the easiest.
Most of the attractions in Hanoi are bounded to the Old Quarter and you can find most of them in this area. You can simply take a stroll around the quarter and have a feel of the vibe. I was there in the afternoon and you can see the locals all out having fun and enjoying their rest day. Here are some pictures.
Some of the places that you have to see would be the Hanoi Opera House which is built between 1901 and 1911 when it was built by the French. Next to it is the iconic Hilton hotel which will soon be rebranded into a Waldorf Astoria, perhaps that is when I will be back?
Hoan Kiem Lake! Another favourite spot for the locals to chill and rest during their off days.
Vietnam Post Office
St Joseph Cathedral! This place is nice for some pictures.
The Hanoi Train Street is another favourite of mine. I would recommend everyone to come here and spend some time. It is a rather lovely environment. There are plenty of cafes and shops on either side of the tracks. It is great to have some Vietnamese coffee and rest your legs. Good unique vibes. It somehow reminds me of Jiufen in Taiwan.
Orient Spa is the best place in Hanoi. They have a total of three outlets in town including one conveniently located near the old quarter. This is recommended by a fellow friend. If you are looking for a spa out of your hotel, Orient Spa is your answer. It is super affordable and I love it. You should just make an appointment every day. They are pretty popular so do make reservations ahead of coming down. You can do so via what’s app. 90 mins massage for 25 SGD! Having a massage every day is the itinerary!
Eating in Hanoi
Pho is the only thing that I like and the Hotel version is already good enough for me. I know I am going to get so many haters for saying this but that’s just how I felt. I love them with a squeeze of lime and chilli. Having a piping bowl of pho is extremely comforting especially in t the morning. Dip the dough sticks into the flavourful dough!
Bun Cha Huong Lien is another place that I visited during my stay in Vietnam. This is the famous place that is also known as the Obama restaurant. Bun Cha is a traditional Vietnamese dish consisting of grilled meat soak in a fish sauce flavoured sauce and rice noodles. I also had a seafood roll.
It was actually pretty good, I love how flavourful the meat is and it goes well with the bland rice noodles. I would recommend sharing it rather than getting a portion each. It can get quite oily and overwhelming easily. It is very affordable and cost less than 10 bucks.
It is nice to visit another city in Vietnam, which makes Hanoi the 3rd city that I visited. It is a good place for a night or two with a visit to Ha Long Bay. Sadly, the trip is too last minute and I didn’t manage to arrange for a trip to Ha Long Bay which is up my alley. I did feel that Hanoi is so different to HCM city, the vibes are different and the culture too. There is a huge ex-pat community of Koreans in the city and you can find plenty of supermarkets and restaurants selling Korean products. It is much quiet when compared to HCM. I would love to be back one day to visit both Sapa and Ha Long Bay. Vietnamese food however isn’t up my alley at all. They are either too fried and oily or too green and raw. Pho is the only thing that I like and the Hotel version is already good enough for me. Don’t scold me! With that, that is a quick getaway for me to Hanoi.
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