HaNoi. The Vietnamese metropolis has been one of the most favourite travel destinations in Southeast Asia. It continues to draw tourists from around the globe because of attractive and charming reasons that the city and the country have to offer. Old yet striking architecture, traditional cuisine, vibrant however relaxed lifestyle, inviting natural resources, cheap and affordable street food and souvenirs, and the list goes on.
After my recent homecoming to the Philippines, I opted to visit Hanoi en route to Dubai where I am currently based, as I have not been to Vietnam. In retrospect, I’m glad I made the decision as my experiences in Hanoi were all pleasant and memorable!
Despite Hanoi is one of the most touristy cities that I’ve ever been to, I didn’t mind when I roamed around with so much other people from various countries. Hanoi, itself seems like me in the sense that, it doesn’t give a damn whether it’s labeled as touristy or otherwise (as for me, I don’t have a problem being called a tourist while traveling, because I am). For as long as the destination offers me something unique, something pretty, something priceless, something local, then no one should dictate how I’d eat Bun Cha or drink my egg coffee in Vietnam.
The world wide web and the bookstores around have enough travel guides about Hanoi. And so, here’s my very personal travel visual diary as always, that details how I indulged in the Vietnamese capital for the first time.
Please enjoy my
50 Reasons to Fall in Love with Hanoi and Halong Bay, Vietnam
and let me know of what you think.
1. The Old Quarter. The place to be in Hanoi for food, old architecture, meeting people.
2. Coffee culture. To simply put it – coffee is life in Hanoi! I love the chill and cool vibe!
3. Motorcycles are king of the road. Chaotic, however they define the city.
4. Cyclos must be the queen, or at least, second best to motorcycles.
5. Beer is cheap in Hanoi. I’m not alcoholic however, I taste local drinks all the time!
6. Rooftop bars, restaurants. Never leave your appetite, Vietnamese cuisine is to die for!
7. And the panoramic view or skyline? A quaint visual feast!
8. It’s a touristy place, yet it’s part and parcel of being Hanoi. Accept it and you’ll love it!
9. Pho. What’s a visit to Vietnam without tasting Vietnamese soup?
10. Cong Caphe. Best coffee shop ever in Vietnam in my books. Go figure!
11. Industrious women. Female Vietnamese street merchants prove they’re not lazy race.
12. Street life is life in Hanoi. Modest and unpretentious.
13. Street food. Lots to choose from! Spring rolls, noodles, soup, Asian food at its best!
14. Eating on streets. Very Vietnamese! Flex your knees on those monoblocks and eat!
15. Bun Cha! Grilled pork and noodle, leaves and dipping sauce. MY FAVOURITE!
16. Egg coffee from Giang. Creamy and tasty hidden gem literally in Hanoi Old Quarter.
17. Hoan Kiem Lake. Focal point of public life in Hanoi. Never miss it!
18.Paper crafts. Street arts! Lots of them!
19. Relaxed lifestyle. Hoan Kiem Lake is always inviting to while away time. Never resist.
20. The Huc Bridge in Hoan Kiem Lake. Iconic as the lake and as the city.
21. Vietnamese souvenirs. Cheap, pretty, fascinating.
22. Kids at Temple of Literature (first Vietnam National University). Seriously inspiring!
23. Money matters. You’ll become instant millionaire in Vietnam!
24. Inspiring devotion. Despite their chaotic streets, Vietnamese’s faith is inspiring.
25. Fried Spring Rolls.
26. Fresh Spring Rolls.
27. Dong Xuan Public Market. It’s a must visit for cheap and good finds.
28. French Quarter. Although I favor Old Quarter more, it shouldn’t be missed.
29. Hanoi Opera House. One of the legacies of French colonial era in early 20th century.
30. Clam Soup (and Fried Spring Rolls). OMG, I miss having this after I relocated to Dubai.
31.(The exteriors of) Saint Joseph Cathedral. Imposing in Hoàn Kiếm District.
32. The interiors of Saint Joseph’s Cathedral. It exudes peace and calmness.
33. More street foods! More fun!
34. Fresh produce sold on the streets. Very Southeast Asia and I love it!
35. Inviting and charming restaurants like Highway 4 located in Old Quarter.
36. Vivacious Vietnamese.
37. Vibrant night life at Hanoi Old Quarter. Bars, night markets, coffee shops, the works!
38. Halong Bay. 4 hour-trip from pre-arranged Day Tour by hotel in Hanoi = Halong Bay.
39. Boats at Halong Bay.
40. Emerald green waters of Halong Bay.
41. Fishermen’s water village in Halong Bay.
42. Over a thousand islands and you spotted a familiar one.
43. Stalactites and stalagmites in caves in Halong Bay.
44. Boat men and women who paddle the bamboo boats in Halong Bay.
45. Kayaking in Halong Bay.
46. Freshly cooked seafood dishes in boat tour in Halong Bay.
47. Mung Bean cakes. Uniquely Vietnamese sweet treats.
48. Turtle Pagoda in Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi.
49. Train and homes along the rail tracks at Old Quarter, Hanoi.
50. Vietnamese songs and music.
My loyal travel buddy, @GeloTheBear in Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Cảm ơn bạn (Thank you), Ha Noi, Viet Nam! -Hugs, @iamdocgelo
Details of my trip to Hanoi :
- Travel Duration : from 12MN of November 5 to 12MN of November 8, 2017, total of 4D3N.
- Accommodation : Paid Hanoi Graceful Hotel, located at Old Quarter.
- Brief review of hotel : Quality service, hearty breakfast included on the package, clean room.
- Day Tour to Halong Bay : 50USD per pax, including transportation, Huge ferry boat at Halong Bay, bamboo boat ride/kayaking, lunch (excluding drinks), pre-arranged by the hotel
- Brief review of Day Tour to Halong Bay : Lively and informative tour guide, clean and huge tourist bus, punctual and on the dot of schedule. Good food on the boat, fantastic and restful experience on the deck of the boat.
- Hanoi has its own charm, despite with chaotic streets because of thousands of motorbikes and cycles however, food, coffee, culture, tradition are enough reasons to revisit someday! I’m craving for Bun Cha now!!!
Have you been to Hanoi? How’s your experience?