If you want to see a video of what to do in Hanoi click here
July 4th, 2019
The plan was to take the city bus into the old quarter which seemed easy enough. Figuring out which bus to take was pretty easy but I didn't exchange enough cash so I had to go back and get more. At at that point it was hot, I was starting to sweat and didn't really want to walk through the city so I took a taxi. If you do the same make sure you take a smaller car since SUVs are more expensive! You can also negotiate price.
Once I checked in I walked around and looked at some of the shops. There are so many to go through and it was never ending. They all had similar stuff but some were definitely cheaper than others.
I then went to Banh Mi Pho and got a some banh mi sandwiches for dinner before heading home to go to bed.
July 5th, 2019
The day started by wandering back through the old quarter to find some Asia pants. Not surprisingly that isn't a local thing and is for sure just touristy thing.
Next stop was egg coffee at Cafe Nang. The place is cool, with creative seating, and tasty egg coffee!
Near by was the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural. It is on the side of a busy road but has mosaic tile running up and down which is pretty cool.
We made our way back through the city and stopped by the Bach Ma Temple but weren’t able to make it in because I was rockin’ a tank top (See picture above ).
Right in the middle of the Old Quarter is Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. There is a fee to enter and they do have a dress code but they provide cover ups for the women if needed.
We then walked around the lake and ran into two girls who were practicing English. Naturally, we were waiting for the scam or them to ask for money but it never happened they really just wanted to chat. For lunch we made it over to Thuy Ta Cafe which was right on the water which was awesome! The food was alright and on the pricey side but we were just hungry and it looked good enough.
We continued popping in and out of shops before making it back to our Airbnb. We got ready and headed back out to check out the water puppet show. The whole thing was real interesting and had no idea what was going on but apparently it was a thing.
After that we got bun cha at Bun Cha Ta Hanoi which was a cool experience and was good food. They'll make you take your shoes off and have step down table. We ended the night on the rooftop of the Red Bean which was a fancy place but with an awesome view of the Old Quarter.
July 6th, 2019
We tried to find a breakfast place before our day trip to Ha Long Bay but weren’t having the best of luck so we went back to Banh Mi Pho for a sandwich. After that we went to the meeting spot to be picked up for our tour.
The tour was a 4 hour long bus ride each way. But when we got there we were able to hop on a boat, get lunch, check out Sung Sot Cave, kayak, and cruise around. The overall experience was awesome!
July 7th, 2019
We started the morning checking out train street and stopped at Choo Choo Coffee to get more egg coffee!
We hadn’t had pho yet and needed to so we stopped by a couple places but either they weren’t open or the meat sketched us out. We stopped at Phuc Long to try and get something in the meantime which was a croissant but there was jelly inside and was toasted so I have no idea what it was
The hunt ended at My Pho since it looked like a nice kitchen with the same price as some of the other places. I'd for sure recommend it!
When they wandered by the Citdal, Temple of Literature, and there was this little market nearby. We couldn’t stay long but eventually grabbed a car to make it back to the airport.
Getting Around: 8/10
This will depend on where you stay in the city. I stayed in the Old Quarter which was easy to walk but you can also use Grab to catch a car or motorbike to get around. I was there in the summer so it was pretty hot and humid which you'll need to be prepared for. And, obviously the streets are hectic with all the motorbikes.
Basically, the Old Quarter is very walkable but in the summer it will be hot, humid, and motorbikes cruising all around you.
If you are trying to get to the actual city and more downtown area I don't have much experience there.
Things to do: 7/10
The city provides several things to do that are unique like temples, a mosaic mural, the water puppet show, and more. There is also your classic stuff like museums, restaurants, and shopping. The main reason I wanted to go to Hanoi was because of it's proximity to Ha Long Bay but was happy with the other options of things to do there.
This rating may seem low because I enjoyed everything we had in Hanoi. The banh mi, bun cha, and pho were all great. There just wasn't a lot of diversity in options or we had difficulty finding breakfast place. Some restaurants also had meat left outside under heat lamps, which is common, but wasn't something we wanted to get into. The egg coffee was something that was unique and tasty!
The main reason I went to Hanoi was to check out Ha Long Bay and thought it was totally worth it. We stayed pretty busy exploring the city and were able to track down some good local food. The city is walkable which makes it easy to get around.
Although I enjoyed my time in Hanoi I was ready to go when it was time. The city was hot, humid, and hectic with all the motorbikes cruising by.
If you want to see where Hanoi ranks against other places I've gone that is here.
Non-Obvious Hanoi Recommendations:
What To Bring
See what I bring on all my trips here!
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Things To Do
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HELLO AND WELCOME!
I'm Jake, a dude interested in personal finance and travel creating the life I choose.
In 5 years I went from living in a basement with Craigslist roommates to paying off 90k of debt, backpacking 3 continents, getting a house for myself and 5 rental units.
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