So this city is crazy. We thought Thailand had crazy traffic, well it has nothing on Vietnam. It is chaotic. When you are crossing the road you basically have to just step out and start walking and just pray you won’t get knocked down. The scooters will just zoom around you. It can be very daunting at first but once you get the hang of it, you will be grand.
We decided to travel from North to South. Whereas many people travel the other way around. Not that it makes much difference, but if you where a solo traveller looking to join a few people along the way perhaps it would be better to travel from Ho Chi Min (formally Saigon) to Hanoi. Another thing I would definitely recommend and is something I have added to the bucket list is to buy a motorcycle (which isn’t hard, so many traveller sell theres on after they are done) and drive the length of the country. That way you see so much more of the country and man some of the views we seen driving from place to place were incredible. I was itching to get off the bus and snap some photos. But if you got the guts for it, then this is something you should defiantly do!
For getting around Hanoi, I would defiantly recommend Uber over getting taxis. It was so handy and fares where always around 1-2 dollars.
Where we stayed:
The Backpackers hostel- Now there are three different hostels under this name. There is the backpackers downtown, which is the massive party hostel where the entire bottom floor is a massive bar. This hostel also runs the infamous Castaway tour to Halong Bay. The other two are the backpacker hostel original and old quarter. They are both the same in terms of layout and how social they are. Both have sky bars. They are party hostels as well but wouldn’t be as crazy as the downtown hostel. We ended up going on the pub crawl with this hostel and it was just mental. All hostels are conventionally located in Hanoi old town, which is rich in culture and has great nightlife. We stayed in the Old quarter hostel, it was clean and the breakfast was good. I would defiantly recommend staying in any of these hostels if you are looking to have a good time.
Things we did:
Hanoi Old Town- The hostel offers a free walking tour every morning. I would defiantly recommend going on it. You get brought around to most of the key sights in the old quarter. This includes Turtle lake, the cathedral and various other places. They bring you all around Hanoi old town and give you a brief history. You get to know the area which makes it easier on you later when you wander around the town yourself. You also get taken to this really old school vietnams coffee shop where you have the opportunity to try egg coffee. A specialty in Vietnam. Sounds disgusting yes but it is actually very nice. It is kinda tastes like a desert. So make sure to try it if you have the chance.
The Women’s Museum- I really enjoyed this museum. It went through all the vietnamese customs for women and the history of women in vietnam. It was very interesting to read all about how they lived. The most interesting part about the museum though was deffenitly the section on the women’s involvement in the war. These women where bad ass MFs. To read about everything they did was pretty impressive. Would highly recommend visiting for that section alone. It was pretty inexpensive to at 30,000 dong.
Ho chi Min memorial– If you don’t know who Ho chi Min is then perhaps you better read up on him before you go. He is pretty much loved by everyone, most people referring to him as uncle Ho. He was the president and was a major general in the war. He is also on all the Vietnamese bills. So yeah he is a pretty big deal! Anyways he was preserved when he died and is kept in this memorial. People queue for hours just to visit him. We didn’t fancy queueing for hours to see him, so we just went to visit the memorial. Also, around the memorial is the presidents house, which is painted a horrid mustard color.
Halong Bay- This is an obvious port of call for everyone who visits Hanoi. It is easy to see why as it is breathtaking. Halong bay is basically 2000 different little islands poking out of the ocean. It is easy to see why it is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We went to the hostel for three days two nights. Which cost around $139. I would defiantly recommend going for that long as it takes a good while to get out to the bays itself. For the first night, we stayed on the boat and the second night we stayed on their private island in the bay which was amazing. Definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip.
Thats it for my guided on what we done in Hanoi. I have no places to eat with this one as for the first few places in Vietnam I did not recored where we ate and ultimately forgot about them. We did eat in some very good places but I cannot remember the names. Street food is very common again in Vietnam. We tried the famous Banh mi Sandwich from Banh Mi 25 which is a famous street stall. I got the veggie option which I did not really like. Everyone else you went for the meat option where very impressed.
Till next time,