Hanoi – the capital and second biggest city in Vietnam, racing to make up for time lost during the war. Endless layers of history – Frenchy cathedrals, villas and boulevards; Chinese pagodas and temples; hectic and always busy Old Quarter; Modern architecture giving a way to skyscrapers. Give the way to scooters!
How to get here?
Hanoi is in the north of Vietnam and the bets way to het here is by plain. If you are traveling inside Vietnam, you also might arrive there by train, bus or probably even scooter or motorcycle.
Noi Bai International Airport
Nội Bài International Airport is one of the newest airports in Asia, with Terminal 2 opened in 2015. Every year new flights are added and new destinations founded in this airport, so it’s easy accessible from any point of the world.
There are special airport taxi, that will cost you 200 000 VND (10 eur). It will take ou to the city centre in around 30 minutes. Public bus no. 17 will take you to Long Bien bus station for 0.3 eur in 1 hour. Or go grab Uber.
Hanoi city is fully loaded with various inexpensive hostels or hotels. You will probably want to stick around Hoan Kiem lake, somewhere near Old Quarter. Tip – do not to choose the main streets of Old Quarter if you have issues with falling asleep when disturbed by noise.
Dorm room in good quality hostel should cost you 4-7 eur per person, meanwhile double room might cost You 20-30 eur per night.
Our Choice: Chien hostel near St. Joseph Cathedral was excellent by it’s location and crazy free beer offer. Price is 5 eur per night in mixed dorm room with shared bathroom.
Stroll in Old Quarter, go around Hoan Kiem lake and then go get lost as you will need to eat your way through the city and it’s streets or back-alleys.
On your way you will see:
Old Quarter – in the north of the lake this district is full of shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and…. surprise surprise…. scooters! Find a bar or coffee shop that has few floors above, sit in their terrace and watch the street – hypnotising how all these scooters and pedestrians are moving and crossing the street through each other.
Hoa Lo Prison Museum – it’s a bit lighter version of War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh. So if You like a bit of history, then You can spend nearly an hour there.
Streets of French villas – if you will by any chance take a walk from Old quarter to the Truc Bach lake by Hoan Hoa street, you will find lots of French villas in a long alley.
Ho Chi Minh memorial – massive and solemn – complex of memorial garden, mausoleum and museum in one huge square.
And lot’s of temples, pagodas, little shops, street food. We are not too much into visiting all the museums. We usually spend our money on food.
Alternate day trips: Halong Bay tour.
Eating and drinking
Rules for eating and drinking are the same as in Ho Chi Minh City.
What to try?
x Pho soup – the best dish for an excellent start of the day
x BBQ hot pot – frying meat by yourself
x Bun cha – lots of veggies, fat pork and some noodles with hot sauce
x Hanoi’s coffee with condensed milk – very sweet but good to try
x Bia Hoi – very cheap local beer
What else we did there?
Well, we had only 2 days there, but we left with most beautiful memories. First of all we met our friend Linas there. Yup, 3 Lithuanians randomly meet in Hanoi, why not? Our meeting pint was – Hoa Lo prison.
We spend the rest of the day walking, eating Bun Cha, drinking beer and talking about our trips. After a decent power nap we went out for some night life (let me remind you that it was Monday). I lost the number of bars we have visited, but we went to a club, we had free drinks, we went to an underground club and ended up buying tooth paste in the super market.
Next day was our last day in Hanoi, as we had our flight to Philippines late at night. Of course after heavy Monday we had some issues waking up earlier, so we managed to meet for lunch (dear Pho, you were the saviour of the day). And Linas gave as best present – he invited us for dinner with local family!
No, he doesn’t know them personally, but he works at With locals, that are doing this awesome stuff! The evening couldn’t go better. After walking to the house of the family for 2 hours (we had some time so we decided we can walk there), we were rewarded with countless number of dishes and lovely talk with family, and their daughter played piano! And this dinner is worth whole article, so we will get back to that right away!
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