Hanoi is the buzzing capital of Vietnam. The Old Quarter’s narrow streets are filled with scooters and traders selling fruit, souvenirs and delicious food. Pull up a tiny plastic chair, dive into a bowl of spicy noodles and soak it all in.
FINDING YOUR WAY
The old Hanoi is contained within four districts: Hoàn Kiếm, Ba Đình, Hai Bà Trưng and Đống Đa. Hoàn Kiếm is the most explored as this includes The Old Quarter, whose 36 narrow streets are loosely categorised by what they sell – such as paper, shoes, clothes, tin goods. There is no better way to see it than to wonder on foot.
The newer parts of the city Western districts Cau Giay, Thanh Xuan, Ha Dong and Nam Tu Liem are attracting increasing amounts of western brands up to top designer stores. However, you’ll always know you’re in Vietnam because the streets full of scooters. When crossing the road here you can’t depend on traffic lights. Just have to walk slowly and the traffic will weave around you.
Explore The Old Quarter
As mentioned, there is no better way to see The Old Quarter than to wonder around.
Hoan Kiem Lake & Jade Island
Central feature of Hanoi. Ngoc Son Temple sits on a small island in the centre of the lake and linked by a bridge. A perfect photo spot
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
‘Uncle Ho’s’ final resting place
Temple of Literature
Temple complex spanning back 1000 years filled with ornate pavilions, shrines and a rich garden
Vietnamese Women’s Museum
FOOD & DRINK
Northern dishes take influence from China. Vinegar is used to add sourness rather than tamarind used in southern cooking
Start with this street food classic, barbecued pork with thin vermicelli rice noodles.
The noodle soup that everyone raves about when they visit Vietnam. Flat rice noodles.
PLACES TO EAT
The Old Quater
A chain found in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, offering a great selection of cakes, pastries and light meals. Try the Chicken and Mango salad.
Luxury Backpackers Hotel is beautiful. Choose from doubles, family rooms or 10 bed dorms. Dorms have curtains across each bed for privacy.
May De Ville Packpackers Hostel. This hotel turned hostel is a great location in the Old Quater.
Noi Bai International Airport is roughly a 45 minute drive into the city by taxi $20. You can also arrange transfers with your hotel or hostel.
Public buses take a lot longer and you should expect the journey to take about 90 minutes.
There are fewer direct flights than Ho Chi Minh City but it is possible to fly direct from London with Vietnam Airlines. There are plenty of indirect flights to Hanoi via Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore as well as the UAE.
The railway from Hanoi to HCMC operates four trains with daily departures. Journeys takes between 33 to 36 hours but there are places to stop along the way. Catch the train to the beautiful city of Hue to explore the Citadel and Imperial Enclosure.
Tickets can be purchased through travel agents and your hotel or hostel. Choose from hard or soft seats.
Visited December 2016
Little Amy Tours @littleamytours