My weekend was robbed with classes , assignments and exam preps . So I am going to take this Monday to reminisce that day, that I fell totally in love with the chaoticness of Hanoi.And how grateful I am ,to have done with Tigress.
As we drove into the Old Quarter after nearly a 45 minute slow drive from the airport ( and needing to deal with Tigress conversing in Vietnamese with the grab driver using google translate – She needed to know the exact time of sunrise !! ) ……….I almost immediately knew this was going to be a gem of a city.
There was so much chaos , traffic was crazy , people everywhere, cute little cafes with tacky looking florists. .My kind of amazing.
First things first ,
The only way to do it is the hanoi street food tour . We started at 6:30 pm and it was go go go till 3.5 hours later. Tired and food comatosed!
It was 20 USD / per person for a 3 hour walk that by the end of the nite , we felt like we had eaten for three.There were 6 of us on the tour , few with certain dietary restrictions ( they accomodate to vegetarians as well) . Our guide was POTATO , super cute , accomodated all of us and gave us good training on how to deal with the death-defying traffic using her “mango sticky rice” manouvres.
These were what we had .And loved every single on of it. My favourite being the coconut ice cream and the most intriguing one is the egg coffee. ( You most certainly need to try it , its love)
Chairs meant for kids ,but those were the only ones available .
Our group of 6
more tiny stools
World ‘s best dessert – directly opposite KIM s tours ( Hanoi street food tour office)
Egg coffee – truly love at first
2 . You must stay at the Old Quarter – we stayed at Essence Hanoi Hotel & Spa
In the middle of chaos.Lots of shops , massages , bars, cafes , shops ,traffic , people , nail spas , everything.But the beauty of this hotel , that probably sets it apart is the staff. They go all out to please you with everything.
3.The prettiest church
4.Hoan Kiem Lake and the Temple of the Jade Mountain
Really pretty at night. Supposedly nicer at sunrise , but we never woke up early enough. Only managed the sun , when it was so bright , to a point we were sweaty and yucky.
5.Coffee .Vietnamese coffee is second to none. Thick , sweet and luscious.
Also , managed the “crazy rich asian” type coffee – Luwak.While Tigress couldnt take the idea of drinking poop , I let my esophagus drown in it.
6.Hanoi train street
As silly as it sounds, this is a must experience.We didnt manage to do it in the day, which I am 100% sure would have been a better experience but the train at dark was just as fun.So , this train actually passes through an extremely narrow lane in between two shop houses.It was an inch from where we stood.Surreal , although this was what we probably took for granted in Kassipillay .
So the train passes at about 3:30 pm and the other about 7:30 pm. The day we were there , it passed by at 7 pm. You get dropped off here – Ngo 224 Le Duan and then walk along ( NOT on ) the tracks till you reach the Hanoi train track cafe . Instead of waiting aimlessly, you can opt to have a drink and the kind owner usually alerts you once she “smells” the train coming.
7.One pillar pagoda
If you re feeling holy , there s this cute little pagoda about 15 minutes from the Old quarter , where you can spend an hour praying and wandering around. It was filled with locals genuinely praying and the rest of us playing tourist.