Arriving in Hanoi I knew that I would be spending a bit of time here as it would be my home base for visiting a few other must sees in Vietnam (Halong Bay and Sapa). By this time I was a bit tired and longing for more nature rather than city. However my time in Hanoi deepened my understanding of the Vietnamese culture and allowed me to experience more local aspects.
Top Picks for Embracing the Culture...
Vietnamese Women’s Museum
A museum which focuses on three themes: Women in Family, Women in History, and Women’s Fashion as well as exhibits on contemporary social issues faced by women. Most interesting was a glimpse into the role of women in the defense of the nation.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Stroll around the lake located in the historical center and maybe be lucky enough to catch a sunset and this adorable man playing the banjo! Best for enjoying the scenery and watching local life.
A must see experience. Unlike other markets through out SEA these are full with a mixture of locals and tourists. Here you can find delicious street food, merchandise galore, and live music. The highlight for me was watching the children play organized traditional games next to the lake.
My last night my friend introduced me to traditional Desserts and the famous egg coffee.
I preferred the Fried Sesame Balls Dessert (Bánh Cam / Bánh Rán)
The egg coffee from Giang Cafe was delicious!
Ho Tay- West Lake
Along the shores some Buddhist temples can be found as well as many hip cafes. During the right season the lotus gardens are a must see. It is also known for apartment buildings that some of the city’s more affluent residents call home.
Bun Cha Huong Lien
I ended up here with two friends for the sole reason of this being the restaurant President Obama dined at and it really lived up to all the rave. Known for it’s bun cha—a traditional Hanoi dish that involves dropping vermicelli rice noodles, herbs, and sometimes spring rolls into a bowl of sweet yellow broth, along with charcoal-grilled pork patties and grilled pork slices. This was one of my favorite meals in all of my 5 weeks in Vietnam!
Western Food Cravings and a quiet space within the city...
Hanoi Social- delicious fresh food as well as vegetarian friendly. The veggie burger made with black beans was to die for- so much that I went three times!! What really makes this place is the atmosphere- a small rooftop garden oasis away from the hustle of the city.
See You At Lily’s
$7/night female dorm
Breakfast menu extensive- delicious banana french toast, along with other egg and baguette options, and yogurt & muesli
common area- cozy and great for chilling reading a book, writing, chatting; comfy bean bags!
the staff- welcoming with a smile, really interested to know their customers, ready to help at the drop of a hat, knowledgable, young and professional
A bit of a splurge but a lifelong reminder of this beautiful country....
My first tattoo at Hippie Tattoo