HANOI CITY GUIDE
Visiting Vietnam's capital city of Hanoi? We did too and we loved it. Check out our Hanoi city guide to help you get the best of your time here.
Explore the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is now, and has always been, the beating heart of Hanoi. Tens of thousands of people used to live and work in this district with each street specialising in a particular trade or type of manufacturing. These days you'll find less factories and offices, but instead hundreds of hotels, bars, cafes, restaurants and shops surrounding the large lake in the centre. The area is a hotspot for families, couples and travellers all hanging out and enjoying the atmosphere.
Take in a water puppet show
Really? I hear you ask. Yes, really! The tradition of water puppetry in Vietnam stretches back as far as the 11th century and the performance is a wonderful way to enjoy traditional Vietnamese music, art and culture. The art originated in the villages of the north where the puppeteers would stand in the waist deep waters of the rice paddies and perform for local children. There are many shows through Hanoi and Vietnam but the most popular is Thang Long Theatre. Tickets start from 100K VND (£3.33).
Get a permanent souvenir
Many travellers return from their South East Asia travels with a new tattoo or two. We are no different, we feel there is no better way to commemorate an occasion than to add to a little piece to your body. The team at Silver Ant tattoo studio are the most talented in the whole city. Their artists are experienced, creative and friendly and the studio is super modern and hygienic. We're super happy with what they did for us. Head over to their IG or website to make a booking.
Learn the history
Vietnam is a country steeped in culture, traditions and history, a lot of which is very sad and still fresh in the memory of the some of the country's older residence. The people are very proud and respectful and we feel it is very important to understand what this nation has been through. There are many significant sites across the whole country but within the city the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and the Imperial Citadel are amongst our favourites.
Take the cliche pic
Regulars on IG, curious travellers, and even your father's dog will be familiar with the notorious picture of the market set up on the train tracks. A few times a day, as the train approaches, everybody rushes to clear their goods out the way before the train passes through and, in the blink of an eye, everything is set back up again. We won't lie, it is a bit of gimmick. There's not so much of a market there anymore, it's mostly cafes set up along the tracks for tourists but it's still worth a visit.
Indulge in the cuisine
There are many ways to enjoy the food in Hanoi. Street food tours are a fun way to see the city, meet new people and, of course, try lots of tasty food. If you fancy something a little more hands on then you my want to try your hand at a cooking course. It's a great way to learn a few tricks to add to your cooking back home. Finally, there's the DIY option. Street food is everywhere so you'll have no trouble filling your stomach.
HIt up beer street
No prizes for guessing what this is, the clue is in the name. This is Hanoi's equivalent to Khao San Road where you'll find thousands of locals and tourists crammed into the dozens of bars and spilld out all over the streets. All the bars will have reps in the road trying to entice you in with offers and discounts.
Ha Long Bay
Not many visitors go to Hanoi without taking a trip to the famous Ha Long Bay. There is a lot of information to share here so we'll be creating a separate article and will post the link here once its ready.
Rent a bike
The shape of Vietnam makes it perfect for renting a bike and heading out on your own adventures. In fact, it is one of the most popular ways to explore Vietnam. There are many companies which will transport your big luggage to wherever you want to go, leaving you free to take a bike and head off on a journey you'll remember for a lifetime.