As the capital of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city, Hanoi has a rich history that dates back to 1010 (the city celebrated it’s millennium in October 2010). We arrived in Hanoi on February 9th, and quickly noticed how different the city is compared to those we had visited in Thailand (Chiang Mai and Pai).
Staying in Hanoi’s Old Quarter
With many shops and attractions, including Lake Hoan Kiem and the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, the Old Quarter is the main tourist destination in Hanoi. We chose to stay here for four nights and ended up spending most of our time wandering the streets to take in the different sights and sounds.
Exploring the Streets of Hanoi
It seemed like every turn we took in Hanoi led us to something we hadn’t seen before. Whether it was the many motorbikes flooding the main streets or a vendor selling goods from the back of a bicycle, there was always something to see in Hanoi.
If you walk around long enough, you will eventually find someone burning money (strangely the US dollar) on the side of the street. Don’t get offended! The Vietnamese burn fake money to send to their ancestors in the afterlife. You will also see tons of color: vendors selling balloons, brightly painted houses, and even in their choice of clothing!
Vietnamese Food is Delicious!
Unfortunately many restaurants were closed for Tết (Vietnamese New Year) which limited meal options during our stay. Whether we were sitting on a 12″ stool on a sidewalk or in an upscale restaurant, we really enjoyed the food we had in Hanoi. In the end our favorite meal was a bowl of noodles we got on the street that cost us less than a dollar. And we will undoubtedly miss the amazingness that is Vietnamese iced coffee.