Hanoi, Vietnam

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).

A girl selling flowers from her bike in Hanoi Vietnam

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.

Flowers in front of the Lake of the Restored Sword in Hanoi Vietnam
A tree hanging into the Lake of the Restored Sword in Hanoi
A red bridge leading to the temple on lake hoan kiem in Hanoi
7up year of the monkey Chinese New Year sign near lake hoan kiem in Hanoi
Hoan Kiem monument in Hanoi Vietnam
A path running alongside lake hoan kiem in Hanoi
The view from our room at Golden Time Hostel 2 in Hanoi Vietnam
A vietnamses man selling balloons that say I love you in Hanoi
The park alongside lake hoan Kiem in Hanoi
Pink, purple, and red flowers in the old quarter of Hanoi
Dinh nam huong temple in Hanoi Vietnam
Candles and inscense at dinh nam huong temple in Hanoi Vietnam
A bright yellow and red temple on a back street of Hanoi's old quarter
Blurred scooters driving past dihn nam huong temple near hoan kiem in Hanoi Vietnam
A road in Hanoi with lights strung across the street from building to building

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.

Someone driving a red scooter down a street in Hanoi
A lady selling vegetables from the back of a bicycle in Hanoi
A vietnamese person selling balloons on a backstreet in Hanoi Vietnam

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!

A Vietnamese lady burning ghost money in Hanoi Vietnam
Two cats on a street in Hanoi Vietnam
An eclectic architecture building with several apartments in Hanoi Vietnam
A traffic circle in the old quarter of Hanoi Vietnam
Scooters driving by a side street in Hanoi
A balcony on a building in the old quarter of Hanoi
A park in the old quarter of Hanoi Vietnam
Saint Josephs Cathedral in Hanoi Vietnam

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.

A bowl of noodles bought on the streets of Hanoi Vietnam
Vietnamses people eating lunch outside on the streets of Hanoi
Many small yellow stools on the sidewalk meant for outdoor seating in Hanoi
A delicious Vietnamese beef noodle dish at Green Mango in Hanoi
An order of spring rolls from Green Mango in Hanoi Vietnam
A sandwich with potato wedges at Rosemary Kitchen & Sandwicherie in Hanoi Vietnam
An order of Tiramisu from Green Mango in Hanoi Vietnam

Last Stop Pai

Next Stop Halong Bay