Last updated on January 29th, 2016 at 04:50 pm
Here we are in the beautiful Hanoi, Vietnam. Mr K and I have stayed here for 10 days. We have decided to spend all the days in Hanoi instead of going to their famous national park. After all, there has to be something to come back to.:) To our surprise the country and the city have surpassed our expectations. Hanoi, the capital, does not look like the rural country we would have expected.
After visiting Thailand we thought: “If you visit one Asian country – you have visited all of them”, – but we were wrong. Vietnam has its own appeal, own history, people actually do look different, dress different, and even food is different. You have to visit and see this beautiful, noisy, happy, and free spirited country for yourself. I have included the 5 rather important things and tips I learned while we stayed there. Links and tips are right below.
We stayed in the old city of Hanoi populated by tourists and tourist related shops, hotels, and bars. Our hotel was small and cheap. It offered an edible option for a breakfast and almost windowless rooms. While I would not stay in this hotel again I would definitely come back and travel more around the country and other cities. For now, I hope you enjoy my pictures and tips.
Here are my five must know tips on getting the most out your travel to Hanoi, Vietnam.
When booking a room you get what you paid for. Do pay attention to the location of the room. If it has windows then it must be facing the road, which is noisy 24/7. If the room appears dark then it means that there either no windows whatsoever (our first day reality) or this room is simply facing the wall of an opposite building (our reality of the rest of our stay).
As soon as I was done with the picture taking and offered to buy some bananas and pineapples the lady also gave me a quote for the picture which equaled to $25 CAD. Considering that our room cost almost as much per day as the total quote for the fruits and a photo we decided to smile politely and step away. “Just smile and wave boys!”,-penguin from Madagascar. Generally speaking, it is a very touristy area and if people appear nice to you it is because they know they can get something from you. I do not want to be negative but be aware and smart as well as polite.
When it was our last day the hotel manager asked us politely to move to another room in another “sister” hotel. It took us about 2 hours to organize, wait, move, and move again to the room with bad shower pressure which was about 10 min walk from our hotel to the other. I think those kind of memories are the best ones. They teach a traveler like myself a thing or two. While I felt sorry for the manager I understood why the other guest refused to move to another room or be helpful. It will cost you more in time and personal energy than in Karma points gained from doing a good deed.
Do take advantage of their custom made tailoring! You will have to bargain and then bargain some more again. While I tried to research as much as possible the result was me walking into one of the shops with premade clothing shop. It was not even a boutique, which were many. It was a shop with no customers inside. The best part was that after discussing the amount, cuts, materials, and designs I would pay after everything was done. As a result I was a happy owner of awesome green silk pants that I still wear three years later, a black silk dress, a beautiful black silk top and Burberry inspired white satin top that I cannot get over. I paid in total a bit over $100 CAD for everything. Overall the service was fast, good and relatively cheap. I had to come back for the fittings twice which was not troublesome at all. I would definitely do it again. 🙂 Even Mr K got his money’s worth with a custom made sports jacket.
Here is a post by another blogger about the local Hanoi stores:
- This one is for Hoi An but the wisdom is still the same. 🙂 http://twotravelaholics.com/2014/01/05/a-guide-to-buying-couture-clothing-in-hoi-an-vietnam/
While I fell in love with the Vietnamese food during our trip, I would not recommend eating their street food. Some other Asian countries like Taiwan, Japan and Thailand are known for their street food and are safe to eat, here the fellow nomad should exercise caution and eat in restaurants and cafes with good reviews. The only exception is fruits, not pilled or cut.
Here is more information about food and water safety:
Hope you enjoyed the post. I have modified it a bit from the original one to bring more value to you travels. Have you been to Vietnam? Please SHARE your tips below!