Here we are in the beautiful Hanoi, Vietnam. Mr. K and I have stayed here for ten 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 appeal, own history, people 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 five 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 breakfast and almost windowless rooms. While I would not stay in this hotel again, I would 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 accommodation, 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 for the rest of our stay).
Here are my 10 tips for a normal travel experience. Happy traveling!
Tip 2: A photo scam
As soon as I finished 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 CAD 25. 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 friendly 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.
Tip 3: Don’t inconvenience yourself
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 kinds of memories are the best ones.
They teach a traveler like me 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.
Tip 4: Custom Clothes
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 a pre-made clothing store. It was not even a boutique, which was 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 the work was complete. As a result, I was a happy owner of great 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 CAD 100 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 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/
Tip 5: Food
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, which are untouched, uncut, or peeled.
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 your travels.
Have you been to Vietnam? Please SHARE your tips below! Can’t wait to hear them!