After our brief yet enjoyable stay at Hoi An, we hopped on the open tour bus and headed for our next destination …… Hanoi!!
The bus took approx 16-20 hours to reach the capital city of Vietnam.
1) The hotel
We made few friends on the way to Hanoi, they had reservations in a place called “Hanoi backpackers hostel”
so we went there and they had a pretty cool community with parties and events every night, the 1 dorm bed goes for 7.5$ per night.
This being slightly out of our budget, we decided to keep walking around and look for a hotel.
2) May De Ville hotel
We found this GEM hidden in a very small avenue, although the hotel looked quite fancy, we decided to go in and ask.
They had dorm beds for 5$ per night including an awesome buffet breakfast that was actually worth the 5 bucks all by itself.xD
Tip: you better have your own lock to close your locker, if not … you can buy one from the reception for 2$.
3) Exploring the city
We went down to explore the city and get lost in its beauty and serenity.
For a capital city, Hanoi is surprisingly calm, beautiful and full of LIFE!!
parks facing a breathtaking lake, clean wide streets and lots of friendly people everywhere you go.
You can also see a large number of old buildings showcasing an awesome feat of architecture.
Hanoi has a large number of museums, we have gone to the most famous two.
The museum of history and the museum of the army, admission costed 20,000 dong (10,000 if you have your student card)
To be honest, I didn’t really fall in love with those two museums, the army one has some nice looking tanks, weapons and all but other than that, nothing really mind-blowing.
However, the one place of interest that was actually worth visiting was “The temple of literature” which is considered to be the very first university ever built in Vietnam.
The place is huge and it’s really interesting, you can also buy trinkets and charms that will “help you get through exams” xD
It was pretty cool that when we were there, a group of university graduates were celebrating their graduation over there. 🙂
5) Ho Chi Minh complex
One of the major highlights in Hanoi is this complex, the place is massive and it has a collection of places of interest like ho chi Minh museum, royal palace, one pillar pagoda and ho chi Minh mausoleum.
The ho chi Minh mausoleum is awesome looking and just looks so honourable!!
You can wake up in the early morning around 7-8 am and go in the mausoleum, and see the body of president ho chi Minh!!
6) The wholesale market
The wholesale market in Hanoi was a very interesting visit, they had practically everything you can think of.
The food section of the market was awesome, selling candy and biscuits by the kilo at amazing prices.
I bought half a kilo of assorted biscuits for 30,000 dong (1.5$) expecting that they wouldn’t taste that great, however ALL the biscuits tasted great and it was a very very very nice purchase.
Make sure you stop there during your visit to Hanoi.
7) The people of Hanoi
Hanoi has given me a bit of a culture shock,
The people overthere lead a peaceful and a happy life in ways I didn’t think possible.
One day, we were walking at the park at night, and we found a group of citizens putting some salsa music on and dancing away!!
All dressed up, all looking stunning and they all knew the moves by heart, doing many different dances including ballroom dancing and cha cha, and all that was on a Wednesday night …. not even a weekend!!
Now those are people who know how to enjoy their lives one day at a time …..
We kept walking around and we came across individuals jogging with their stunning BEAUTIFUL dogs, grandma’s meditating and rocking some cool Tai Chi (not so sure this is the right name), groups of people playing their musical instruments and families playing sports like badminton, soccer … etc
I gotta say that apart from all the highlights we saw in Hanoi, the people came at the very top, they were more interesting than anything else, I can so easily say that those kind of people are the perfect components for a country to RISE!! and they managed to give me a completely different perspective to life.
8) Tours and stuff
In Hanoi, visitors usually go for one of two tours: Sapa & Ha long bay
Sapa: a village on the mountain 10 hours from Hanoi where you can go there to stay with some locals and do some trekking.
2 days 1 night goes for approx 60$
Ha long bay: a bay beside Hanoi where you can go and enjoy sunset on a boat and you can actually sleep on the boat for one night.
1 day 0 nights go for approx 18$
The tour office we dealt with had the most awesome and friendliest guy ever … David!!
That great fella had a great sense of hospitality, offering us Vietnamese tea, water for our trip and just being generally friendly, he also offered us the best prices we could find anywhere.
We bought the open tour bus ticket back to saigon from him for 34$ (all other offices quoted 45$ and 55$ for the same ticket)
When you go Hanoi, make sure you find him to book your tours/bus tickets, you won’t regret it. 🙂
Our stay at Hanoi came to an end, it was time to head back to saigon and stop at Muinee for a couple of days to enjoy the beach.
But more on that later…..
Basel …… OUT
(All pictures are captured with Samsung Galaxy Note I & Note II phone cameras)