Hanoi is somewhat a gateway to other parts of Northern Vietnam, namely Halong Bay and Sapa. So we spent five nights there in total, more than I’d hoped but it was also a place to regain momentum.
1. Wander the streets and watch the locals. You might see some ballroom dancing, men smoking from large pieces of bamboo, fish being sorted, and old men sitting on tiny plastic stools playing board games.
2. Walk around the lake and visit the temple. You might also find some local boys will join you for a chat while you walk as they want to improve their English.
3. Go to Beer Hoi for a cheap (19 cent) beer while sitting on a tiny plastic chair eating snacks and watching the locals go by. The beer is brewed and must be drank on the same day.
4. The Water Puppet Show is worth a view for something different and some local live music.
5. Visit the Temple of Literature and get a haircut from the barber sitting on a stool outside (I can’t vouch for this).
6. Drink a coffee with an egg inside.
7. Go on the free walking tour from your hostel. I know, I had you at free.
8. Learn some history at the Hoi Lo Gaol. The History Museum can be a lot to take in and doesn’t really give you the information you need.
9. Eat as many Banh Mis from the street as possible, including the orange-type sauce that comes out of a plastic container.
10. Cross the road by walking slowly in between moving motorbikes carrying the world and it’s mother and arrive home exhausted. Those afraid of roads need not apply–you might as well stay in your hostel/hotel and order a taxi to cross from one side of the road to the other.
11. Give in and go on your hostel pub crawl and end up in a random warehouse club god knows where.
12. Browse the shops for trinkets.
13. Let the old man sketch you on the street and then let the second guy do it too and afterwards realise you can draw better.
14. Stock up on ‘North Face’ gear. The shops housing it are in their plenty so you can even shop around for the best price.
15. Feel amused when the locals say ‘Hello Banana” or “Hello Beer” while trying to sell their wares.
16. Buy from the ladies on the street. They have lumps on their shoulders from carrying their goods in baskets at the end of a stick for so long.
So you might have gathered that this was a list of all the random things I partook in…just go with it. I’d love to hear if you had any!