As an experienced traveler, I’m fond of cities in Eastern countries since they are so different from those in Western nations. Based on their unique culture, from religious belief to the way of living, the cities there consist of many mysteries which contribute to my curiosity about them. After spending my vacation in Beijing and Tokyo, one year ago, I decided to visit Hanoi, a new destination promoted in high frequency in certain famous tourist magazines. Of course, I dug deep into information about this metropolis before attending it, but I was still surprised that it includes several attractions I had never heard. That’s why I stay here to write an article so that I can share my reviews on Hanoi Vietnam. It is believed that when you read it, you will be urged to visit it once.
Hanoi is one of two metropolises in Vietnam these days. Established over 1000 years ago in the southern bank of Red River, it is given many natural gifts most of which are beautiful lakes, as well as historical properties. Along with the development of the country, a lot of contemporary buildings, especially skyscrapers and business centers, have emerged, making the city become a superb combination between two opposite sides. Therefore, this place could meet all demands of tourists for either studying Eastern history or relaxing in luxurious spaces. Apart from this, though it’s very hot in summer, the weather in the rest of the year is mild and pleasant to let you explore the city comfortably. The time I visited Hanoi was December. It was a bit cold, and sometimes humid, but you should cover yourselves with at least a sweater to keep warm.
Review on Hanoi Vietnam – Attractions
I have to say that Hanoi attractions are very exceptional. The most famous one is Hoan Kiem Lake, a green pearl in the heart of the city. It’s also the habitation of turtles related to Vietnamese legends. Two small islands inside the lake are used to erect Turtle Tower and Jade Mountain Temple. At the weekend, the streets around it are only for pedestrians to hold outdoor activities.
Another well-known lake is West Lake, an unbelievably huge water area surrounded by many mansions and 5-star hotels for the wealthy. This is because the lake brings an ideally fresh and tranquil environment for the locals and foreigners to take a rest after stressful periods.
In terms of ancient buildings, I want to insist the Old Quarter, a sector comprising the majority of Vietnamese stores and housing premises formed three centuries ago, and the French Quarter, a region built by the French in the late 19th century. While the former shows you the antiqueness of Hanoi, the latter reflects the elegance and magnificence of the French. Fascinatingly, they produces two contradictory features of Hoan Kiem District.
Additionally, I took some photograph of Long Bien Bridge, the construction designed by Mr. Eiffel Gustave, the man architecting Eiffel Tower in France. This awesome attraction is, admittedly, made of steel too. After that, I traveled to The Temple of Literature to see old turtle statues and certain typical houses in Ly Dynasty. It is interesting that most of them have still been kept intact until know.
There is no lack of modern destinations, such as Keangnam Tower or Lotte Tower, providing you an observation deck to see the city from above. They are frequently located in sprawling areas rather than in the inner city. If you are a shopaholic, you will also figure out that plenty of shops run by renowned brands exiting in such crowded business centers there.
Reviews on Hanoi Vietnam – Accommodation
Every year, Hanoi welcomes a huge number of tourists, contributing to the diversity of rent accommodation. Actually, from what I asked the staff of the hotel where I lived, and some pieces of information I collected during my journey, budget hotels are very ubiquitous in the Old Quarter. The price for a fully-equipped room is usually 15-20 USD/person. Hostels are less common, with the cost of 4-7 USD/person.
Because I traveled alone, Noble Boutique Hotel, the one I chose, requested me to pay 41 USD/day. In the case I had had a companion, I would only have paid a half for my room. Nevertheless, although it’s a 3-star hotel, but the room is amazing with black wooden appliances and handmade bedding which is sold in a shop on the ground floor. Staff is hospitable, and hopefully, the hotel is not far from Hoan Kiem Lake, about merely a 3 minute walk.
Meanwhile, 5-star hotels for travelers are found easily in the French Quarter. They are, of course, adorned with French colonial outsides. In contrast, contemporary-design residences for businessmen appear in Ba Dinh District and Nam Tu Liem District with high density, because these are commercial areas with innumerable head offices of large-scale companies and organizations.
Reviews on Hanoi Vietnam – Food
In my opinion, the most impressive feature of Hanoi is food. The first reason for this is its reasonable price. What you have to pay to fill up your stomach with tasty Vietnamese dishes is merely about 2-3 USD/person. Meanwhile, the cost for Western fast food is higher, up to 7-8 USD/person. Consequently, it is unnecessary to prefer hamburger or fried chicken there. In fact, Vietnamese street food is much lower, for instance, 1 USD for Banh My, a type of delicious Vietnamese sandwich.
Secondly, the abundance of Hanoi food will force you to be in dilemma of what you should eat. As you would know, Pho, a kind of rice noodles and soup, is considered as the most illustrious dish, but there are some astonishing boxes hidden the inner city. I enjoyed grilled fish at Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant so much. Amazingly, I had to cooked by myself to taste it. This dish is perfect when you eat with peanuts and rice noodles.
Next is Bun Cha, or Kebab rice noodles. The admirable eatery for it is Huong Lien Restaurant. Interestingly, Mr. Barack Obama, the U.S Ex-President, visited the place in 2016. What makes it more prominent is the roasted pork which is amazingly softer and spicy. Vegetable is fresh and fragrant too.
It’s not difficult to find luxury restaurants with international cuisine. For instance, two highly-appreciated ones are La Verticale in the French Quarter and Restaurant Bobby Chinn in Tay Ho District. If I have a chance, I will present there to savor their food.
Reviews on Hanoi Vietnam – Transportation
Although the price for movement inside the city is pretty low, 0.5 USD/bus ticket, you have to cope with traffic jams in rush hours, even at the weekend. Because of narrow lanes plus a great number of cars, bikers sometimes have to move on the walk paths. And so, there is nothing left for pedestrians. Moreover, Hanoi authorities have zoned the city very terribly, producing a complicated system of roads. Travelers, therefore, are prone to be lost.
Regarding public transport, subways are unavailable and still being constructed. As a result, buses are usually full of passengers. Grab is not a bad selection, but they are more costly in rush hour and on rainy days.
Reviews on Hanoi Vietnam – Local people
Hanoians, the nickname of the local people, are friendly and helpful. In the case you are robbed, they are always ready to become heroes and fight against the crimes for you. That is the explanation why robbery hardly ever occurs in the center of the city. The only problematic thing could be their English ability. The teenagers are quite interested in communicating with foreigners in English, but their pronunciation is not really good, while the elderly excels at French or Russian more. So, keep calm when they attempt to describe something for you.
The last aspect you must remember is a peddler. It is annoying that he or she might pursue you until you buy one product from them. And you have to bargain before purchasing a souvenir if there is not any price sign for it.
Reviews on Hanoi Vietnam – Leisure activities
Aside from open-air deeds held around Hoan Kiem Lake, you should not miss Night Market at the weekend. Countless colorful shops and food streets are shown up there. Besides, lively bars are where you can make some new friends. I’ve never forgotten wonderful party with a group of Vietnamese girl at The Rooftop Bar in Ly Thuong Kiet Street, and now, one of them is my girlfriend.
Water puppet performances, Vietnam’s unique cultural heritage, are regularly displayed at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. The plots are mainly fairy tales or historical legends. If you bring your children along with you, take them to see such exciting shows.
Briefly, I believe that my reviews on Hanoi Vietnam could give you a general view of this time-honored capital. On the condition that it’s possible to have a trip in the city, do not hesitate to grab that opportunity to broaden your horizon about the world.