Hanoi, what a city! The hectic traffic was a bit much for me and D – we were a bit shellshocked when we arrived and had to cross a few junctions with our cases in tow! However by the end of our week in Hanoi it had grown on us quite a lot, despite the numerous crime offenders in socks and crocs 😉
Also a big shout out to Hanoi Traveller House! We stayed here for a week and an extra night when we came back from Ha Long Bay and we loved it! Awesome room, great breakfast, and the staff were lovely and super helpful.
Apart from exploring around the old city and Hoan Kiem lake, we saw a few museums and spent a lot of time enjoying the amazing Vietnamese coffee.
The women’s museum! Unlike some other museums we’ve been to on this trip (looking at you, Luang Prabang Royal Palace Museum!) this museum was full of fascinating info and exhibits, from daily life and agriculture, to religious festivals, to fashion!
My favourite though was the war section. There were so many badass women fighting in the Vietnam war, some of whom joined the effort at ages as young as 16! I loved the propaganda posters too (pictured below).
We also had some amazing pho cocktails at the Mojito lounge just around the corner from Tranquil – worth the dong as they set them alight before serving to us, which was pretty spectacular!
Apart from that we obviously ate a lot of street food! Sticky rice, pho, and banh mi galore 🙂 We also tried Cha ca which was really good – fried marinated fish, fresh herbs, noodles and a garnish of peanuts. Yum!
Ha Long Bay
We also spent a few days in Ha Long Bay, which was fun, if a little cold! We booked our trip through Ocean Tours, having read they were one of the more reputable companies out of the thousands offering tours in Hanoi. We opted for the Cocktail Cruise for 3 days and 2 nights. Apart from the weather – which was at best mild, and at worst, pretty chilly – we had a pretty awesome time! We kayaked through stalagmite caves, hiked in Cat Ba National Park, dove off our boat into the blue waters (and then got out again pretty quickly due to jellyfish!)
I would definitely recommend the tour if you want an easy and enjoyable time. This tour also stands out because the route on the first day is a lot longer than most tours in the region, meaning you see a lot more.