Traveling in Hanoi as a tourists (P2)

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Some more tips to avoid troubles in Hanoi

>>Shopping in Phu Quoc for non-locals (P1)

14. Eating

You can’t come to Hanoi and not eat pho ga (chicken noodle soup). In fact, you can’t avoid it. Other “delicacies” such as cobra blood wine and dog meat get written about a lot, but aren’t common and are mostly avoided by locals.

15. Drinking

You can’t come to Hanoi and not find yourself at least once sitting on a tiny plastic seat that feels like its about to buckle under you sipping on a mild beer in a frosted glass. Hanoi’s bia hoi are about drinking beer, and that’s it. Best to arrive at 5 p.m. as they tend to run out of beer around 8 p.m.

16. Sleeping

There’s a wide range of accommodation in Hanoi. Here are a few select options:

Budget

Especen Hotel, 28-38 Tho Xuong St. and 41 Ngo Huyen St., Hoan Kiem; +84 (0)4 3824 4401; especen@gmail.com. New rooms, good service.

Mid-range

Joseph’s Hotel, 5 Au Trieu St., Hoan Kiem; +84 (0)4 3938 1046; info@josephshotel.com. Free Wi-Fi, comfy rooms, nice service, well located.

Premium

Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen St.; +84 (0)4 3826 6919; sofitelhanoi@hn.vnn.vn. Grand, historical, heritage-listed and opulent.

17. Shopping

Vincom city tower Ba Trieu @ Bao Thanh Tra

Hanoi’s old Quarter is lined with various fashion stores, souvenir stalls, snack and trinket sellers. But if you’re looking for an air-conditioned mall experience head for the Vincom City Towers where you’ll find luxury brands, a cinema and a colorful gaming area. Vincom City Towers, 191 Ba Trieu St., Hai Ba Trung.

18. Doing

Various popular tourist activities include Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum/Museum, the Hanoi Hilton prison (officially called Hoa Lo Prison), Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and “green” city tours on electric carts. They’re all worth a peek, and you could do all these in one afternoon.

Don’t miss the night market in the Old Quarter, from 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturday. More about strolling around aimlessly than shopping.

And make sure you check out Long Bien bridge, an awesome spectacle bolted together by history.

19. Coffee

If Hanoians aren’t drinking beer, they’re drinking coffee. Check out Café Pho Co, a café hidden behind a home hidden behind a souvenir shop, and one of the best places to get a view across Hoan Kiem Lake. 11 Hang Gai, Hanoi; +84 (0)4 3928 8153

20. Don’t bother with

The one-pillar pagoda. A hut on a cement column is just a hut on a cement column, no matter how old.

21. Internet

If scooters are the most obvious Hanoi quality, Internet cafés come not far behind. They’re everywhere. All hotels have connections too.

22. Traffic

Hanoi traffic @ Youtube

When Hanoi people move they tend to do it on scooters. And if you wait for a break in the flow of scooters when trying to cross the road, you may miss your flight home. Walk out with intent, and they will avoid you. We promise.

23. Day trips

Trips out of Hanoi are easily arranged via hotels or tour agents. If you want to check out Halong Bay (and you should) spend a night on a boat there too. It’s too far for getting there and back comfortably in one day and this way you can explore some great caves and do some kayaking too.

Or take a trip to the Perfume Pagoda 60 kilometers away. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and chill out on a boat ride for a day.

For a longer getaway, consider a trip to Sapa for a few days. You can travel the 350 kilometers from Hanoi by train and minibus and it has some amazing mountain treks. Hiring a guide is essential.

24. Photography

You’ll be tempted to snap away at everything so photogenic is Hanoi, especially the Old Quarter. But many locals find it rude to be photographed, especially the older ones, so be polite and ask first.

25. Don’t be scared

Hanoi can overwhelm you, but that’s what’s great about it. Try everything, go everywhere, and if you do get lost, physically or mentally, just ask someone for help. A smile can solve anything in this city.

Hope you enjoy your time in Hanoi!

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