Before we start to explain to you why we are in love with this colourful city we thought it would be good to give you a few facts about it first. Hanoi was founded back in year 1010 and became Vietnam’s capital in 1945. It has a population of 2,5 million living within the city centre and another 5 million people for the surrounding rural areas. Hanoi is located in the Northern part of Vietnam next to the Red River and is the second biggest city after Ho Chi Minh (formerly known as Saigon). In winter time, Hanoi reaches up to about 15 degrees while in summer it can rocket up to 40 degrees. The city also has two lakes that are very enjoyable to walk around. Hanoi is ranked as one of the top ten destinations to visit around the world, with the old quarter being the heart of the city.
And why do we love Hanoi?
First of all, (almost) everything is cheap. Even though you still feel like a big spender walking around with all your shopping bags after a nice lunch and a 60-minute full body massage, you will end up wondering how your wallet doesn’t get any lighter. Okay, there will be a few hundred thousand Vietnamese Dong missing but if you convert it in to your own currency then you will see how little it is compared to home (home in Sweden and England).
Second, it is very hard to get bored here. There is so much going on. There is something new to explore around every corner and if it isn’t a colourful street selling flowers, food, lamps, home appliances, birds, clothes, bags or old communist posters then it could just as likely be a small alley packed with cafés, a few hidden temples, some kids playing with insects or locals having a family dinner between two parked motorbikes.
Third, every weekend the city closes many of the roads in its centre from and becomes traffic-free so that people a free to walk around or to participate in many of the activities that are available without worrying about being hit by a motorbike. The night market is great and can take up a good amount of time but if you don’t want to shop some famous brands for a low cost then you can listen to live music, play a game of tug of war, rent a hover board for an hour or visit the famous Water Puppet Show.
Finally, one more of many reasons why we love Hanoi, is the people. Even though some of them can be quite hard and will try to rip you off when discussing a price and some may be centimeters from hitting your shoes when spitting, most of them will share a smile and/or try to help you the best they can even though they can’t speak English very well.
Pricelist (In Euro)
Museum = 1 €
Hanoi Beer = 80 cents
Pho (Noodle soup) = 1 €
1 hour full body massage = 12 €
Bus in Hanoi District = 30 cents
Vietnamese coffee = 1 €
Hotel 2,5 stars (private room) including breakfast = 7 € p/p.
Hostel 2,5 stars (mixed dorm 4 beds) including breakfast = 4,71 € p/p.
How to cross a road in Hanoi?
The best way to describe it simple: Just walk. The roads are always very busy and the 4 million motorbikes that are in Hanoi will be coming from every direction but just believe us when we say, they will do everything they can not to hit you. So remember, there’s no point waiting for the traffic to stop for you because it won’t… So just Walk!