Since I am working now and I work in store operations, time is really demanding. August is the last month I can use my vacation leave and I decided to spend it with my Mom in Vietnam. And before choosing Hanoi, there was a long debate between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi in where I wanted to go since both seemed pretty interesting. But the final decision was Hanoi since it was more of the traditional side while Ho Chi Minh was more Westernised.
Because of my Mom’s busy schedule, we only got to spend 2 days in Hanoi. So I will be sharing to you guys on how to do that. 🙂
Where we stayed
For a night we tried Airbnb and the room we stayed in was super nice. The host even called it the Indie Apartment ’cause her apartment really had the indie vibe.
On the next day, we already stayed in a hotel which was a good deal since it was nice and affordable.
On our first day, what we did was to roam around the city. But before going to the tourists spots, we need to fill our stomachs with hot pho that was located at Old Quarter. What we got was the pho with well done beef. One bowl cost around 55,000 VND and it will surely make your tummy happy.
On the rest of our first day it was raining hard since there was a storm coming. I was kinda sad at first since I won’t be able to take a lot of pictures and travelling while raining is really an inconvenience. But my Mom didn’t want to spoil our vacation that’s why no rain hindered us. So, what we did was we bought our raincoats and walked in the city just like any other tourists.
Next is we went around to visit the tourist spots. The good thing with their attractions is the vicinity since almost all were near one another.
1. Opera House
We didn’t enter the said place, only on the outside for picture taking purposes.
2. Hoan Kiem Lake
It is a huge lake in the middle of the city and there is a temple in the middle.There is a red bridge that leads to the temple in the middle of the lake. To enter the temple you need to buy a ticket that only cost about 30,000 VND.
3. Hoa Lo Prison
To enter, the ticket also cost about 30,000 VND. This was the prison used by the French during the war. It was a huge prisoner before but now they only left a portion of it that was preserved. Inside you can see what the life of the prisoners was during that time.
4. Temple of Literature
It’s just like any other temples, good for picture taking and the entrance fee is also the same as the two.
Aside from those tourist spots, we also decided to watch the Water Puppet Show. This show is really popular to tourists and you must really watch this.
The theatre is just located in front of Hoan Kiem Lake. From the entrance, turn right for about 30 meters and you’ll see it. I vaguely remember the price of the ticket we bought, I guess it was about 95,000 VND and the first show starts at 3:00pm.
The show has live music and the show is composed of different stories about Vietnam which was really nice since it was a new experience for me.
After watching the show, we decided to try other Vietnamese delicacies. We were able to find Wrap and Roll that was a restaurant that made their dishes more tourist friendly and not too authentic.
Their food was kinda okay. To be honest, I’m not really a fan of Vietnamese food that’s why I wasn’t able to appreciate it that much.
We waited in the restaurant till the Night Market opens at 7:00pm only during weekends. It was a weekend that time but because of the rain the Night Market didn’t open. But luckily for us, during our 2nd day we were able to experience the Night market. I didn’t have a picture but what you can find there are cheap goods such as paintings, clothes, food and many more.
We decided to join a tour to visit Tam Coc which was more of a provincial side to go boat riding and bicycle riding.
In the countryside there were many big grassy mountains. And before we went on to those activities, we first went to two temples.
After the temples and lunch we now proceeded to our fun activities. We first rode the boat wherein there was 1 local who rows the boat. The weird thing on how they row the boat is that they were using their feet! The view during the boat ride was really magnificent. We got to see mountainous view and we even went in caves.
After the boat ride that was about 30 to 45 mins. We went bicycle riding that you can’t do in the city. Our tour guide was the one guiding us on where to go. We went to the streets and for a little adventure we also went to the rocky and narrow trails.
What I admired in Hanoi:
- Architecture – their French inspired architecture is really something to admire.
- Art – I believe their people loves art that’s why they produce such lovely piece of art.
What you need to know:
- For experience, you need to ride the cyclo. It’s more expensive than taxis since it is really a fun and you’ll experience the essence of Hanoi. Ours cost about 150,000 VND. But remember that before riding the cyclos, as the driver first how much their price is.
- Another mode of transportation you can use are taxis since it’s really cheap. The flag down rate is just about 6,000 VND but careful of taxi drivers that take advantage of the price since we are tourists and tends to ask for more.
- Everything is cheap! From food to hotel to souvenirs.
- Their money is kinda confusing since there are a lot of zeroes. We’ve experienced many vendors trying to confuse us between 10,000 VND and 100,000 VND so be really careful. Count your money first and make sure how much money you are giving them before giving the money.
Two days in Hanoi for me is already okay.But we weren’t able to go to Halong Bay which was also a very magnificent place. So if you just want to chill and spend your little vacation in Hanoi you can do what my Mom and I did wherein in the first day you’ll spend it in the city then on the next day go to Tam Coc. Or you can choose going to Halong Bay on your second day. But if you got lots of time you can visit the city, Tam Coc and Halong Bay. 🙂
Hanoi is really a nice place to visit. You should try considering this on your next destination. 🙂