The first place I visited as part of my two-week travels in Vietnam was the busy city of Hanoi.
The Start of our Holidays
We Landed in Hanoi around 12pm where we were collected by taxi to go to my Hotel. The first thing I noticed about Hanoi is the heat which was around 37 degrees or so. The second thing I noticed were the motorbikes. There are motorbikes EVERYWHERE. They do not seem to adhere to the rules of the road in Vietnam and will usually beep the horn instead of using an indicator. However don’t be put off, they generally go slow and will drive around you if you are crossing the road. I was assured by a local the least amount of road accidents happen in Hanoi. (This does not give you much comfort though if you are trying to cross the road).
The Hotel we stayed in was the Viet View Hotel, 20 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem. It was really nice, in a great location and staff were really friendly.
After we checked into our hotel we went out and did a bit of exploring. Even though Hanoi is busy and you do see a KFC every now and again, it is a lot more untouched by western influence in comparison to Ho Chi Ming City.
We took a short walk to Ma May Street where we ate at the Moose and Roo. The staff were friendly and the food was lovely.
Water Puppet Theatre
The water puppet theatre is a must see when in Vietnam. To be honest, we were so exhausted from the flight to get there I actually fell asleep for part of the show. Understandably I got a bit confused about what was going on towards the end. I think this would have been a lot more enjoyable if I was able to stay awake and was not so jet lagged.
We then went on a walkabout around Hanoi city. We passed different districts such as the welding district and the mirror district. We also went to see St Joseph’s Cathedral. It was great just watching people going about their business. We also visited the Ngoc Son Temple which is in the middle of the lake in Hanoi.
The following day we went overnight cruise to Halong bay which was spectacular. We returned to Hanoi the following day after the cruise.
When we returned to Hanoi we spent the evening exploring the capital where we came across a local street performance. We also did a lot of people watching from different cafe’s we went to.
We went to the Green Mango Restaurant for some dinner. It was really late when we got there as we did a lot of exploring. The food was delicious. They had a good mix of Vietnamese and Italian food.
The next day we ate breakfast in the Hanoi Social Club. This was the tastiest breakfast I have ever had while on holidays. The staff were friendly and it was in a really nice, relaxed atmosphere. I also got this Raspberry and Coconut Lassi drink which was out of this world. I bought other Lassi’s while on holidays but none were the same. If only I could recreate this at home. The food was a bit more expensive than what you would normally pay in Vietnam but it was definitely worth it
Train journey to DeNang
After the day exploring Hanoi, we went back to our hotel to pack. We were picked up and brought to the train station to go on the overnight train to DeNang. The train to DeNang was an experience in itself. We travelled by train as I had read there were really nice views of the coast. It was disappointing as the views were only in the last two hours of the journey. If I was doing it again I would have taken a flight instead to save time on the holiday, when you only have two weeks time is precious.