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If you walk down the bustling street s of Hanoi, the frequent words that will come floating into your ear are “madam, motor…madam, motor”. Buzzing with traffic all day long, motor-bikers flood the streets trying to convince passengers to take a ride for a certain amount of fare.
This is Hanoi – the city that never sleeps. Where you will find vehicles running back and forth at a speed, that makes it difficult for people to cross from one side to another alone. Hanoi is one of the most beautiful colonial cities of the Indo Chinese map. Ever since Vietnam has opened its gate to tourism, Hanoi has undergone a drastic wholesale change. Nevertheless, a newbie does not need to get upset as it still holds the charm it had before.
A gateway to Northern Vietnam, travelers normally consider it as a quick transit city. However, if you are planning to visit, the northern fields located near Sapa or maybe the Haylong Bay; do think of visiting this busy city once.
You can count on getting lost. I will not disagree with that. Nevertheless, the best advice you can get from any traveler is to explore the city by foot.
Here are some fun places to visit while at Hanoi:
Visit the Old Merchant Quarter
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This old merchant is one of the most popular destinations you can visit while at Hanoi. An amalgamation of French and Vietnamese culture makes this a lovable place to walk around and explore. The common features that one would find here are the manic streets filled with rushing motor bikes, clusters of power lines running over your head, shops selling goods on narrow streets and many more.
One thing to notice while walking down this quarter is that, many of them have names beginning or ending with the word ‘Hang’. Hang in Vietnam means to sell. This is because; they were named after the commodity that was sold. If you come across the street named ‘Hang duong’, then you will know you have come across the place where they sell sugar. Some of these streets still sell the same thing; however, most of them have changed according to the present need of the people.
Eat the Bun Bo Nam Bo
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The Bun Bo Nam Bo is an origin of Vietnam. You must be curious as to what this dish consists of. Marinated beef, round and thin noodles and fried peanuts are some of its main ingredients. The rest I am not sure but hey, it will be like winning a jackpot if you could make a guess. Beware, not to get lost in its delicious mixture of taste.
Find Giant Turtles in the Hoan Kiem Lake
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If you want to see something different, apart from the cacophony of Hanoi, then take a walk around the Hoan Kiem Lake. This place is a perfect escape from the chaotic life of the capital. Apart from the serene atmosphere that surrounds it, this lake is an abode to a large number of giant turtles belonging to rare species. This lake is home to one particular giant title that people like referring to as Cu Rua or ‘the great grandfather turtle’.
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According to the Vietnamese legend, the golden god turtle is said to have claimed a sword that symbolizes the fight against the Ming Dynasty, from an ancient emperor. Later on, the emperor in honor of the Golden God Turtle, erected a small tower, called the Turtle Tower, on a small island situated in the middle of the lake. He named the lake as Hoan Kiem that means ‘the land of the returned sword’. People consider Cu Rua to be the direct descendent of the God Turtle. Currently, there are only four remaining species of its kind and Cu Rua is one of them. So if you are lucky enough to meet Cu Rua, do not forget to click a picture with him.
Have an Egg Coffee
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Do take a chance to sip into the famous egg coffee of North Hanoi. Coffee is Vietnam’s most profitable export and people just love to indulge in taking it to a unique level. Invented by Mr. Giang decades ago due to the scarcity of milk, this coffee comes with a unique blend of coffee, egg yolk (chicken),condensed milk, butter and cheese. The egg yolk, when tempered becomes thick and adds creaminess to the concoction, thus making it a perfect substitute for milk.
You can get to sip on the authentic egg coffee at café Giang, situated in the Old Quarter. Do leave a comment and let us know how great its taste is.
Dine at Barbeque Chicken Street
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As said before, the streets of Vietnam has a specific name for the products that are sold there. One such name is the Barbeque Chicken Street. Yes! This street specializes in selling barbecued chicken. Dining here is a perfect way in which you can experience the nightlife at Hanoi.
Cheer To Life at Bia Hoi Corner
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A Trip to Hanoi would be incomplete if you do not get to sit on the small plastic tools and drink the world’s cheapest beer. You can get to drink a glass of quality beer at just $ 0.15. It is quite light and contains three to four percent alcohol with no added preservatives. About fifty percent of the ingredient contains rice. The best place to taste the finest beer is in the street corners of Luong Ngoc Quyen and Ta Hien, which is popularly known as the Bia Hoi corner.
You can get to visit other remarkable places of Vietnam like the Hoa Lo Prison and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. However, make sure that you abide by the strict rules observed within the Mausoleum if you want to see the embalmed body of the infamous leader kept on display. You cannot wear shorts, tank tops, drink and smoke, take pictures or catch a glimpse of the leader from the moving line as these are regarded to be disrespectful.
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