Hanoi was a welcome sight after spending the evening in Ho Chi Minh. Such a cute city wth birds chirping and hundreds of outdoor patios to chill on. The city is pretty walkable but my brother and I did get lost almost every single time. Best thing to do here, EAT. All day long if you can. The food is arguably the best in the world and also the cheapest.
LANGUAGE: Vietnamese, English
CURRENCY: Vietnamese Dong
CLIMATE: Tropical and temperate, cooler temperatures from Jan-March, Rainy season May-Oct
DRESS CODE: Casual
GETTING AROUND: Grab, Local taxi, Motorbikes
COST OF VISITING: $ – Hostels start at $3 per night and street food is a little as $1 to $2 (USD) per meal
TIPPING: Tipping is not expected, but appreciated
SAFETY: Generally a safe city, watch out for pickpockets as you would in any other city
FROM NOI BAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Noi Bai International Airport is the largest airport in Vietnam and located 45 km from Hanoi city center. Getting to the city can take anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes depending on which mode of transportation you choose.
Hanoi city buses number 7 and 17 connect the airport to Hanoi city center. The bus stop is located on the right side of the terminal exit. Traveling by bus costs 5,000 VND (!$0.30 USD) per person and takes about one hour. Buses run every 15-20 minutes from 5am to 10pm. For more info check here.
Airport Minibus offers transport directly to your accommodation in Hanoi. This will cost you around 22,000 VND for Vietnamese or 32,000 VND for foreigners. ($1.32 USD) For more info, check here.
Metered taxis are available on the arrivals level at both domestic and international terminals. Taxi fare is charged according to the taxi meter. A ride to the city center takes around 30 minutes and costs approximately 320,000 VND. ($13.74 USD) For more info, check here.
WHERE TO STAY
This hostel is located right in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. They are close to all of the nightlife and even have some of their own, as they are known for their parties. Best not to stay here if you are wanting to get some early rest. While we were here, they offered one bottomless keg for free and an organized dinner you could pay a small fee for if you were interested. The beds are basic but clean and the bathrooms are nice. There are also a few chill out areas and patios which were pretty nice.. If you stay here, make sure to check out the Castaway Cruise. I didn’t go but other people (pretty much everyone else) was raving about it. I don’t love party hostels but I would stay here again because I met a lot of really cool people.
Located in the Old Quarter, this is a modern hostel that offers curtains around each bed giving you maximum privacy. Seems more of a chill hostel. I did’t stay here but it would likely be my first choice to try next time I am in Hanoi.
This hostel is conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi, close to Quan Chuong O Street, Dong Xuan Market, and Ta Hien Street. They have a lounge and offer free beer everyday from 6 to 6:30pm. Some dorm rooms have their own balcony as well.
A luxury hostel located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Walking distance from many restaurants and many of the main attractions. Their dorm beds have a curtain for privacy. They offer a bar and cafe, as well as various hangout areas, a game room, and a rooftop.
A cozy hostel with curtains on the beds giving you as much privacy as you would like. I didn’t stay here but would. The reviews make it sound more chill than some of the other party hostels, but it is still located on a lively street.
Located in the heart of the Old Quarter, this hostel is near most of the major attractions. Most rooms (if not all) come with a city view and a daily breakfast buffet is included.
WHAT TO EAT
Vietnam has arguably some of the best food in the world. And it is usually pretty cheap! The best food I ate while there was street food where I have no idea the names. Below are some of the more highly rated restaurants. It is one of the only cities I have seen where most of the restaurants are rated 5 out of 5 stars. This list is just a start. There is no possible way to list all of the amazing places to eat without overwhelming you.
WHERE TO EAT
WHAT TO DRINK
WHERE TO DRINK
A cute little coffee shop with notes of positivity all over the place. Try their egg coffee. So good.
A cool, dark, speakeasy type place specializing in classic cocktails.
With 19 different brews on tap, this is a go to bar for craft beer lovers. Great place to chill out and have some drinks after work or later in the evening. They host comedy acts and also have an upstairs terrace overlooking the Truc Bach lake.
Check out the top floor to get an amazing view of the city, overlooking the Hanoi Cathedral. This hidden gem is the first specialty gin bar in Hanoi.
WHAT TO DO
WALK ALONG THE TRACKS
Twice a day, a high speed train passes through a residential neighborhood, only inches away from local homes. What is even more interesting is the life that happens around these tracks when the train is not there. If you get there early enough, you will witness locals starting their day, brushing their teeth along the tracks. In the evening, kids are playing and women cooking along them (and even on them). Definitely a must see if you are in Hanoi.
19th Century Gothic style church that is absolutely beautiful. If you know me, I love architecture which means I had to include this one on the list.
The Old Quarter is the happening spot in Hanoi. Just walking around this area, especially in the evenings, will give you plenty to look at. Great for people watching and to see where the crowds are if you are looking for a night on the town. There is often live music and really cheap beer sold on the streets.
“Lake of the Returned Sword” located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The peaceful lake surrounds the Ngoc Son Temple and is a great place to stroll and get a feel for daily life here.
Sapa is a town in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains. The scenery is beautiful as it contains the country’s highest peak and overlooks the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley. Multiple hill tribes live here which are another reason many come to visit. We didn’t have the chance when I was here but have heard it is one of the most beautiful spots in Vietnam.
My brother and I did a day trip tour to Halong Bay and while it is beautiful, it is extremely touristy. A little too much so for me. I honestly wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be but at the same time I suppose it is popular for a reason. You can book a tour here that includes lunch, a cave tour, and kayaking around the bay. Although slightly pricey, you can stay overnight on one of the junk boats which may give you a better experience than we had.
I am not sure if this is something that really interests me as it sounds like a 3 day booze cruise frat party but I wanted to include it anyways. Everyone at the hostel who went (which was almost every person I talked with) said they had the time of their lives. Book this trip with Vietnam Backpacker Hostels and spend three days on their exclusive, private island in Halong Bay. Think nightly dance parties, live DJs, and a secluded beach with open air bungalows.