A journey to connect more deeply with yourself, others and the world around you

Hanoi

DESTINATIONS

HANOI

VIETNAM

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. 

THE BASICS

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

PACKING ESSENTIALS: Sunscreen

VISA: US citizens can obtain a visa on arrival and should submit paperwork online prior to arriving. Cost is $25 for single entry or $50 for multiple entry

GETTING THERE

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.

BUS

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.

MINIBUS

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.

TAXI

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

HOSTELS

HANOI VIETNAM BACKPACKERS HOSTEL DOWNTOWN

9 Pho Ma May, hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (Map)

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.

LUXURY BACKPACKERS

Phurong Hang Trong, 56 Ngo Huyen, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, 100000, Vietnam (Map)

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.

OLD QUARTER VIEW HANOI HOSTEL

3-5 Noi Mieu Alley-42, Hang Giay Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, 100000, Vietnam (Map)

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. 

NEXY HOSTEL

12 Pho To Tich, Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (Map)

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.

COCOON INN

Old Quarter, 116-118 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, 100000, Vietnam (Map)

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.

HOTELS

GOLDEN LEGEND DIAMOND HOTEL

18 Chan Cam, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (Map)

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

JW CAFE

$$-$$$, Japanese, Cafe, Seafood

8 Do Duc Duc | JW Marriott hotel, South Tu Liem District, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

DOWNTOWN CAFE & RESTAURANT

$$-$$$, Fusion, Vietnamese, Bar

17-19 Gia Ngu | Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, 100000, Vietnam (Map)

HOME HANOI RESTAURANT

$, Cuisine

34 Chau Long, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

BUN CHA TA

$, Asian, Vietnamese, Soups

21 Nguyen Huu Huan Street | Old Quarter, Hanoi 008404, Vietnam (Map)

ALWAYS CAFE

$$-$$$, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options

No 8b Hang Tre Street, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

THE GOURMET CORNER RESTAURANT

$$-$$$, European, Vietnamese, Asian

32 Lo Su Street, Hoan Kiem District | 12th Floor, Elegance Diamond Hotel, Old Quarter, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam 

(Map)

GRANDMA’S RESTAURANT

$$-$$$, Vietnamese, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options

6A Duong Thang | Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

HONG HOAI’S RESTAURANT

$, Vietnamese, Asian, Fusion

20 Bat Dan | Hang Bo, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

BANH MI 25

$, Fast Food, Asian, Vietnamese

25 Hang Ca Street | Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

NEW DAY RESTAURANT

$, Venezuelan, Vietnamese, Vegetarian Friendly

72 Ma May | Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (Map)

QUAN AN NGON

$$-$$$, Vietnamese, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options

18 Phan Boi Chan Street | Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

BUN BO NAM BO

$, Fast Food, Asian, Vietnamese

67 Hang Dieu, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

NAMASTE HANOI

$$-$$$, Indian, Asian, Vegetarian Friendly

46 Tho Nhuom Street | Hoam Kiem District, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

WHAT TO DRINK

WHERE TO DRINK

THE NOTE COFFEE

64 Luong Van Can, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (Map)

A cute little coffee shop with notes of positivity all over the place. Try their egg coffee. So good.

THE ALCHEMIST COCKTAIL BAR

19 Nguyen Quang Bich | 2nd Floor, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

A cool, dark, speakeasy type place specializing in classic cocktails. 

STANDING BAR

170 Train Vu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, 100000, Vietnam (Map)

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.

MAD BOTANIST GIN BAR

45 Ly Quoc Sur, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 1000000, Vietnam (Map)

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

TRAIN STREET

Located between Le Duan and Kham Tien streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter (Map)

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.

ST. JOSEPH’S CATHEDRAL

40 Nha Chung Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam (Map)

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.

OLD QUARTER

Hanoi, Vietnam (Map)

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.

HOAN KIEM LAKE

Hanoi, Vietnam (Map)

“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.

DAY TRIPS

SAPA

Lao Cai, Sapa, Vietnam (Map)

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.

HALONG BAY

Thanh Pho Ha Long, Quang Ninh, Vietnam (Map)

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.

CASTAWAYS ISLAND

Halong Bay, Vietnam (Map)

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.