First Impressions of Hanoi

We arrived at Hanoi, tired and jet-lagged but so ready to explore. It was about 18:00, an hour wait and the night market was due to start. We were so hungry and there was so much to chose from. Eventually, we sat on tiny stalls down a side street and had beef noodles and lemon chicken with rice. The food was okay but didn’t meet our expectations.

Our first impressions of Hanoi weren’t brilliant, surrounded by nothing but mopeds and locals trying to sell you things.

We figured that it’s just something we need to get used to and that it’s just their culture, so maybe that’s why we weren’t overly impressed to start with.

After we had our dinner, we walked around and discovered an interesting looking bar, with lights and beer bottles hanging from the ceiling. We sat there for a while and enjoyed a refreshing beer whilst watching all the tourists and locals begin their night out.

Our first full day in Hanoi.  

We woke up in good time ready to start exploring. Although still jet-lagged and tired, we powered through it to see what Hanoi has to offer. We took a 20-minute walk to get to the Hoa Lo Prison, but stopping off for a Banh Mi (meat in a baguette) which was our breakfast although it was quite disappointing – so James had half of mine as well.

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We made it to the prison which was really interesting holding a lot of History which we were unaware of, it was a real eye-opener as to how the Vietnamese people were treated by the French in the early 1900’s.

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This attraction was 30,000VND (just over £1.00) and was worth the small money.

When we finished at the prison, we went to see the Ho Hoan Kiem Lake and the Den Ngoc Son Temple which was very pretty, with interesting trees.

It was very picturesque. This attraction was also 30,000VND, although we got our ticket for free from some other tourists who were unable to enter (bonus!).

In the evening, we went to a food stall where we sat and had our dinner. I had chicken cashews with rice and James had beef noodles.

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As you can tell, this was demolished

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It really is a brilliant atmosphere just watching people go past us and enjoying their Friday night out, whilst we did the same. I must also add that I’ve never seen James’ face light up so much at the fact we could get 2 beers for 25,000VND (about 90p) – miracles can happen! The nightlife was buzzing, there were street performers scattered around the place and everyone just seemed so happy.

It was a great first day in this city and although we wouldn’t rush to come back, we would still recommend it if you aren’t phased by hustle and bustle and ALOT of mopeds.

Our Journey To Hanoi

After 20+ hours of travelling, 2 flights (London to Dubai and then Dubai to Hanoi), not much sleep and already dreading the heavy bags, we finally arrived in Hanoi at about 16:00 (their time).

We waited around at the airport for about an hour and a half. We went straight to the Visa border where we handed over our Approval Forms and signed application forms, as well as our passports. We were waiting for around 20/30 minutes (however this could have been a much longer process if another plane full of people got there before us). We got our Visas and were officially through – the journey properly starts now!

As soon as we had got through all the required checks, we went to get our bags, that’s when we experienced our first moment of panic. James’ bag came out straight away, 15 minutes later and still no sign of my bag, another lot of bags from another flight started to come through and I honestly thought I was going to be wearing James’ boxers for part of my trip. Eventually, after stressing and sweating I saw my bag and can honestly say the sense of relief was the best feeling ever!

We jumped in our cab and was finally on our way to our hotel!