June 09, 2018



Travel here if you like: City exploring, feasts, cheap beer and a rapid pulse

Best time of year: January, February, March because it is not too hot

Stay at: Sofitel Legend Metropole

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, located in the central part of the country.  We flew from Phuket to Hanoi on Thai Air and then Vietnam air and had a lovely experience.  Fun fact, Thai air serves these delicious calzone-like treats instead of the boring airplane pretzels!  But note, neither airline serves alcohol on any flight.  When you land at the airport, you must wait in line for your e-visa unless you travel with an agent; we went through Smartflyer on an Abercrombie and Kent trip, in which case our guide took care of the e-visa for us, collected our luggage and was waiting for us with our private car.  The airport is about 40 minutes from the Sofitel Legend Metropole, located in the French Quarter.  As you pull up to the front door, you FEEL the french influence!  The hotel looks like it belongs in New Orleans and all the shops surrounding you are Dior, Chanel, Hermes, etc.  A costumed bellman opens your door and the royal treatment begins.  We were escorted to our club level room where a bottle of honeymoon champagne awaited us.  The rooms are beautiful and open, and being on the club level is a must!  Hanoi has the most authentic Vietnamese cuisine and sometimes, you need a small break from all the fish sauce.  Complimentary, the club level has fresh fruits, charcuterie boards, croissants, champagne any hour of the day.  It was such a great place for us to start and finish our days.   There is so so so much to do and see in Hanoi!  Know there are people on motorbikes EVERYWHERE.  6 million people live in Hanoi, and 5 million own motorbikes.  There seems to be no traffic laws or concern for the street crossings.  Cross at your own risk…seriously!  Below we outlined a number of things to do and see while you’re visiting Hanoi- Enjoy!!

Things to Do:

  • Breakfast at the Sofitel Legend Metropole (a full french spread!)
  • Mausoleum- Ho Chi Minh is embalmed and on display
  • One Pillar Pagoda- tiny and perfect- and located behind the Mausoleum
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum- next to the one pillar pagoda, tour the museum to understand the former Prime Minister of Vietnam a little better
  • Temple of Literature- such a beautiful garden!  We walked in on a wedding with a young woman dressed perfectly in her red wedding gown
  • Central lake, red bridge and jade mountain- located in the center of the city, you can take a wonderful walk around the lake, seeing artisans and musicians and puppet shows all around. Cross the lake by way of the red bridge and through the Jade Mountain.
  • Pho Ga for lunch at Quan Mot Ngay Moi in the old quarter- $2 “chicken soup” and so delicious!
  • Bai Hoi corner for $.15 beers (bai hoi)!  We started at a place called Green Pepper and then kept bouncing down the street!
  • Old Quarter Tour- there is so much to see!  From jewelry vendors to beer spots, to jute sourcing… it can all be found in the Old Quarter
  • There is a bar called Obama Restaurant in the Old Quarter… we couldn’t stop laughing because it looks so out of place.  Did he visit here one time and they named it for him? Unclear.
  • Aha Cafe- plays 2000’s pop princess music and serves bai hoi… people watching the locals sing Britney Spears was amazing
  • Dinner and Drinks at Bamboo Bar- such a beautiful bar made purely of Bamboo.  Very creative cocktails too!

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