We’ve been in Hanoi for just over a week now. Renting a small flat through AirBnB and really enjoying having some extra space. Trying to feel at home and explore the city without doing too much sightseeing.
The flat is located perfectly between Hoan Kiem lake, the old town and the French Quarter. The old cathedral is just around the corner surrounded by small restaurants and bars, plus an infinite number of local cafes / beer places. Further into the old town it get a little too unbearably crowdy, due to the traffic.
We’ve done lots of walking around the city and you see some really eclectic buildings and extensions.
Cong Cafe is our favourite for the cool retro interiors and in particular the yoghurt coffee is irresistible (in spite of neither of us being coffee drinkers normally!). The wifi in the flat is not the best so it’s a good place to check emails.
Nick trying to find the best wifi signal during a particularly patchy skype call to renew our car insurance at home.
West Lake, a short taxi ride from the centre offers some breathing space.
One of the few touristy things we’ve done is to go to the Water Puppet Theatre. The show is cute and we learnt the story of the giant turtles supposedly still living in Lake Hoan Kiem although we’ve seen no sign of them.
Narelle, who works with Dong, our AirBnB landlady took us to her favourite Bia Hoi restaurant. It wasn’t somewhere we would ever have found on our own or that we would have considered. The sizzling beef was delicious and we went back again a few days later.
We’ve now organised our visa and train tickets to China, leaving on 1 May. We’ve still got time to get to know the city better however so far we still prefer Saigon which seems a lot more complex and to have more style. Hanoi seems to operate on two levels, one aspect has some sophistication and the rest occupies one level which is predominantly local.
The weather is mixed at the moment with some rain and thunderstorms after a couple of really hot days. We are hoping for sunshine next weekend as we are going to Halong Bay for a couple of days…
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