The place to be in finding cheap food and clothing is at Hanoi. This is backed up on the backpacker index website where it shows the average cost based on accomodation and food. The only problem here is that there some eateries are not fixed price so it would be wise to know how much it is before ordering, otherwise you can book yourself to go for a street food tour which we highly recommend. The weather is pretty cooling and getting light showers at this time. Such a difference going up north.
Airport / Bus
First things first, we arrived at Hanoi via flight from Da Nang courtesy by Jetstar. So in the early hours wandering around the Hanoi airport we then have to find a bus to the center. We took the bus for Vietnam airlines passengers bus it appears they dont really care which company flight you took from. The busses are not really courtesy so may need to fork out 100K VND, I guess that might be the norm but we really want how close we get dropped off near the center.
The drop off was near to the lake, and we see the most amazing lake we encountered. Little did we know, there’s a little land called turtle island in the center of the lake.
So many photos to capture of this marvel, plus there’s gardens on the side that this is the place to go jogging around. Speaking of jogging, we need to do a bit of exercise considering we’re eating a lot.
So we started our day looking for food, till we stumble upon this little shop that only serve dumplings- vietnamese style.
Note: we tend not to go to restaurants but try to eat with the locals and enjoy the local atmosphere.
The walk from the Lake was about 10 minute walk but it was nice to see places like the cathedral and other local street foods on the side. We unloaded our bags at Hotel Rendezvous Hotel. It’s a nice place and is situated close to the pub street and other hostels. The lodging cost about $6 per person for the dorm, luckilly we got upgraded to a nice private room on the top floor.
After a good hike at the top and as we entered to our room, Wow! it’s not bad for travelling Backpackers. It has a double bed, including fridge, our own bathroom and a TV. This is luxury but there’s a downside to this, we end up spending a mere 2-4 hours watching movies. On the other hand we used this time to get re-charged.
Night time already!!?? We wondered through the streets around our area and there seems some sort of a pattern. There are streets that specialised in selling clothes, purchasing liquor and street foods. The place has a good vibe and many tourists alike trying to bargain with better price. It’s also tourist friendly in terms of food as most of it are fixed price. Note: Try to ask the price first or you get screwed over.
Dinner / Nightlife
We ate a place that is similar to Korean BBQ / Hotpot. You get a few side dishes, veggies and noodles. Altogether including beer is around $18 (300K VND).
After our lovely dinner and dessert, we stopped for cheap beer, which the locals calls it Bia Hoi. Really cheap, cost around 5000K VND, thats like 30 cents!! In the Pub Street, there are lots of shops that plays live music, we found it really cool and the music is mostly alternative rock. Apart from that, we went to the rolling stones pub which was recommended by our hotel staff to check it out. The music was good, the atmosphere is low key although the room is a bit too smokey. The night ended when a curfew has signalled at the stroke of Midnight. With every raindrop falls into our heads, its time to head back with limited battery usage.
We previously had a setback in our accommodation. It appears we have to move to a dorm room style. Having really settled nicely in our double room, this has left a bad taste of thier service. Kindly enough, they heard our complaints and they’ve offer a free brekky tomorrow at no charge. We’re satisfied with the outcome of free food which is nice. Oh well, this made us hungry as we havent eaten yet until I found this off beaten track.
Street Food Tour
In the continuation of our degustation of Hanoi food, we applied for a free street food tour to showcase what do the locals eat for lesser price. I would say this was the highlight. Our local guide’s name is Nga, and she’s a volunteer who is currently in her studies. She used her time by inviting us to the local eateries and the surroundings of Hanoi. Tipping is optional but it’s cool to offer.
The food are exceptional, very delicious and really cheap for the portion we ate. I think in total we paid per person is $7. We end the night by having egg coffee which is really filling thats overlooking the lake and the city. We don’t particularly like the coffee, i think because we’re too full.
Having spent our best nights/days at Hanoi, we definitely come back here if the weather is permitting. Overall our experience in Hanoi is the best and I would recommend visiting. At this stage, we are very anxious/nervous and yet excited to start our first volunteering experience at Haiphong. We will travel there by bus so we’re not waking up early to travel.
Visiting Hanoi is a must if you are a food enthusiast but there’s other places to see whilst you’re here
- Women Museum
- Lenin Park
- Old Quarter Area
- Ho Chi Minh’s Tomb
The women museum is wonderful to see, there’s a fee to enter and a good insight throughout the history of how women in Vietnam perservered, admired and respected. Next door to the museum is a shopping area where you can get some cheap clothes if you don’t feel like to haggle.
As expected, we got free breakfast in the morning after. Thank you Hanoi Rendezvous Hotel.
On a side note, i thought we saw a doppelganger of Kim Jung-Un whilst sitting inside the coffee shop. Anyways – Volunteering here we come 🤗