I just spent the most amazing 10 days in Vietnam! Vietnam was never at the top of my to-do list but so many other travelers recommended it that I added it to my Southeast Asia itinerary. Flying from Hong Kong, where I started my Southeast Asia trip, to Hanoi was quick, easy, and a non-stop flight!
The Confucius Temple of Literature was my first sightseeing stop. Getting there included dodging mopeds on the street because sidewalks here are petty much non-existent as they are filled with Vietnamese in small plastic chairs, vats of noodles being cooked, and parked mopeds. Crossing streets safely in Vietnam is a skill, one that I had not yet acquired.
The Temple of Literature, dedicated to Confucius, holds education in high regard and is the scene for graduations and other educational ceremonies for Hanoians. Usually powerful people get monuments but I really dig the idea of honoring smart people and those who choose learning and teaching.
Hanoi offers a lot of shopping in the Old Quarter where my AirBnB was located. You can buy North Face jackets, backpacks, Under Armour gear or get tailor-made suits and dresses. All my purchases were of the food variety. I had some fresh pineapple, baby bananas, bahn mi sandwiches and coconut iced coffees.
Bahn mi from Bahn Mi 25:
Technically Hanoi was supposed to be starting their winter season but it was still 85 degrees and humid so the coconut iced coffee from Cong Caphe hit the spot!
The railway that doubles as a street where people live:
Did I mention there are no traffic lights or at least no traffic lights that people stop at or pay attention to? But mostly everyone goes slow enough as to dodge other traffic and not crash.
Hanoi was a delicious city with delicious food spanning from bowls of noodles on the street to fine dining. I usually lean towards the more casual options while traveling but my group and I went to a nicer sit down place once. Summer rolls (called non-fried spring rolls here) were fresh and tasty.
My entrée was actually ginger chicken and purple rice because they ran out of the fish cooked in banana leaf that I originally ordered. You know when you have to make a split second decision and you have not looked at all your options, the waiter said this was his favorite so I went with it. It was very, very good. I was very happy with this dinner, even though at $11 (including beer, appetizer, and entrée) it was more costly than the rest of my food in Hanoi put together! Did I mention how inexpensive things are here?!
Because I don’t want you to think I’m super-gourmet, here is my street breakfast, eggs, potatoes, and some unknown substances all mixed together. It was delicious but still have no clue what it is exactly!
Hanoi was a wonderful start to Vietnam and I hope to be back some day to explore the city more.
Reader Question: Have you ever driven a moped or scooter? Would you do it in mega amounts of traffic in Vietnam?