Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade. There are many little temples, including Bach Ma, honouring a legendary horse, plus Đồng Xuân Market, selling household goods and street food. In the centre is Hoan Kiem Lake, it a central attraction where many people meet in the evenings and where the weekend market starts.

Not far from Hanoi is the wonder of the world Halong Bay, famed for its movie star scenery, as seen in the King Kong movie. Marvel at the scenery on a day trip or sleep under the stars on an overnight boat stay, either way, it is something not to be missed.

Hanoi

 

How to get to Hanoi

Hanoi does have an international Airport. However many travellers arrive here by bus from Hue or from neighbouring country Laos

Getting from the airport to the city:

  • Bus – You can get a local bus from outside the terminal building. The buses run every 15 -20 minutes. It will take an hour to get to the city centre

    • Bus number 7 connects the airport to Kim Ma bus station.

    • Bus number 17 connects the airport to Long Bien bus station           

                                

  • Taxi – Public taxis are located in both domestic and international arrivals. They’re metered taxis, so make sure they turn it on. The journey should take around 30 minutes depending on traffic

  • Shuttle bus – This option is a shared ride service, it’s a door to door service but will leave once it is full up.

  • Uber – Uber allows you to pay via your Uber account so you don’t have to worry about getting your money out. Uber also gives you an estimate on the fare and it’s pretty accurate.

  • Car Rental – There a rental car companies in the arrivals terminal. Be sure to check if you can drive here prior to booking. You can also reserve a car online via Rentalcars.

 

Where to stay in Hanoi

The main area to see in Hanoi is the old district, but there are the surroundings

  • The Old Quarter – Packed with culture, old buildings and Buddhist temples, the old quarter so the heart of the city. The old quarter is lined with market stalls that sell fabrics, silks, herbs. This is where you will find most of the hostels, and budget hotels

 

  • The French quarter – This is more upscale with luxury hotels and high end restaurants. The accommodation here will be a bit more expensive than on the old quarter

 

  • Ba Dinh District – This area is about 15 minutes from the hectic old town and is often a good alternative. There are plenty of restraints and budget hotels here. The main thing here is the historic significance and the sites it holds.
     

 

Things to do in Hanoi with children

 

  • Hoan Kiem Lake – This lake is in the centre of the old town, you can cross a bridge a visit the temple built on an island on the lake.

 

  • Old Quarter tour - There 2 ways to see the old quarter.

 

On foot - weave in and out the streets, looking at the various merchants selling herbs, silks, materials

By buggy – you can get a gold type buggy to take you around the old quarter and further for either 30 minutes or 1 hour. Very good to see it then go back on foot to see it more in detail.

 

  • Weekend Market - Every weekend the weekend market closes the roads to the cars and opens up the street to market stalls selling anything and everything, but this is where the best street food comes out.

 

  • Night Market -  Similar to the weekend market but cars still are allowed to pass through

 

  • Massages -  Like anywhere in Asia, the massages are cheap, so after long day of walking, why not treat yourself to a foot massage for an hour for around £3.50

 

  • Street Food - The old quarter has food stalls everywhere, you can just go up, and eat it standing there.

 

  • Halong Bay - Known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. You can take tours from Hanoi to get here.

 

  • One day trips

  • Overnight stays on Halong bay

 

Our overview of a day trip to Halong bay

 

We booked with Wonder Bay cruises a ‘luxury’ line. Apparently.

9 passengers max per minivan and 24 passengers max per boat

 

We were picked up at 8am ready to make the 4 hour long journey to Halong bay. We stopped for a toilet break, one a souvenir shop and the second a pearl factory which was quite interesting.

 

We arrived at the port, and waiting a short time for the second bus to arrive.

We walked along the pier to our boat and this was definitely the best boat there! A lovely clean boat, tables set. We were welcomed with a wet towel and welcome drink.

 

Then served lunch, a 5 course meal. The food was plentiful!!!

We had spring rolls, fried pineapple, chips, prawns, squid stir fry, chicken and cashew nuts, stir fried cabbage, rice, tofu in tomato sauce and fried nuts. The tour included afternoon tea of green tea and coconut cake.

 

We stopped to board a bamboo boat where we were led into the caves. Nathan cried almost the entire way, wanting to join Ricky in the canoe. Ricky chose to canoe around the bay and returned drenched in sweat!

 

We then rode the boat to the caves where after a short walk of approx. 300 steps (all level and small) we entered a brilliant cave of stalagmites.

 

We were then treated to afternoon tea on the journey back. We then re-boarded our bus and travelled 4 hours back to Hanoi. Arriving back at 9pm we were shattered!

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Hi Guys, here is a little it about us and how we ended up on this journey

 

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