Due to a series of unexpected events, we cancelled our trip to the North of Vietnam and ended up spending Christmastime in the fascinating capital of the country. We fell in love with Hanoi. Here are eight reasons why:
1. Total Randomness
From tai chi, aerobics or dancing sessions in parks at 7 am to sidewalk barbers, Hanoi is a picturesque stage that constantly displays entertaining live performances.
2. Traffic Madness
- Number of people in Hanoi: around 8 million
- Number of motorcycles in Hanoi: around 4 million
They pop out of nowhere, giving you a nice shot of adrenaline each time: left, right, front, back, on sidewalks and sometimes even from inside shops!
3. Lakes Everywhere
Hanoi lies along the banks of the Red River and is known as the “city of lakes”. It is home to eighteen lakes, among which Hoan Kiem and West Lake are must-sees.
4. Girls Are Stylish
5. Coffee Ritual
Apart from the tea they serve instead of water, the Vietnamese coffee ritual in Hanoi is similar to the Italian one. Throughout the day locals gather to enjoy a coffee tailored to their liking. Don’t miss out on the egg coffee at Café Dinh.
6. Food Is an Experience
Hanoi offers a wide range of culinary choices. Whether you are more into the street food scene or fancy restaurants, there are many dishes to discover. Martino’s favorites include Cha Ca (turmeric fish with dill) and Nem Chua Be (crab rolls).
7. You Can Make Vietnamese Friends
As opposed to the other big cities we have visited in SEA (Singapore and Bangkok), we felt that Hanoi offered a greater chance for Westerners to mingle with locals in the long run. Learning Vietnamese is a must.
8. Perfectly Located
Hanoi is a strategic springboard for visiting the wonders of northern Vietnam. Trains and buses run everyday to popular destinations such as Sa Pa, Ninh Binh and Ha Long Bay.