I found that when I was walking the streets of Hanoi, the energy from the locals was constantly sending me mixed signals. Food venders on the street might greet you when you smile into their bowl of mystery items and others pretend as if you don’t exist. Many tuk tuk drivers will offer you a kind ride, while others won’t hesitate to nip your heels along a cross walk. Maybe it’s because I was spoiled in Cambodia or that I’m usually staying with locals, but I was taken back by the overall “you’re just a tourist” vibe that dampened this city. I suppose thats what I get for visiting the second largest city in Vietnam. With that said, lets see what it has to offer!
Welcome to the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam!
Of course there’s a Pub… Haven’t found a country yet that doesn’t support an Irish drinking place!
These sweet girls welcomed me into their creative shop in which mostly everything was handmade by them right here in the store. What a beautiful group of ambitious ladies!
A breath of fresh air in this busy city can be found with a walk around the lake (the one seen from the balcony of the egg coffee cafe.
Like in most cities, as the sun goes down… the energy goes up!
The famous night market draws in a crowd looking for clothes, trinkets, food, drinks and pretty much anything else you can imagine that’s sellable to a willing customer.
This friendly couple from Sweden made dinner a treat by splitting a massive feast with me. Each table gets their own grill and a plate of raw food. You add the oil and seasonings, then stir-fry it up! I included the first photo just to show off my favorite mini table settings that the locals dine on.
If you’re not strolling the night market, just hitting the main streets will keep your eyes on the move!
Safety tips of the day:
1. Assuming pedestrians have the right away will get you hit by a speeding motorbike.
2. Once you commit to walking… Keep going! They’ll maneuver around you (That’s my noggin to the left of the photo).
3. If you can’t beat them, join em!
Time for a double connection! Egg coffee friends… meet barbecue night-market friends! On this evening, we chose to stay low key with the locals and take a tea on some mini stools.
Well thank you Hanoi for your introduction to Vietnam. Travelers, if you’re reading this for personal advice, here’s my quick thought:
If you’re coming for a personal “local” experience… get out of the city. If you’re coming for souvenirs and egg coffee… You’ve come to the right place.
For me, it’s time to get out of town! A spicy and extremely sweet local girl offered me a ride to the station so I wouldn’t have to deal with a cab or cranky tuk tuk driver. Thank you dear!
Not only did she drive me all the way there, she parked her bike, checked me in and then proceeded to walk me all the way to the bed I would be sleeping on during this 13 hour train
Dear mystery motorbike angel, your kind smile and sassy energy was not only appreciated, but adored!
Next stop, Hoi An!
Just incredible! Reading about your travels is better than a lonely planet guide or watching globe Trekker. I have been enjoying this so much.
great stuff, ran into your mom wednesday @ Trader Joes in Tallahassee. was great to catch up and see & hear about her new job etc.
ted & karen