The City of Lakes ~ Hanoi, Vietnam



To Hanoi



Noi Bai International Airport

Customs was on the second floor and baggage carousels were on the first floor.

ATM’s, Sim Card kiosks, food stalls and travel agencies are on the main exit, right-wing. The best prepaid Sim cards are Viettel and Mobifone.

VND 220,000 was the cheapest we found with 10 gigabytes, free calls and text messages for a month.


Transportation to Hanoi City

  • GrabCar

Fare: VND 300,000 – VND 350,000

Operating Hours: 24 hours

  • Taxi Share

Website

Fare: VND 150,000 – VND 220,000

Buses

Bus # 86

Location: ( International Airport )Exit, turn left and look for Stand # 2. Bus stop is opposite / across that stand ( International Airport)

( Domestic Airport) Exit, turn right and look for the sign ( picture below)

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Fare: VND 30,000

Operating Hours: 5:00 am – 1:00 am

Duration: 1 hour

Route

  • From airport to city center: Terminal 1 Terminal 2    VAECO Company ⇒ Au Co – Lac Long Quan (523 Au Co str)   Au Co – Xuan Dieu stop bus stop at intersection Yen Phu – Cua Bac  Long Bien Transpoint station 142 Tran Quang Khai  Hanoi Opera House  Hanoi Melia Hotel  ⇒ Hanoi Central Railway Station

Ask the conductor to inform you if  it is your stop. You can also show the address so he can suggest your nearest drop off.  

Bus # 7 and Bus #17

Location: Exit, turn left and walk towards the parking area

Fare: VND 5,000 ( Bus # 7) ; VND 9,000 (Bus # 17)

Operating Hours: 5:00 am to 10:00 pm

Duration: 1 hour

Important route of Bus # 7

Thang Long Bridge to Cau Giay  Kim Ma Bus Station ( final stop)

Important route of Bus # 17

Chuong Duong Bridge  Old Quarters  Long Bien Bus Station (final stop)

More information about buses click here

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Vietjet Bus

more info

Fare: VND 40,000

Vietnam Airlines Shuttle

more info

Fare: VND 40,000

Vietjet buses and Vietnam Air shuttles accommodate passengers coming from other airlines.



Recommendation



Accommodations

Airport View Hostel by HAAP

Address:  Dien Xa – Noi Bai Airport Area, Hanoi, Vietnam

@ booking

@ agoda

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We booked this hotel for a night after we had considered minor changes from our Airbnb accommodation. We reserved it for PHP 450.00.

Review

  • 15 minutes on foot or 5 minutes ride to / from Noi Bai International Airport. There is a big signboard along the highway making it easier to locate
  • Check-in/checkout was easy. They lock the gate during wee hours, but the receptionist will wait for the guests’ arrival.
  • Our room was on the second floor which made it convenient since they do not have elevators. Clean and spacious room with efficient air-conditioning system. They also provide hair dryer and electric kettle with free coffee and tea. 
  • Not many restaurants around the area and nothing much to do.
  • Their restaurant offers  inexpensive breakfast.

 Traditional Home at Hanoi

@ Airbnb

Address: Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

hanoi airbnb.jpg

Review

  • I can’t put in words how much I love this accommodation and our hosts, Thanh Lich and her daughter, Nam. They were the most accommodating people we’ve met in Hanoi.
  • The host will give the guest a map and an instruction in a self check-in.
  • The 3-storey house was very strategic; center and peaceful neighborhood. The first floor was the bathroom and a small bedroom. The second floor is the masters bedroom, spacious and equip with a closet, desk, TV, air conditioning system and electric fan. They have complementary coffee, tea and bottled water for each guest. Towels, toiletries, hair dryer and electric kettle were also provided. 
  • The veranda is on the third floor with a table, chairs and clothes rack. 
  • Since the host is lodging in the neighborhood, you can easily knock at her door for inquiries. Communication might be a barrier because she can’t speak English so a translator app is very helpful.
  • Close to coffee shops, restaurants, street food and a bus stop (Bus #86)
  • They offer a motorcycle rental for VND 80,000. It was an old version Honda but it was functioning properly.
  • We asked them a favor of keeping our luggage at their place after checkout for several days. We need to travel to Hoi An without any check in bags and they gladly accommodate our request for free.

Exchange Rate

Vàng Bạc Giang Sơn

Location: 130 Hàng Bạc Hanoi, Vietnam

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They offer the best rates of USD to VND exchange around the old quarters.



Places




Trấn Quốc Pagoda

Location: Thanh Niên, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: None

Opening Hours 11:00 am – 11:30 am / 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm ( Monday to Saturday) , 7:00 am – 6:00 pm ( Sundays or Holidays)

Parking: VND 4,000 ( motorcycle)

 PHOTOS

The pagoda was charming and tranquil, away from noisy streets of Hanoi.  It lies on a small island around the West Lake. This is one of the oldest and sacred temples in Hanoi, dress code and silence is a must. At the back area of the pagoda is a prayer room full of Buddha’s, one of the most interesting things that captured our interest.

West Lake

 

PHOTOS

The lake is the biggest freshwater at the North area of Hanoi. This part of the city is the residential area surrounded with expensive hotels, shopping malls, gardens and villas. Some people go to a high-rise café to appreciate the view of the lake, but we went to this modest shrine near Trấn Quốc Pagoda to get a free yet perfect view of it.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Location: 25 Hùng Vương, Điện Biên, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Entrance: Free ( sightseeing outside) , 10,000 VND  ( inside the mausoleum: Open at 8:00 am – 11:00 am daily except Mondays and Wednesday)

PHOTOS

The final resting place of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, so security is very strict at this place. Dress code is important and it is forbidden to carry luggage or cameras inside.

A few locals were jogging outside its vicinity. If you can wait long enough until 9 pm, you will witness a ceremony of lowering Vietnam flag. The place had a vast field good for sightseeing and relaxing.

Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long

Location: Quán Thánh, Ba Đình, Hanoi, Vietnam

Entrance: VND 30,000

Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 12:30 pm / 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm daily

Parking: VND 5,000 ( motorcycle)

PHOTOS

A significant structure of Vietnam’s culture and history and recognized as one of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Archaeological excavations are happening at area.

Upfront is the Đoan Môn, the main gate to the palatial complex of Later Lê Emperors. The second floor will give you a view of the neighborhood. At the back area is a garden with a few ruins preserved after the war.

Hoàn Kiếm Lake

Entrance Fee: VND 25,000

Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

PHOTOS

Top scenic spot in Hanoi. From the outside, you will see the Huc Bridge and the Turtle Tower. If you want to visit Ngoc Son Temple, Đắc nguyệt lâu (Moon Gazing Pavilion) and Pen Tower (Thap But), you need to pay VND 25,000 before crossing the bridge.

People in this area like sitting around the benches surrounding the lake during late afternoons while waiting for the sun to set. Crowded in the afternoon, magical in the evening because of the lights that would last until 12 midnight.

During the weekend, they will shut the road surrounding this lake to give way to the Weekend Night Market.20171007_000435.jpg

Weekend Night Market is a must visit If the weather is not good, they will close early. 

Weekends around the Lake

Location: South of Hoàn Kiếm Lake

PHOTOS

Locals with their friends and families enjoying street food, coffee, live music and recreational activities. Sundays in Hanoi are not only an ordinary weekend. It is THE weekend.

Shopping Streets

Location: Hang Dau Street, Nha Tho Street, Hang Bac Street and Hang Gai Street

PHOTOS

From seafood to street food to jewelries, clothes to gadgets to souvenir shops, these streets are in topsy-turvy with motorcycles, shoppers and sellers alike. Some perceive it a mess, others think it’s noisy but my boyfriend and I consider this place a perfect one to experience the real lifestyle of Vietnamese.

Center City and  Old quarters by Day

 

PHOTOS

One magical experience we had in Hanoi was walking all day and exploring as many corners of the city as we could. On every street we went to, we discovered something unique, something amazing, something that you will only see in Hanoi. The colorful streets of Hanoi and the preserved houses way back during the war filled our eyes and our hearts of so much beauty, all we wanted all day was to explore and get amazed some more.

Night Life

Location: Old quarters

PHOTOS

Hanoi is never complete without experiencing its nightlife. For only VND 5,000 a glass, you get to enjoy what locals call ” Bia hoi” or fresh beer in Hanoi.

Most corners of the old quarters are lively and crowded, some are a little quiet. At midnight, the police will go around the streets to close down stalls illegally serving beers on the pavement. Stall that has a legitimate space can still serve beer passed midnight, so if you want to morning the night you need to transfer from one spot to another.


Other places to see:



Food



Vietnamese Cuisine

Bun Cha

Grilled fatty pork with a plate of white rice noodle, herbs, vegetables and a dipping sauce.

PHOTOS

🍴 Bún Chả Hương Liên 

Address: 24 Lê Văn Hưu, Phạm Đình Hồ, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Price: VND 7,000 – VND 50,000

Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm

This restaurant is well-known because Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain ate here last 2016. The place used to be small but after their visit, they became so popular, they were able to renovate their restaurant

The famous Bun Cha is served at room temperature. The mixture of sugar, vinegar and fish sauce together gave the broth a taste of sweetness and sourness in one. The meat was soft and tender. They will serve the food with a basket of greens, rice noodles and spices.

Everything is dipped into the bowl and eaten together. We also ordered fried crab and a few seafood rolls. The fried seafood was delish but the crab rolls were too oily.

Restaurant was clean and easy to find. Service was fast as well but not to be visited during lunchtime or you will wrestle with tourists packed in huge groups.

Other places to 😋 Bun Cha:

  • Bún chả 34 Hàng Than – 34 Hàng Than, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Hà Nội, Vietnam
  • Bun Cha Ta Hanoi – 21 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Pho

 Rice noodles soup with herbs and meat (either beef or chicken) 

PHOTOS

🍴 Pho Gia Truyen

Address 49 Bát Đàn, Cửa Đông, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Price: VND 45,000 – VND 50,000 / bowl

Opening Hours: 6:00 am – 10:00 am / 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm daily

I fell in love with Pho from the moment I tasted it at this restaurant. A small place near the old quarters; this is famous for both locals and tourists. Because they have limited seating capacity, the customers need to queue and wait for others to finish eating.

The taste of their Pho was mouthwatering. Served simmering hot and best eaten with fried bread stick ( VND 5,000 – VND 10,000/plate )

Other place to 😋 Pho:

  • Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su – 10 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Bún ốc

Tomato based snail vermicelli soup

PHOTOS

🍴 Bún ốc cô Huệ

Location: 43 Nguyễn Siêu, Hàng Buồm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Price: VND 25,000 – VND 35,000 / bowl

Opening Hours: 6:00 am3:00 pm daily

Ask a local where to eat the best Bún ốc and they will advise you to visit this local restaurant. I am not a fan of snails but as what I promised my boyfriend, we will try as many Vietnamese dishes as we could while we are in this city.

The small snails were edible but the big one was very slimy. The soup and the noodles were great, a very healthful tomato based soup.

Restaurant  was very small and full of local people. They don’t offer any other dishes, only Bún ốc.

Other place to 😋 Bun Oc:

  • Madam Luong –  34 – 64 Ngõ 191 Khương Thượng, Quận Đống Đa, Hà Nội

Bánh cuốn

Vietnamese steamed rice rolls

PHOTOS

🍴 Bánh Cuốn Bà Hanh

Address: 26B Thọ Xương Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Prices: VND 48, 000 – VND 75, 000 / basket

Opening Hours: 6:00 am – 10:00 pm

Because of waze, we could find our way to most places in Hanoi especially this restaurant. Hidden in a quiet alley, this restaurant is another hidden gem. You have a choice either on a traditional plastic stool while observing them make your food or sit on a standard boring chair with a street view.

They offer combo meals so you can taste everything in one order. It consists of rice rolls, omelette with mushrooms, cinnamon lean pork pie, lemon grass skewer, salad and a choice of soy milk or cola. Prices differ from the quantity of rice rolls you order.

Though the food has been served in a basket, it was a very light meal. It was freshing and tasty. Staffs were laid back and friendly.

Other places to😋 Bánh cuốn:

  • Bánh Cuốn Nóng Kim Thoa – Bánh Cuốn Nóng 49 Hàm Tử Quan, 49 Hàm Tử Quan, Phúc Tân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
  • Gone Quan Banh Bao Khanh – 14 Báo Khánh, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Xôi

Glutinous sticky rice with egg, different kinds of meat, liver and sausage

PHOTOS

🍴 Xôi Yến

Address:  35B Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam

Prices: VND 25,000 – VND 50, 000 / bowl

Opening Hours: 4:00 am – 11:30 pm

After 3 days in Vietnam, I started craving for rice, and through the effort of my boyfriend, he found this place excited to surprise me.

The small restaurant is popular for take-out food and packed with local people. Menu had English translation in it.

The sticky rice is served in bowl with meat toppings and they offer free soy milk and tea to the customers. Toppings were pork, chicken, beef, eggs, dried fish, sausages and liver, saute in soy sauce or deep fried.

The saltiness of each meat complemented each other but I think it could have been better if it were just a conventional rice, still, all I want to say is” Ahku, I love you, thanks for the gesture. Next time, I will be more specific what type of rice I’m craving for”.

Other place to 😋 Xôi:

  • Pho Ga Xua Glutinous Rice – 52 Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

 Bun dau mam tom

Vietnamese noodle with fried tofu and fermented shrimp paste served in a basket

🍴 Ma May Street, Hanoi Vietnam

Price: VND 30,000 / person

Opening Hours: 10:00 am11:00 pm daily

Filipinos love fermented fish. We eat it with bananas, sweet potatoes and rice but Vietnamese love it with their rice noodles and fried tofu.

Our friend Joris, insisted we must try this before our flight back to the Philippines and we were blest we did.

The fermented fish was superb. It was not too salty and it went perfectly with the cold rice noodles and the crispy hot tofu.

How to eat it:

  1. Add lime into the shrimp paste and mix it well until it changes to frothy greyish color.
  2. Dip the fried tofu and the rice noodles to the shrimp paste. 
  3. You need to eat a Vietnamese balm leaves with every bite to enhance the flavor.
  4. Always prepare extra wet wipes or alcohol with you. The food has a very strong smell, if it will spill, the smell could last for a day

Other place to😋 Bun dau mam tom:

  • Phat Loc Alley – Ngõ  Phát Lộc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

 Roti

Soft bread with filling inside such as matcha coffee, chocolate, vanilla coffee and salty cheese

🍴 King Roti

Address: 34 Hanggai, Hoankiem, Hanoi, 34 Hàng Gai, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Price: VND 14,000 / bread

Opening Hours: 7:00 am  – 11:30 pm daily

Take-out order only. A popular snack to locals and best eaten while it’s still hot with egg coffee. They will run out of buns after 5:00 pm. My favorite here was chocolate and vanilla.

 Sữa chua mít 

A mixture of yogurt, fruits and sweet beans

🍭 Mr. 100

Address: 3 Hàng Đường,  Quận Hoàn Kiếm,  Hà Nội

Price: VND 17,000 – VND 25,000

Accidentally discovering this while we were walking around the streets of Hanoi. After a long, tiring day, this is ideal to rejuvenate your energy. Sweet because of the fruits and beans, sour because of the yogurt. Crushed ice makes it cold and crunchy.

I saw this many of times while exploring. I was hesitant because most stalls lack hygiene. When I spot it again at Mr. 100, I was pleased to finally try it after seeing their stall was clean and organize. I had an unfortunate episode of travelers diarrhea when I was in Bali, Indonesia, now, I was extra careful when it came to food with ice.

Other place to 😋 Sữa chua mít 

  • Cửa Hàng Chè – Sữa Chua Mít – Caramen –  9, Đường Bà Triệu, Quận Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Other Vietnamese food to try:

Chả Cá Hà Nội ( Turmeric Grilled Fish) click here

Bánh Tôm ( Sweet potato shrimp fritters) click here

Bún Thang ( Vermicelle soup with chicken, egg and pork) click here


Banh Mi 

Filled baguette with meat, pickled vegetables, eggs, liver and chili pepper

🥖 Banh Mì 25

Address: 25 Hàng Cá, Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Prices: VND 15,000 – VND 25,000

Opening Hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

PHOTOS

Customers, most of them were foreigners, had dining area where they wait for their order to be served after ordering it on their stall.

It was delicious but lacked something else. Something was missing making their Banh Mi fall to “okay”. The ingredients were fresh but it was more vegetables than meat. Choices of sausage, honey glazed chicken and pork barbecue with or without pate.

Their small restaurant was cute. Most of their furniture was native. Adequate ventilation and lighting as well. They also sell drinks and ice creams

 🥖 Banh My Ngon

Location: 20 Hàng Buồm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Prices: VND 15,000 – VND 30,000

Opening Hours: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm

PHOTOS

No signs to locate this stall making it hard to find. All you need to remember is the picture of the pushcart then you would know you are indeed in the right place.

Customers are seated on a stool, literally, on the street where people walk. Tables? None, so basically what you have are just stools. The taste of her Banh Mi was way better than the famous Banh Mi 25.  The bread was crunchy, the ingredients were fresh and the meat was in big serving. As we bite down it, we could taste the saltiness of the pate and the tenderness of the meat. The vegetables added more flavor and crunchiness on it. The is by far, the best Banh Mi we tried in Hanoi.

We bought another two before we went to the airport to catch our flight to Da Nang.

🥖 Taste of Europa

Address: Old Quarters, Hanoi

Price: VND 20,000

Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm

More of a Doner Kebab than a Banh Mi. Stalls like these are everywhere in Old Quarters. It was all right, I did enjoy it, but Ahku did not like the ketchup in it. Maybe it could have been better if there were more meat and vegetables inside.

Other places to 😋 Banh Mi:

  • Bánh mỳ sốt vang –  252 Hàng Bông, Cửa Nam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
  • Banh Mi Ngon Ha noi – 1 Cầu Gỗ, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Coffee


☕ Cafe Phố Cổ

Address: 11 Hàng Gai, Hàng Trống, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Hours: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm daily

Prices: VND 25,000 – VND 45,000

PHOTOS

Known to have a good view of the lake Hoan Kiem while drinking a fine coffee of your choice. A hidden gem in the middle of the congested streets of Hanoi, this cafe at the back of a small shop. You need go in a shop and walk the dark alley.

Since the coffee shop occupies four floors, you must order on the first floor then take the stairs to the second and third floor and a spiral staircase to the roof deck to appreciate the splendid view of the lake. A terrific place to relax after walking around Hanoi.

Best in the evening because it can get really humid in the afternoon. The place was artsy, clean and indeed a hidden gem. Fruit with yogurt was delicious but the egg coffee was better at Giảng Cafe. Service was good as well.

☕ Giảng Cafe

Website

Address: 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Hours: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm

Price: VND 25,000 – VND 55,000

PHOTOS

A small two-storey cafe that is quite hard to find. It has limited seating capacity that can only accommodate less than 40 people. The place looked like an old house converted to a coffee shop. First floor did not look like a coffee shop so we wondered if we were at the correct place.  Most costumers hangout at the second floor

The coffee shop was decorated with paintings and given a rustic ambiance. There were many tourists, probably it was in their street food walking tour. The menu did not have a price on it but when we got the bill, the coffee was quite cheap.

My boyfriend’s coffee was strong with a hit of sweetness because of the condensed milk but my EGG COFFEE was heaven. First, will taste the sweet frothy egg on top as you sip through the cup then the strong coffee smoothly slides through your lips and into your taste buds and that’s when reality hits you, “WOW! Now that is a strong one”

The staffs and the owner of the shop were friendly, offering his kitchen to us so we could observe how they create their coffee. The place could have been better but for this cafe, I will give it 5 stars because I am a biased person and I love their egg coffee.

☕ Cong Caphe

 Website

Address: 101 Hoang cau st, Dong da, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam

Hours: 7:30 am – 11:00 pm

Prices: VND 35, 000 – VND 50,000

PHOTOS

This became my boyfriend’s favorite coffee shop in Hanoi after he had tried their cold coffee with milk and coconut. This coffee shop is popular everywhere in Hanoi and one branch was close to our Airbnb accommodation.

A lot of art and painting decorated on the walls. The army uniform of the waitresses gave more character to the place.

They serve only coffee so you can bring food without corkage. The coffee we tried was delicious and strong, but I was not a big fan of their coffee with sticky rice.

The staffs were all friendly and accommodating. Perfect place to hang out and relax while looking at the bustling street of Hanoi full of wild motorcycles.

☕ Coffee shop with a city view

Address: Số 2 Lãn ông, Hanoi, Vietnam

Price: VND 15,000 – VND 35, 000

After our Halong Bay Cruise trip, we asked the guide to drop us off randomly in the center city. Got lost trying to look somewhere to rest, we stumbled to this coffee shop with a very warm owner and his wife.

His coffee shop was on this old two-story French looking building. The stairs were small and steeped that you may need to leave your luggage on the first floor. They will gladly keep it for you.

The coffee and lemon juice was inexpensive and good, but what we really enjoyed in this small cafe was the view from the balcony of the busy street near the market streets of Hanoi



From Hanoi to other places

click here



From Hanoi to Domestic or International Airport ( Noi Bai)

click here

After a week of adventure in Hanoi, Halong, Da Nang and Hoi An, we were ready to head home. We took the bus #86 to the airport, 2 hours before our flight.

  • Security at the entrance – fast
  • Check in and luggage drop-off – Long queue
  • Immigration / Customs – fast
  • Final security check – braise yourself for the long everlasting chaotic queue. You need to take your shoes off, empty your pockets and take off your watch and belt

There are a few restaurants and souvenir shops at the terminal gate but most of the prices were in U.S dollars. A simple sandwich would cost $ 11 and a small cup of instant coffee is $ 2. Everything at this airport is expensive.

Flights were on time. Tickets and passports were checked before boarding the plane.


 

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