My parents were Made In C̶h̶i̶n̶a̶ Hanoi, so I knew I would remember this trip forever.
If you can, visit the destinations of where your parents lived, everything about your upbringing will unravel during your journey.
My background originates in China; both sets of my grandparents packed up their bags (and their kids) to begin a new chapter in Vietnam.
Okay, Hanoi, the first thing I recommend to you: Eat. Bun Cha. Immediately.
Chargrilled pork & lettuce on a bed of rice noodles splashed with fish sauce. Mouthwatering and gratifying, there’s also a spring rolls version (Bun Chao Gio), sometimes I can’t decide between which I like best.
Head to a street-side cafe, go for the sort of establishment which has makeshift tables & plastic chairs. It’s fast food at its best.
The first place we explored around was Hoan Kiem Lake, located right in the centre of the capital. Look out for the Tortoise Pagoda, the shrine to giant turtles.
The lake calms the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s the only place where you can escape the noise. It reminds me of Central Park in NYC. If you go early in the morning, you can go and watch the locals perform Tai Chi.
Since having my first sip of Vietnamese iced coffee on the Mekong River, I had to grab one of my own.
We discovered a cute French-like riverside cafe. I opted for a chocolate iced coffee; I always have time for chocolate.
There’re lots of things to do in the capital.
One must bargain their ass off at The Old Quarter. Head to Dong Xuan Market. You’ll spot a lot of naughty fake goods like (Mulberry & Burberry) and ‘Folex’ (Fendi and Rolex). I think we can all agree that they’re novelties and that we prefer the real deal so put your feet up, I’ve added a cheeky widget below for you to shop in your PJ’s.
Head to the temples to imitate a magpie and admire all the shiny things.
I would recommend a visit to the Women’s History Museum; learn about the daily lives of struggling women in Vietnam.
We went to watch a Water Puppet show; the puppets are carved from wood and performed in a waist-deep pool. Mind the loud opera singing, it’s all in Vietnamese, so if you don’t know the language, you won’t have a clue what they’re chanting. It was probably one of the most bizarre shows I’ve seen, but it’s a unique experience.
For our last night in Hanoi, we treated ourselves in a rooftop restaurant which overlooked the lake.
The sights are incredible.
Escaping the crowds + eating your weight in food = bliss.
I had the seafood fried rice, fragrant & hearty rice with squishy yet crunchy seafood married in a tangy sauce.
If you’re ever in my parent’s hood, remember to eat the Bun Cha.
Location: Vietnam – Hanoi