Hanoi, Vietnam

City in the North


8/3/20233 min read

The northern-most stop in my Vietnam tour, and the final leg of my journey here, before flying to the next country on my itinerary!

I booked 2 nights here before my trip to Ha Long Bay, and returned for 1 night after, as I will fly to Dubai from here. It was just a whistlestop really, either side of my superb Ha Long experience, so I had to hustle and pack in as much as I could in the short time. As it rained constantly for the first 2 days, I spent a chunk of my time creating content for posts, booking flights, finding future accommodation, and sorting Visas.

The full day I had in Hanoi after Ha Long was a different story though! The city really turned up the heat, and not a drop of rain in sight. In the morning, I got out to an area called West Lake - just a short grab-ride from my hotel in Old Quarter. I will say - my hotel here was another good choice - **** LA PASSION HANOI HOTEL & SPA, HANOI **** (hotels-in-hanoi.net) . Lovely staff, and a free breakfast upgrade thanks to reaching another level through my booking.com account.

So after the thrill of the scooter ride in traffic that made Bali look like a back-country road on a Sunday, I found a salad and an avocado smoothie to enjoy from the top of a building that provided the most amazing skyline views of the city! (pics below). After that I walked so many km's exploring, that I got a bit lost again. In 33deg heat that wasn't ideal. Fortunately, just as I was about to rustle up a 'plan B', I was offered a ride by a tuk-tuk driver.. perfect! What a great way to see the city! He pedaled me around parts of the city I would never have been able to walk to, and although he spoke very little English, for a full hour he was able to point out some of the monuments and landmarks for me to photograph, as well as a beautiful old church, and the yellow building in the pics below is the Opera House. It was nice to discover some really beautiful parts to the city, as the parts I had seen in the 2 days before Ha Long, were underwhelming. I had chosen to stay in 'Old Quarter' - as it sounded like it may have been a little more 'quaint' - and perhaps similar to the 'Old Town' in Hoi An that I loved so much. Not to be. Old Quarter here is just that. A section of the city that is old, dirty, run-down and bustling. That being said, I did get a better view of it on-board the tuk-tuk and I guess it's a real snapshot of typical urban Vietnam.

As I had checked out of my hotel at 12pm lunchtime and stored my bags, I had several hours to kill before heading to the airport at around 8pm for the almost-1-hour drive in the traffic. Easy decision.. the rest of time was spent having a few hours of inexpensive but luxurious pampering. A full-body 1 hour warm oil massage, followed by a fresh manicure, then a Vietnamese tradition (apparently).. a 'nourishing shampoo'!!.. for the grand sum of about $7 NZD, I was treated to 45 minutes of the most amazing head massage, shampoo and hair treatment, with a mini cleansing facial and a full neck and shoulder massage! ADD IT TO YOUR ITINERARY IF YOU'RE HERE!

And that's a wrap on 'Nam. Happy days at the airport, with my final hours spent in the Emirates lounge, to grab a fresh shower, something good to eat, and a comfy leather armchair to relax in - while I get this blog out. Dubai here I come!!

P.S.. plot twist on the 'Coming Up' page (check it out, as I've changed it up so I can follow the sun!)

Hanoi happenings ...