moonwire

hanoi

Posted in hanoi, vietnam by moonwire on October 15, 2009

I left Bangkok on Saturday morning and flew into Singapore as my sister was due to arrive two hours after me. All went well. Her plane landed on time and we headed into the city to our hotel. At night we had Indian food at the outdoor Lavender food court and it was great. The next day we went to Orchard Road, which wasn’t really inspiring. I am not a big fan of Singapore, though I admire the cleanliness and the availability of everything.

Early evening we flew to Hanoi. I had arranged for the hotel to pick us up but they weren’t there so we took a taxi into the city. When we got to Mike’s Hotel they did not know about the pick up. Also, they had two rooms reserved for us. It was a bit bizarre but they offered us a free upgrade on the room. Well, when we saw the room big smiles appeared. A lot of space, a computer, fridge, safe, balcony. Absolutely fantastic. Really nice staff here as well so it’s all good.

However, at night we were hungry and didn’t realize that most things close early here. We couldn’t find any restaurant open at 11.30 pm, so we ended up with cup noodles. And we got lost trying to get back to our hotel. This city is a maze and the two maps we have, including the Lonely Planet one, are different from each other, and neither isĀ  accurate. Every time we leave the hotel we get lost somewhere. We started making jokes about it when planning our walking routes. We’d find the spots where we would get lost. And were pretty much right about it every time. However, after 4 days we’ve gotten slightly better.

We’ve taken it pretty easy. What we usually do is look for places to eat and then we walk around town getting there. So much to see here and it’s not overrun with tourists at all. I love the little streets and alleys. The people are friendly and the food is delicious. At night we do the same thing, but add a few beers to the story. The first two days we had great weather but for the past few days it’s been raining pretty much non stop. It doesn’t bother me all that much, but it’s hard to take photos when the rain comes down in biblical proportions.

The food in Hanoi has been great. We had the best spring rolls ever at Little Hanoi. We also had some delicious ‘cha ca’, which was roasted snake head fish in a broth with fresh herbs. They serve it with rice noodles and peanuts. It’s a good thing we only googled ‘snake head fish’ when we got back to the hotel, the photos didn’t particularly look appealing. However, the dish was very very good.

The city is fantastic. Probably the best city I’ve visited yet. I have a soft spot for Cambodia, because of the people, but city wise this is much nicer than Phnom Penh. The people here are easy going and friendly and there’s tons of little alleys with shops and restaurants. There’s so much to see here. And except for one afternoon, we haven’t ventured out of the Old Quarter. The newer part of Hanoi we saw wasn’t very inspiring. However, I could easily spend another week here, but we’re not. We’re flying out to Hue tomorrow morning.

I’m not really in a writing mood tonight, so here’s a few more photographs.

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