Words by, Igee Okafor
From its busy bike filled streets to its senescent buildings, every quarter presents an interesting aura and moment well worthy of a still or motion capture. If you are planning a trip or are already well on your way to Hanoi, Vietnam - see below for recommendations that are sure to rouse activity for your experiencing pleasure.
Where To Stay:
Staying at Hanoi Space Hotel, you're positioned right in the center of the Old Quarter, Hanoi's most commercial district. It's a small hotel but the rooms are spacious, neat and comfortable. The air conditioning and heating are guest controlled. Some of the rooms feature balconies that reveal alluring views of the old quarter's architecture and the very lively events that take place during the day and night so if you can, opt for those. Expect the most polite and effective guest service. The hotel managers are so lovely. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with drinks and complimentary breakfasts are available for guests for as long as stay at the hotel. How lovely!
Where To Eat:
In Hanoi, there is food everywhere. The establishments are not quite as fancy or as expensive as they can be in New York, Paris or Milan but this should be a good thing if you're looking to experience the town like a local.
Thuy Ta Cafe Bo Ho was one of the four restaurants I tried out in Hanoi. A lot of mixed review online but funny enough, it was the one I enjoyed the most - in terms of food, and comfort. There are a variety of food options to order from and even though it took a bit of time to receive my meal (maybe due to the fact I was with three other people and we ordered quite the amount), it was well worth it. Very tasty.
The cherry on top is the beautiful view of the Hoan Kiem lake. It is quite spectacular. Think of the scene in The Sound of Music when Maria and the seven children fall out of the boat into the lake out of excitement for Cap Von Trapp's return home - Yes, the view of the lake is very similar.
Where To Drink:
If you're looking for an establishment that keeps more of a relaxed, low profile while you're still in the process of getting your day started in the morning, sitting outside of Cong Caphe is the answer. Coffee is the go to here but I opted for fruit juice.
What To Do:
Don't worry, I'll leave it to google or your tour guide to give you a history lesson but trust me, this is a major tourist attraction that is worth a visit. So much antiquity. If you take a chance deciding to visit the site, you'll be refreshed by its quietness and relaxed aura. The lake is breathtakingly beautiful and the red bridge other than its historical backing, makes for great #travelgram documentations.
While Ha Long Bay is not in Hanoi, It is definitely a four hour trip I recommend taking from Hanoi. Booking a trip and details of the experience can be handled by your hotel. Be prepared for thrilling views of emerald waters, caves and unsurpassed islands. Second guessing? Take a look at this view and see if you change your mind.
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In affiliation with Cathay Pacific. The standpoints articulated above are personal opinions, and are not representative of the stance or ranking of Cathay Pacific.