Where is Hanoi?
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is located in the northern region of the country and is most known for having beautiful lakes, a wide variety of food and a quarter deeply rooted with history and culture. I highly recommend that people stay here for a couple of days to get a proper Hanoi experience and that people eat as much great food as they can. It is important to note that there is a drastic difference in weather depending on the time of year one finds themselves in northern Vietnam. Personally, I noticed that in October it was SO hot (28 degrees Celsius/83 degrees Fahrenheit) along with 69% humidity, and when I was there in January, it was only 17 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit). Needless to say, I was looking forward to going south as soon as possible. Along with the weather, one should also be warned that Hanoi is insanely busy with scooters and cars creating non-stop traffic along with hundreds of people walking in the streets. It is not for the faint of heart. I thought Seoul was bad, but it can’t even compare to the pushing and shoving that you have to get used to while in Southeast Asia.
Hanoi is insanely busy with scooters and cars creating non-stop traffic along with hundreds of people walking in the streets. It is not for the faint of heart.
Is it safe?
Hanoi is an exciting city with a lot to offer and it is also a great location for traveling to and from other parts of northern Vietnam. Like any city that any traveler visits, it is important to be cautious when being in large crowds. Besides making sure you look both ways when crossing the street, and keep your bag close to you, there are other things that people should be wary of. I have heard some unfortunate tales of backpackers getting on the back of a motorbike and then finding out later that they have been pick-pocketed. Additionally, I have heard about people getting pick-pocketed by women who hit on them when they are out on the streets or going to the bar. It is important to note that these things happened when the backpackers were either drinking or using recreational drugs. Therefore, just don’t get yourself in a bad situation to begin with and be smart.
Therefore, just don’t get yourself in a bad situation to begin with and be smart.
What is there to do?
Some places that I really liked in Hanoi included: the Women’s Museum, the Hoa Lo Prison, and of course the Ho Chi Min Mausoleum . Just make sure you check the dates and times that the museums are open before planning a trip to see them. If you want to look up any other activities or places to go in Hanoi, Tripadvisor is probably the most reliable source, in addition to people you meet on your travels.
One of my favorite things to do when I was in Hanoi was to simply go on a walk and explore my surroundings and really get a feeling for the city. I really loved observing the architecture, seeing the outdoor food markets along with the friendly faces I would encounter on my promenades.
Where can I stay?
There are so many places available to you in Hanoi since it is such a big city. What you choose is based on what type of experience you want when you are there. If you want to have fun, do a pub crawl and meet other backpackers, then I would recommend that you stay at either Hanoi Rocks or Central Backpackers Hostel.
I met so many people at both of these hostels and it made me so comfortable when starting my travels. The only downfall with both of these places is that the music and partying may be too much if you’re on the lower floors. If you don’t know if that’s for you, then you can always check out Booking.com to see what best fits your needs and expectations.