Vietnam - Hanoi Perspective

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by RestlessLocationSyndrome, May 1, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. RestlessLocationSyndrome
    Original Member

    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Just got back from a trip to Vietnam where we spent 4 nights in Hanoi and wanted to share my perspective.

    Hanoi is a very populous city and much like many other cities in Asia, has a significant % of the population on scooters/motorbikes with a few people still on bicycles while many others have moved into cars. Like many cities with such high density and personal transportation use, there is a significant amount of pollution and air quality was quite poor. The other common sight is to see that there are few traffic signals and many are often disregarded so traffic has an element of organized chaos. While traffic habits may be uncomfortable to many, I was able to adapt quickly and found it quite entertaining.

    The most popular area of Hanoi is the Old Quarter around Hoan Kiem Lake. It is a charming area with a night market to the north, upscale shopping to the south, and popular tourist attractions all around from with the Water Puppet theater on the North edge, Ho Chi Minh complex a bit farther to the West and Hoa Lo prison to the Southwest. There are also many notable restaurants in the area including Cha Ca La Vong, Pho Gia Truyen and Quan An Ngon. All 3 restaurants served up very tasty food and I would not hesitate to go back in the future. The one issue we ran into is that in some areas, there is little to no sidewalk and thus you will need to carefully walk on the street.

    We ended up staying in the West Lake area which is just a few minutes drive from the Old Quarter. The area can be much quieter and peaceful than the rest of Hanoi which is good if you're there on business or for a longer period of time. However, as a tourist it was inconvenient in that you needed to catch a cab everywhere as nothing was walkable. The inconvenience isn't in cost since taxis are quite cheap but in the loss of time since many drivers will not take you directly back and drive the wrong direction to rack up more on the meter. In fact, some will not even drop you off at the right locations based upon what is most convenient for them to get another fare (our Ho Chi Minh complex drop off was on the complete opposite side of the complex from the entrance). As a result, I would not stay in West Lake again in the future as there's nothing that takes the shine off a vacation than being held hostage to unscrupulous taxi drivers.

    All in all, a good trip where the Old Quarter is quite charming and the food was fantastic.
    iterfacio12 and uggboy like this.
  2. ScooterTourSaigon

    ScooterTourSaigon New Member

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    Thank you for a good Feedback!
  3. Karen_nz

    Karen_nz Member

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    Sounds like a great place - added to bucket list thank you

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