On short notice, I got called up last week to fly to Hanoi for a quick 3-day factory tour. This is my second trip to Vietnam’s northern capital in recent memory and, from my quick tour, a place I would like to spend more time in.
Flying from Saigon to Hanoi
I booked a round-trip air fare on Vietjet for about $188 USD on Expedia.com, which I thought was quite reasonable on such short notice. I then booked my last-minute reservation saying at The Hanoian Hotel in the Old Quarter. The reviews were so promising—plus the $33/night accommodations—made this a no-brainer.
The Saigon-to-Hanoi leg was only approximately two hours, before we landed at Noi Bai International Airport. After exiting the main terminal, I veered left and stood under bus sign #86, which would take me about .45 minutes to town for 35,000 VND (about a $1.50).
Hanoi: My thoughts
After getting settling into The Hanoian Hotel, I took to the streets and explored the neighborhood. Nothing can quite describe Hanoi’s Old Quarter—it’s like going back into time as you navigate its windy, tight streets filled with generations among generations of family-run businesses seemingly from the tightest storefronts one can imagine.
The Old Quarter, made of 36 unique streets which specialize in a certain industry, cannot be missed as you walk along neighborhood. Streets signs, too, are named reflecting each industry segment. One can pretty much see just about any product being sold—electrical equipment, pots and pans, tools and equipment, and metal furnishings—in the Old Quarter.
One word I often describe Hanoi is “charming.” Situated near Ho Hoan Kiem lake, one can take a beautiful evening stroll along the lakeside taking in the cool breeze—there is nothing as relaxing by immersing oneself in the local culture and atmosphere like a true Hanoian.
I often tell people that if you really wish to learn and appreciate Vietnamese history and culture, then Hanoi should be at the top of the list. While many cities in Asia, including Vietnam, are modernizing quickly Hanoi still retains its old city charm and can be experienced and appreciated by walking through its lively neighborhoods and witnessing the buzz of everyday street life.
Hanoi’s historic sites, architectural gems, and quaint streets are attractions which will have me coming back sooner than later.