3 Days in Hanoi
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Things to do during 3 Days in Hanoi
After finishing our House sit in Hong Kong we decided to fulfil our goal of having a week in Vietnam, something we had promised ourselves since leaving Australia. Our first stop, 3 days in Hanoi. We chose to stay in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and decided on a Hotel close to the Hoan Kiem Lake as it was central to all the attractions we wanted to see in 3 Days in Hanoi.
Where to stay in Hanoi
La Beaute De Hanoi Hotel is a boutique hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and our home for the next 3 Days in Hanoi. Located in a small lane the Hotel is a quiet retreat from Hanoi’s chaotic traffic. From the moment we walked in the door the Staff were attentive, sitting us down and giving us information about the city and they continued to make us feel welcome throughout our stay.
Advantages…Located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, walking distance to many tourist attractions, shopping and dining options, free Wifi.
Comfort level…Very Good, clean rooms, very helpful attentive Staff.
Hanoi First Impressions
Our first impression of Hanoi was “LOVE IT!” We arrived early evening and walking out into the street our senses were assaulted with the sounds of horns blaring, motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic, the brightly coloured wares for sale in the stalls, crowded streets, the smell of cooking and the cries from the stallholders to come and buy their wares, I found it hard to focus on any one thing, it is a city full of energy and I fell in love with Hanoi immediately.
Crossing the Street in Hanoi
When we first got to Vietnam we were told that to cross the street you just step out and start walking, and the traffic will go around you, this isn’t altogether true as I found out when I nearly got hit by a car. My advice would be;
Be aware that traffic doesn’t stop at crossings.
Step out into the traffic and continue walking until you get to the other side.
Walk slowly most motorbikes will go around you
Most cars don’t stop, judge by their speed and if going to fast let them continue before walking on.
While crossing if a car or motorbike are beeping their horn they are not going to stop, let them continue before walking on.
I know it may sound daunting but after the first time it becomes a lot easier and you feel a real sense of achievement every time you cross the road.
Hanoi things to do
Hoan Kiem Lake is in the centre of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and is a peaceful oasis in the heart of Hanoi. Surrounded by trees a walk around the lake is a pleasant way to escape the heat and people watch as Hanoi’s residents take part in their early morning rituals of Tai Chi, dancing and relaxing with family and friends. iFEEL Coffee Café is a great place to take in the view as the sun goes down over the lake, located four floors above a clothing shop, the hostess will escort you up to the balcony where you can enjoy a beer, cocktail or coffee, and dinner while taking in the magic of Hoan Kiem Lake by night. There is a multitude of things to do in Hanoi at night. Walking the streets at nights in Hanoi is both exciting and entertaining.
Ngoc Son Temple (The Temple of the Jade Mountain) sits on an island on Hoan Kiem lake and is reached by a very pretty red bridge. This Temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao who defeated the invading army of the 13th century Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan, the grandson of the famous Genghis Khan.
Trang Long Water Puppet Theatre is not far from the Ngon Son Temple. Vietnamese water puppetry is a traditional art form and has been part of Vietnamese culture for over 1,000 years. Make sure you book early, we left it until the last minute and missed seeing the Water Puppet show because tickets were sold out.
Hoa Lo Prison or Hanoi Hilton became infamous during the Vietnamese War as a prison for American POW’s, so I was surprised to learn that the prison was originally built by French colonialists in 1896 to house political prisoners fighting for independence. The guillotine was also introduced by the French and used on many occasions. After the liberation of North Vietnam on 1954 Hoa Lo Prison was used for criminals and for American Prisoners of War during 1964 to 1973. I found this prison very interesting and discovered that sometimes there is more than one truth.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the resting place of President Ho Chi Minh. Nestled amid beautiful gardens this imposing structure demonstrates the love and respect the Vietnamese people have for their departed leader. Queues to view President Ho Chi Minh lying in State are long, we found it very hot but we thought ahead and had water, a hat and fan to keep us cool. To show respect please dress appropriately. Photography is not allowed inside the Mausoleum.
Dong Xuan Market is a wholesale market full of shoes, children’s toys, clothing and textiles to name a few of the items for sale, outside there is a wet market full of stalls selling dried herbs and spices, fruit and vegetables and a variety of seafood. The isles aren’t very wide so it can be a squeeze but it is a must for anyone who like me, loves markets. Shopping in Hanoi is full of surprises as you never know what you may stumble across.
Hit the Streets, the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter are full of character, some such as Hang Gai Street sell silk clothing and Hang Trong Street sells paintings. The best way to find out what Hanoi has to offer is to get out there and discover the streets on your own, use your phone or map so you don’t get lost and just start exploring there is so much to see and you will unearth so many hidden treasures along the way and its great for people watching. Enjoy!
Modern Hanoi, while we loved the energy of the old town, Hanoi is also a modern city with office blocks, malls, modern apartment buildings and new housing developments featuring gorgeous three story town houses. Construction is everywhere to be seen, making Hanoi not only a city with a rich history but a city of the future. Halong Bay cruises depart from Hanoi and are a must see attraction for anyone visiting Vietnam.
We hope you enjoyed our article on 3 Days in Hanoi. Have you visited? If so we would love to hear about your favourite things to do in Hanoi. Please leave a comment below.