South China Morning Post (SCMP) recently suggested a variety of worthwhile activities in Hanoi for tourists from Hong Kong looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Opting for Hanoi, a mere two-hour flight from Hong Kong, author Ed Peters noted that tourists can savor the experience of being in a foreign country while retaining their Asian essence.
The author observed that the lives of the Vietnamese capital city’s citizens predominantly unfold right on the sidewalks, where activities like getting a haircut, cooking, and open-air workshops are commonplace.
For him, Hanoi resembles a lively and expansive village, adorned with French colonial architecture.
|Tourists take a jeep tour in Hanoi. Photo: SCMP|
In the very heart of the city is the picturesque sight of Hoan Kiem Lake, surrounded by banyan trees and low-rise buildings, attracting hundreds of local residents at daybreak for exercise, stretching, or Tai Chi practice.
Hanoi offers a peaceful urban landscape with diverse accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels like the Sofitel Legend Metropole, where nightly room rates average around US$400, to more affordable guest houses near the Old Quarter.
These guest houses are equipped with modern amenities and spas, with prices typically around $60 per night.
In bustling areas around the city, tourists can easily hear the cheerful jingling of cyclo bells.
The cost for each cyclo ride should be approximately $8 per hour with successful negotiation.
The experience is enjoyable and offers unobstructed views, perfect for capturing memorable photographs.
|A tourist takes a ride in a cyclo in Hanoi. Photo: SCMP|
The author also highly recommended Vietnamese cuisine in Hanoi.
Street food got a mention as well, including those recognized by the prestigious French dining guide Michelin, signifying excellent food at affordable prices.
Despite Michelin’s entrance potentially bringing changes, long-standing establishments continue to enjoy immense popularity.
Visitors to the Vietnamese capital city with shopping in mind should be ready to haggle and negotiate, cautioned the experienced travel writer.
In addition to souvenirs, tourists can find high-quality lacquerware, silk, and hand embroidery in the mainstream shops around the Old Quarter and neighboring districts.
|The ground floor of Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi. Photo: SCMP|
Dong Xuan Market, the city’s largest market located just a few hundred meters away from the Old Quarter, is a multifaceted, three-story center of organized chaos, described by the author as a must-visit for the sheer spectacle it offers, with more reasonable prices as an added bonus.
Its aisles are so narrow that they barely accommodate two people passing each other, with traders perched atop their merchandise, including clothing, fabrics, shoes, household items, dried foods, and a wide assortment of odds and ends.
The ground floor features a fountain and seating, and on weekends, the street outside is transformed into a night market.
In the end, the news outlet concluded that immersing oneself in the atmosphere of Hanoi is the ultimate reason to savor a visit to the historic Vietnamese capital.