Our first experiences in Vietnam were definitely memorable, but a bit annoying, thanks to our first hostel. When we went to new countries, we tried to book our hostels ahead of time. The hostel we chose had very cheap airport pick-up that we decided to take advantage of since our flight landed after 1am… The thing is they never came. We luckily met a Vietnamese man who heard us talking about what to (were they late or not coming at all?) called our hostel and they had forgotten to send a car but were on the way. Then they called back a few minutes later saying that their car was actually broken, we need to get a cab. So, we got a cab and after just a few hours sleep and a few other crappy factors, checked out and found a private room for even less than that hostel.
We rested a bit more because we had had such crappy sleep that night and then set off to explore and we had some pretty great experiences over the next few days in Hanoi.
The streets of Hanoi have a sound unlike anything I have ever heard. Horns are used like non-other in all of the parts of Asia that we visited, but those didn’t even compare to the ones I heard in Hanoi. Along with that shouts, laughs and calls to buy things chimed in over the non-stop honking.
The streets were lined with shabbily sweet buildings painted all different colors. Laundry hung on roofs and from windows. Women washed the dishes in front of their street vendor style restaurants with a hose and of course, no soap.
these women sold all kinds of fruits and veggies from these baskets that hung from their shoulders and rested on their bikes.
These yumberries were a fruit I had never even seen before. The woman selling these saw me staring and handed one to me, holding her hand to her mouth mimicking eating, and let me try one for free. I can see why “yum” is in the name of these berries. I bought a whole bag full.
Walking along you can see anything on these streets. Spices, veggies, and even ducks in bags.
This the one moment, after almost 100 days in to our trip, that we fell for the whole photo trick. This woman first put this on Stacey (a moment that I at first thought was a slow-motion attack because she sat is so far up Stacey’s neck) and then after laughing at that we snapped some photos, which meant we bought some pineapple. She tried to sell us multiple bags, but we drew the line at half a bag and didn’t fall for that trick again… whew.
Hanoi also had some big night markets. Although it was a lot more of the knockoff Forever 21 stalls than anything else. The funkiness wasn’t as present here has it was in so many other cities and countries before.
One of the big things that everyone kept telling us to do was visit the water puppet show. This is something that originated in the rice terraces outside of Hanoi. When the terraces flooded the locals would entertain themselves by making these little water puppet productions. These became popular and now is something to see for tourists. The shows are done in Vietnamese, but english programs are available with brief titles/explanations of each small skit. It lasts a little over an hour and was fun. I wouldn’t call it a must-see, but it was entertaining and also nice to get out of that scorching sun for a bit.
This is just an introduction to our Hanoi adventures, stay posted for more about a couple of temples we visited, some museums, and our awesome street food tour!
To keep up with my travels in real-time and read more posts and travel articles I find interesting ‘like’ the For the Love of Wanderlust page on Facebook. Simply click HERE.