Hanoi (Old Quarter), Vietnam has been on my travel bucket list since the very beginning – and I’m so glad I finally got to visit this amazing place! Hanoi is now my absolute favorite travel destination – alongside Japan, of course 🙂
Hanoi’s Old Quarter district is very lively and energetic, to say the least. The hustle and bustle of the locals scooting around on their motorbikes, weaving in and out of traffic so effortlessly and orchestrated – it’s simply captivating. The narrow streets are lined with shops, services, art galleries, restaurants, and markets – you name it, they have it. The locals are so incredibly kind and welcoming – I felt like I was treated as a family member everywhere I went. Of course we have to mention the Hanoi-style Pho because it is SO delicious! I could definitely make another trip to Hanoi just to enjoy the authentic pho and coffee that they have to offer – it’s quite addicting. One of the best reasons to stay in Old Quarter is the nightlife that occurs on Ta Hien Beer Street – as soon as the sun starts setting, all of the bars and restaurants begin placing these tiny, little, kid-sized tables and chairs out for tourists and locals to grab a seat and enjoy a beer (or two!). This is an awesome way to meet other travelers, enjoy the liveliness of the district, hear some good music, and relax after a day of adventuring. It’s hard to explain, but there is something about Old Quarter that is so magical and unique – what I wouldn’t give to be back there right now.
While in Hanoi, we also visited the Hoa Lo Prison (often referred to as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’), which is where the POW’s were held during the Vietnam War. Afterwards, we rented motorbikes and hired a tour guide to take us outside of the city and into the mountain-area for some fresh air and incredible views. It was so neat to see how each village had it’s own unique gate at the entrance to the village, and most villages were dedicated to one or more families. For our last night in Hanoi, we stayed in the downtown district at the Lotte Hotel, which was a very nice area, but lacked the personality that Old Quarter provided in abundance.
I loved Old Quarter so much that I couldn’t say ‘goodbye’, only ‘see you again…very soon!’