Hanoi ハノイ

In the next couple of posts, I’ll share my travel experience in Vietnam. I’m a travel lover and have visited over 20 countries so far. But, to my shame, I never really thought about traveling to Vietnam. I became interested only when my close friends from London travelled there and told me they absolutely loved everything about the country. Until then, I didn’t even know that Vietnam was very close to my home country (Tokyo – Hanoi takes only 6 hours!).

So when my husband and I were trying to decide our honeymoon destination, I added Vietnam on the list. Other South East Asian counties such as Laos, Thailand and Indonesia were on the list. I’d like to go to these countries still, but we chose Vietnam as it’s close to Japan, and has interesting history and many historic buildings, and no vaccination is needed (vaccination will be needed if going to the south).

There are many must-see places in Vietnam, but we chose Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An and Hue. We spent only 12 days in total, so it felt a bit hectic sometimes. If you’re visiting all these places, I’d recommend spending as least full 2 weeks.

I’d like to start with Hanoi. We were there only for one and half a day because we live in Tokyo and wanted to get away from general bustle and hustle of a city. We were glad we didn’t spend too much time there as the city was quite chaotic! The traffic was absolutely crazy there. (As I wrote before, we did experience worse traffic in India about half a year later…but that time we felt the traffic there was horrendous…) But if we didn’t have to cross streets and were just observing it, it was actually quite amusing. The bikers cover their face with a cloth/mask and wear sunglasses/goggles, which make them look like strange superheros. It seemed normal for two or three people to share one tiny motorbike and they put all sorts of things on their bikes from their pet dog to chicken, a ladder, hose, and furniture…they seemed to use the very limited space in a creative way. They ignored the traffic light badly and we were too sacred to cross the street initially. The we followed local people and kinda got how to cross.

As for travel in the city itself, we found the combination of walking and taxi was the best. We both love walking so could have walked hours. But this city is fairly big and it was hot and humid. So we decided to take taxi to get to an area far from our hotel, which turned to be perfect. We were a bit worried about being ripped off by taxi drivers, but we only took the reliable ones, we was no problems. Make sure to check with your hotel which ones are good. Speaking of taxi, if you’re taking a taxi from the airport, book one with your hotel in advance. It takes about 1 hour from the airport to the city centre, but our hotel charged us only $18 for the journey.

In the next post, I’ll introduce sites and restaurants in Hanoi.


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