Have you been to Hanoi?? I am sure the first thing that will enter your mind will be HALONG BAY. If you are someone like me who loves watching Amazing Race Asia, last year they had a segment on Halong Bay. From that moment ---- I wanted to go there!!! After a few months of researching on what to do in Hanoi, Vietnam... my equally adventurous friend, Oskie, and I finally decided to go and visit Hanoi. That was our next adventure..
There are no direct flights to Hanoi from the Philippines--- you will have to fly to Ho Chi Minh ( Southern Vietnam ) in order to get a connecting flight to Hanoi. Since this is my first time to go to Hanoi... I have decided to document my travel --- and put as many photos into my blogs on Hanoi. Come and follow me as I discover Hanoi...
deep fried spring rolls
There are a lot of t-shirts, bandanas, wall-hangings, tribal handicrafts all over the Old Quarter. You will have to use your bargaining skills in most of the shops in order to get the prices down. There are streets where you can find sunglasses, ceramics, wood carvings, rice paper greeting cards, lacquerware, silk material and if you want to have an AO DAI ( traditional women's dress in Vietnam ) -- they can finish one for you in 2 hours.
2 phrases to remember when shopping:
* Bao nhieu tian ? = " how much is this " pronounced like BOW NYU THIEN and
* Dat Qua = " too expensive " - pronounced DAT KWAH.
Here are some tips you will find very useful for your next adventure to Hanoi :
* Hanoi has 4 seasons. The best time to travel is around March thru May. The months you should avoid are June till August. Hanoi can get very HOT and HUMID.
* Bring walking shorts, dry fit shirts, a good pair of walking shoes because Hanoi is better appreciated doing a walking tour instead of riding in a van.... there is a lot to see in Hanoi.
* Sunblock, insect repellent and a hat which you will wear when you walk around.
* If you are planning to take a lot of photos -- bring SD or CF cards. They do not have those in Hanoi.
* a map of Hanoi and hire a local guide to take you around. Even before we left Manila for this adventure tour, we commissioned a young tour guide, Vuong, to meet us at the Noi Bai Airport. The rate of a local tour guide is $30.00/day.
* When you choose your hotel. Make sure your hotel is located in Hanoi's Old Quarter.
* Instead of having American Breakfast... try out their Vietnamese Breakfast.
* It is definitely more fun if you arrange your own travel plan rather than calling your travel agent and have them fix it for you. Book your ticket thru the internet --- and if possible --- avail of the web-check in. It is a lot easier once you get to the airport.
* Bring small bills instead of hundred dollar bills... Most stores do not have change. Bring dollar bills for tips.
* Learn to cross the road like a local in the busy city. You have to watch out for the bicycles and motorbikes more than the cars.. Feel free to use fellow tourists as human shields as they cross the road.
* Lastly.... have an open mind and I am sure you will ENJOY your new adventure.