Captivating Vietnam

Are you looking for a great vacation that won’t break the break? Consider Hanoi, Vietnam which came out as one of the top destinations that offers the most affordable vacation.

This year, Southeast Asia emerged the world’s most affordable region, with Hanoi, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Manila. Considering this as the perfect birthday gift for myself I flew to Vietnam and stayed there for 76 hours (3days and 4nights) including my trip to Sapa, Vietnam. While it’s true that Vietnam’s Capital City used to be more famous for a variety of reasons, many of which are at least a bit depressing, but these days Hanoi is known as a big favorite among travelers to Southeast Asia. It’s also perhaps the cheapest large city on earth for budget travelers, so it’s a popular stop for backpacker types who are trying to stretch their funds on the road.

Let me share to you the vibe in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The vibe in Hanoi

Very popular with Travelers, The French Colonial influence is still very present so the architecture and design of the city is a pleasant mix of East and West. The food is also as delicious as it is cheap. The French influence of making each dish nice to look at while also mixing flavors and using quality ingredients is easy to spot. The Red River runs through Hanoi, but visitors will barely notice it as the Hoan Kiem Lake is really the central focus. Just north of that lake you’ll find the Old Quarter, which is a tangle of narrow streets loaded with restaurants, bars, retail shops, and many cheap hotels. English is quite commonly spoken in this district, which isn’t true of many other Hanoi neighborhoods.

One thing I can’t fail to mention is that the motorbike traffic in Hanoi is legendary and can be frustrating at first. In the stoplight-free part of the Old Quarter this can make crossing even a narrow street difficult, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly. The local food in Vietnam will be familiar to many. The famous noodle soup known as “pho” is a popular breakfast or lunch items at small shops and street stalls all over the city. Locals almost exclusively eat at street restaurants, sitting in tiny plastic furniture and ordering that particular place’s specialty instead of off a menu. But fortunately, Hanoi is loaded with tourist restaurants that serve similar local dishes along with a huge list of international favorites.

Weirdly enough, pretty much every menu at every tourist restaurant in all of Vietnam will have at least 20 pages, and they all list pasta dishes and usually what they call “pizza corner” as well. If you don’t care for Vietnamese food you’ll still have many choices, but if you do like it then you’ll be able to eat like a king for next to nothing.