KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Located in Northern Vietnam, Hanoi is the country’s capital and second largest city. From sun up to sun down, its vibrant and busy streets are absolutely teeming with life.
I got my first taste of Vietnam in Hanoi, and let’s just say I couldn’t get enough. Once I got used to the incessant honking, the city’s hustle and bustle really grew on me. Turns out honking your horn in Vietnam is more a way of saying, “Hey – what’s up, y’all! Look at me. I’m driving!” and less an indicator of road rage.
If you’re visiting Hanoi on a time limit, here’s a brief rundown of what you should try to do - Rise with the sun like the locals and walk around Hoan Kiem Lake to witness dozens of groups beginning their day with tai chi, hip hop, salsa, zumba, and a number of other styles of dance. Head to one of the city’s countless cozy cafes, grab a beer and a banh mi on train street, take a seat on a little blue stool and grub on some delicious (and cheap) local foods, and wander through the sensory carnival that is the Old Quarter.
With so many diverse and distinct neighborhoods, Hanoi almost feels like several different cities in one. If you’re planning a trip here, stay for at least a few days to soak in all the city has to offer. It’ll probably take at least that long to get accustomed to dodging all the motorbikes.