This hostel is run by two Australians, Luke and Sarah, and the staff was absolutely wonderful. They really make you feel welcomed. When we arrived they gave us a map, circled the areas of interested, and even told us where to go eat a cheap local meal.
Vietnam’s Capital City: Hanoi
This is a popular tourist area: The Old Quarter
We left Xiamen on a Sunday morning, and arrived at Noi Bai International Airport 5 hours later. The Vietnam Airlines shuttle bus dropped us in Hanoi’s Old Quarter area. Not wanting to search for a place to sleep after we arrived, we had already booked our accommodation. We had a map, and we knew where we were supposed to be heading. Hanoi is insanely busy, however the streets were not too hard to navigate.
Rendezvous Hanoi Hotel
Having two backpacks each, we were a quite out of breath after we climbed all these stairs to our room, on the 6th floor!!!
Hanoi was the pit stop on our way to Halong Bay, so we decided to get a dorm room, and hopefully meet some other cool people. The room above was one of the nicest dorm rooms we have stayed in!! The room was very long, and separated by a wall of lockers. Each bed was a double, and there was plenty room to spread out and relax. Justin and I had the last two beds, so that meant we only really had to share with one other person on “our side” of the room.
This hostel was definitely more like a hotel than a hostel.
We even had a flat screen TV on the wall opposite our bed. This proved useful after long days of navigating through the hectic traffic of Hanoi.
Hostel Restaurant area
Our dorm room only cost $7 each and this included a free breakfast every morning 🙂
Ham and Cheese Omlette, with coffee.
(What a treat to have normal breakfast after not being able to have anything like this in China)
If you don’t like busy cities, Hanoi might be a little too much to take in. I could tell why some people might feel overwhelmed by the intensity of the Old Quarter. The narrow streets are filled with colonial hats, thousands of motorbikes, quick moving pedestrians, chickens, beeping horns, plastic chairs, street vendors, and food cooking everywhere.
On our first night in Hanoi our hostel receptionist sent us to “number 67” in the same street that we were staying. We were not told what to order, so we hoped that there would be some pictures to choose from.
No pictures!! Darn!
We seated ourselves in the grubby little restaurant and a lady shouted something in our direction.
As we usually do, we nodded and held up two figures (“Yes, two please”). We laughed…
Whatever we had ordered, we were sure it was not dog because the most expensive thing on the menu was only 50,000 Vietnamese Dong ($2). Dog meat should be a little more than that!! (We hoped)
What we got is now officially one of my favorite foods!!!!
IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!!
Bun Bo is the only dish served at this little place. Soup with vermicelli noodles, vegetables, meat, herbs and nuts. Simple, fresh, and a perfect combination of ingredients!!!!
There is weekend night market in the Old Quarter. We made our way there to stroll around the countless stalls selling fake brands, and souvenirs. Occasionally we were tempted to buy things, but we stayed strong and made it back to the hotel empty handed. With over a month of traveling ahead of us, we wanted to make sure our bags didn’t expand too much!!
Despite thinking that this would be peaceful because of the lack of motorcycles, it turned to be even busier than the normal streets. I think Vietnamese move around more easily when they are on two wheels 😉
Never a quiet moment.
Even at 7am the streets are crazy. To make it worse, there are large buses trying to squeeze through this chaos early and late in the day. Most of the tourist in Hanoi are leaving from here to Sapa or Halong Bay. The tour operators pick you up from your hotel. It’s madness!
Common sights in Vietnam: Colonial hats, street vendors, and motorcycles.
Every Thursday our hostel served free Beer and Spring Rolls.
We certainly enjoyed that!
Another unforgettable thing about Vietnam: THE COFFEE!!!
Talk about a buzz – This stuff gives you a huge caffeine kick!
Strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk, chilled on ice make an unbeatable Vietnamese treat!!
Even if you like your coffee black, you will like this!
The magic combination!
Here are all the steps if you want to try it yourself:
A temple in the Old Quarter.
Justin likes the silly shop names.
When you realize that you have walked in the wrong direction for a few minutes… It can become quite a task to find your way back. We made sure to always have our map in our backpack.
More on Hanoi coming in the next post!!