Highlights and Low Lights of Hanoi

So before we left Bangkok for good, we went to Hanoi.I had always wanted to go to Hanoi. I'd been to HCM some years back and was always told that while the pho in HMC was ok, Hanoi was better. Hanoi was firmly on my must go list. So we went and although there were a few highlights of the trip (see below), I can safely say I would happily never return to Hanoi again unless paid to go. I have never been glared at, short-changed, ripped off and generally made to feel unwelcome so systematically on my travels elsewhere in the world as I was here*. We had the lowest strike rate on restaurants (my advice, don't even bother following the lonely planet guide) which were bad quality and over-priced. The French food was especially terrible (much better in Siem Reap Cambodia). Most shocking however was the aggression of taxi drivers. On our last night our taxi driver stopped on the side of the street, and asked us to wait 2 minutes while he popped into some dodgy kareoke bar (kareoke bars in Asia tend not to be merely for harmless drunken fun). We said no and were treated to a torrent of bullfaced yelling and screaming. The day that we left to the airport, our taxi driver nearly had a scrape with another taxi and proceeded to jump out of the car with a huge steel rod in hand and kicked and shoved the other driver.


Mentioning I liked fresh rice paper rolls and having a Vietnamese colleague order a table full of them. I appreciated the gesture but given the short time we had in Hanoi it would have been nice to try something different.


Green Papaya - Good service....terrible, even laughable, over priced food

Hanoi Garden - poor quality seafood, horrible hard rice, rip off prices

Wild Lotus, stunning decor pity about the medicore over priced food


What we did enjoy was Maison d'Hanoi Hotel, although I still have my gripes regarding service, prices, and room cleanliness. Overall a cute hotel though albeit with limited windows. We also enjoyed the fact that when we arrived Girl Talk was playing that night in Hanoi and we go to see him play for $8 US dollars each. We also enjoyed street noodles, Bun Cha (beef noodles outside on the street - the best meal we had) and I did like Cha Ca La Vong although the portion served was miserly for the price and we were never offered a second helping.



Girl Talk

First impressions of Hanoi? "Great buildings, horrible people" to steal a line from Joannes, actually a lot like France.


*I found out later from a friend who worked in Vietnam that it is quite common for people who look half Vietnamese to be treated with complete scorn. So I am assuming that people were assuming that I was a returnee. Note to Vietnamese people, not everyone who looks Asian is Vietnamese.


    great write up. I'm no fan of Hanoi either - if I never go back I won't be too concerned. I foolishly ate at Green Papaya last year - agree with your verdict entirely, crazy overpriced and ridiculous tasting food - but the building is very beautiful. but the street food was really good...


    That was a pity that you did not like Ha Noi. May be because u didn't spend enough time in Ha Noi. Tell You the truth: don't be so annoyed because of the traffic or the taxi driver. Every country has polite people and impolite people. There are so many friendly and polite Vietnamese who is ready to help you everywhere. Moreover, I pretty sure that you did spent almost all of the time in the city centre. That one of the reason why you felt the traffic was a mess.


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