I know it's been almost a year and it's strange how I never had a more informative blogpost about my trip to Hanoi until someone dm-ed me on Instagram about it. I had a couple of questions about it too previously and thought this post might help a lot of you to plan your trip. 

Flights

Just an insight: I was there during summer in July 2017, and the weather was similar to Malaysia. Flights however were expensive for us because it was tremendously last minute, we booked a week before our trip. We paid around RM1k to and fro - but you can always search for better rates on Traveloka or Hopper which are two of my favourite flight comparison sites. 


Accommodation

picture credits: Angel Palace Hotel

I would suggest to go for hotels than Airbnb because boutique hotels here are generally decent - because it was quite a new city for me, I went for a friend's recommendation and stayed at Angel Palace Hotel in the Classic Twin Room - it was around RM159/night. I loved it there because the staff were very helpful and sweet, they suggested many local recommendations - showed us a map and pointed us to amazing restaurants. I arranged for hotel transfers because I thought it was safer since I was unfamiliar. Overall, the rooms were clean and breakfast was fine (not resort-amazing, but enough) and I loved every bit about staying there - small but affordable. Do have a quick read on their Trip Advisor for current reviews. 

Halong Bay


Yes, it's worth the go, I thought it was beautiful. We went on a tour (which I totally recommend on doing because getting yourself is not the best idea if you are new to the city). I signed up for a Full Day Tour with the hotel (the hotel collaborates with a tour company) - I did this just for safety purposes, convenience and so that we don't get conned. You can check out the tour details here. It's around 59 USD/person. 

Essentially, they pick you up from the hotel at 7.30am in a bus and you'll arrive at the Tuan Chau Harbor at 12.30pm, in between there'll be a quick toilet stop. 

Once you arrive at the Harbor, you'll be given tickets and you'll be led to the boat/cruise where you'll have lunch (which isn't impressive - in fact it was horrible) overlooking the view of Halong Bay. The cruise will take you to the Bo Hon archipelago (which is basically where the big giant rocks are and you'll get to go in between those rocks and check it out) and you'll be asked to choose either kayaking or the wooden plank - the difference is that if you are kayaking, you'll need to row yourself, but if you are on the wooden plank, someone will row it for you. We picked the wooden plank just so we could focus on taking photos. Definitely definitely definitely something you should check out. 

After that, you'll also be taken to see the limestone mountain and climb up the Titov Peak for a view of the bay. At 4pm, you'll need to head back and you'll arrive at your hotel at around 9pm :) 


Cafes and Restaurants - here are some places to check out 

When it comes to food in Hanoi, it's amazing.

Giang Cafe
For amazing egg coffee - cold egg coffee is still better than the hot one

Bun Cha Ta
Just great Vietnamese dishes

Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su
So apparently, this is wayyyy down the Google search list. We wanted to go to Pho Thin but the person at the hotel recommended Pho 10 instead and said it's very similar and less touristy. AMAZING pho though.. AMAZING

Banh Mi 25
Highly recommended banh mi place - pricey but good
picture credits: Instagram

Lutu Lata
I love this place, they play good Vietnamese Indie, the place is a little old but it's very clean and they serve really good desserts - it's different and it kinda looks like tong sui (in Chinese) but it's not. 


Beer Corner
It's like a Changkat - a street of bars and clubs. Very casual. We went bar hopping and you'll get to see lots of culture and it was so much fun. I loved every bit about this street. I went to Hay (it's a bar where they do live performances) and was AMAZED by the electric violinist - he is SUPER talented. I ended up staying there for 2 hours - the party culture in Hanoi is so laid back, everyone is friendly and extremely open and fun. I would definitely go back. 

picture credits: Hanoi Free Local Tours

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I think I pretty much covered everything - It's very short and straight to the point - I want it to be simple so it's easy to refer. Hope this is helpful :)