Hanoi to Ha Long Bay to Hanoi Part One

I arrived in Hanoi on Friday night feeling sad, hungry, tired and a bit lonely. Having constant company for my whole time in Ho Chi Minh City to landing in the big, crazy city that is Hanoi; I felt quite overwhelmed!

Arriving in the evening wasn’t ideal either, getting to my hostel from the airport was cheap and easy enough, but I was so hungry and no stalls or cheap places were open. I wandered around and found some typical American fast food places, where I ate a chicken burger. Feeling a bit glum, I came back to my hostel to get a good night’s sleep. I had been deprived of sleep somewhat lately, so no doubt that was a factor with my mood.

St. Jospeh’s in the Old Quarter, two mins walk from my hostel

While I was nodding off, the girls in my dorm came back in. They gave me a few tips and told me about what they had done with their time in Hanoi. It was really helpful actually, and gave me some food for thought.

Well, I had a fantastic night’s sleep, I woke up feeling a bit more optimistic about city life and went on the walking tour provided by the hostel staff. We went to a little cafe which had amazing roof tops views of Hoan Kiem Lake and visited a temple.

Hoan Lake is where the famous Vietnamese turtle lived; it died last year but kinda amazing that a turtle swam here and had its own island.

Courtyard of the coffee shop with the amazing roof top views

I’m two week’s into my trip now and I am finding the backpackers life more exhausting than I thought it would be, probably because of all the issues with Chinese New Year. So I spent the rest of Saturday lunchtime/early afternoon sorting out my washing, doing a bit of employment admin and planning the next stage of my trip. I really can’t wait to get to Phuket now and just chill in the sun! City hoping is fun, but like I said, it’s exhausting.

I still managed time to squeeze in a bit of Hanoi sightseeing in the afternoon.

Walking along the street near my hostel, I found a shop selling hand made crafts, one of them being a sausage dog! How could I not buy it 🙂

I then went to a big, famous market, about 20 minutes walk from my hostel. It was starting to shut for the day, but I could imagine it would be crazy busy during the main hours.

I also walked down a street where shops make noodles, then sell them on their stalls outside. There is a machine on the right, and the chap in the photo was scrapping the mix off the floor.

Just casually walking down the streets, I come across temple after temple. They are so pretty, and a nice contrast to the monotonous Asian buildings in the cities.

I stopped off at a street food restaurant for something to eat, and there is only one thing on the menu:


Grilled pork and apple soup, crab spring rolls, noodles and salad. A few bits of the pork were okay, but mainly it was so grissly! Anyone who knows me would recognise that is my meal from hell, and I know I really offended the owner by not eating it. Just didn’t like it. The soup minus the pork mixed with the noodles was spot on.

While I was sat there, I got talking to a couple from Melbourne. Clearly on a different kind of holiday to me, we shared photos of attractions we’ve seen and talked about life back home. The female, probably around my mum’s age (and I mean that affectionately, mum!) was so positive and encouraging about me getting the job I want when I go back home. She said she, “felt it in [her] bones.” Considering how rubbish I was feeling, it was nice to just have a conversation with someone so lovely.

Then in the evening I went to the pub quiz at my hostel bar. Oh my days. I ended up in a quiz team with the four most vile Australian men I have ever met. I won’t go into details, but enduring two hours of their company was hard work. Luckily one of the blokes did win the team two shots each, and our team didn’t come last, just a shame I had 0 in common with these fellas.

I left the quiz feeling just as meh as I did the night before, but then I bumped into a girl I met in Siem Reap almost two weeks ago. I needed a hug and someone to rant to, and Ginny was that person.

All of this in one day! I just need to learn to take it easy and slow down a little. I visited Ha Long Bay today, will try to get the photos up tomorrow for Part Two of Hanoi!

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