Budget Scale: 1-5
1-least expensive; 5-most expensive
1– Hanoi is one of the cheaper places in the world to visit, with $5US beds and $1US steaming bowls of pho available around seemingly every turn. It doesn’t get much cheaper than this, folks.
Indie Travel Scale: 1-5
1-not a good Indie Travel destination; 5-a great Indie Travel destination
4– You will truly feel lost upon entering Hanoi for the first time. The traffic, the people, the noise, the smells – everything about it just seems bonkers. There will be culture shock, there will be cursing, there will be madness, but if you can muster up some patience, there aren’t many better cities to have a truly indie experience.
Indie Travel Tips
Hanoi, and Vietnam for that matter, are not your typical tourist ghettos like nearby countries and cities. There are plenty of indie experiences to be had in this 1000-year-old city.
- Eat on the streets. It’s safe. It’s fresh. It’s authentic. It’s delicious. And best of all, it’s cheap!
- Get up early one day (about dawn) and head to Hoan Kiem Lake in the center of the city. It will seem like every local resident of Hanoi is up early, exercising, walking, talking, and just spending time together before the work day begins and the day gets hotter.
- Explore the old quarter by foot, getting lost around every corner.
- Stop at a roadside bar for some home brewed beer called Bia Hoi (sold for rock bottom prices, usually the equivalent of about a quarter) or a roadside coffee shop for some iced Vietnamese coffee, a decadent, super sweet coffee drink.
Why you should add Hanoi to your RTW travel list
- Now that people can travel there, you should
- Help heal the scars of the past: pay a visit yourself, and make new friends
- Gateway to the Vietnamese highlands
- Asia collides with Europe as traditional pagodas sit next to colonial homes
- Think the food in Paris is good? Try Hanoi!
- Explore 3,000 islands rising from a tranquil sea
Why you should not add Hanoi to your RTW travel list
- It can be completely overwhelming and leave you with a bad impression of the country and its people.
- It’s extremely hectic, and simple tasks like crossing the street and walking can be difficult and hazardous.
- The touts are relentless and can come off as very rude.
- There are rats. Big ones. Lots of them.
Are you heading to Hanoi? What do you need to do?
- Buy an international plane ticket to/from Asia
- Book a Hanoi hostel
- Book a Hanoi hotel
- Talk to travelers on the Asia message boards
- Read travel articles on Hanoi