Trip: November 2017
Below is our Top 5 Things To Do in Hanoi, Vietnam part of the Just Carrying On – Top 5 Things To Do series. These lists are favorite activities, eats, and drinks from our travels around the world—in no particular order.
We traveled to Hanoi at the end of our 3 week trip to Vietnam in November 2017. It is a stop that is not to be missed.
1. Mad Botanist Gin Bar
We rarely ordered cocktails while traveling in SE Asia, as we felt we had learned our lesson traveling in Africa that beer is cheaper, colder, safer, and more reliable. However, Jason’s brother sought out some cocktail bars in Hanoi so we decided to check them out and they turned out to be two of our favorite bars in all of SE Asia. Our favorite was Mad Botanist but it’s delicious neighbor Polite Provisions is also worth a visit. The Mad Botanist was speakeasy light. While it was technically ‘hidden’ behind a coffee shop it was well signed and easy to find. At night there was a gorgeous rooftop view of the old church and the drinks were strong and delicious.
2. Take a weekend stroll around the lake
If you can time it right, definitely try to visit Hanoi on the weekend. A large section around the lake is closed off to cars and the streets are alive with people. Families are strolling together. teens are playing music and games in the streets (including massive Jenga), many a instagram photos are being taken and the area is bustling with the best energy of humans. We loved walking around, joining in on hackey-sack-like games and sweating it out with the rest of Vietnam.
3. Quan Pho Thin
We are not the strictest of vegetarians while traveling…especially when it comes to pho. While we order it without meat, there is no doubt that the broth is meat based. If you are a vegetarian and can get past that, as we did, then take a seat in this local restaurant and order the only thing on the menu. It was some of the richest, most delicious pho in all of Vietnam. For about a dollar or two.
4. Bahn Mi 25
We walked through the touristy old quarter of Hanoi where a lot of drinking and bad food can be found, including some terrible banh mi. Which made finding this place/booth all the more delightful. There is an easy to read (aka English) menu with quite a few options, and the vegetarian banh mi was absolutely delicious. There is a cute little restaurant next to the banh mi cart where you can sit inside to enjoy it.
5. Hanoi Social Club
A three-story coffee shop tucked into a side street, the Hanoi Social Club is the the quintessential charming coffee shop-meets music-meets cocktail location. We couldn’t decide which direction to go, so we shared a cocktail and dessert and the infamous egg coffee (not our fave). If we had been posting up in Hanoi for awhile, I imagine we would have returned to this eclectic charming spot multiple times to do work and hang out.
Ho Chi Minh Complex and Bia Hoi in the Old City
We visited the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and paid the fee to tour the grounds that are just adjacent to the mausoleum. The grounds, which include his home on stilts, were beautiful and it was interesting to learn about Ho Chi Minh’s life. And of course, make sure to indulge in Bia Hoi! It is the locally and daily made beer that is sold for around $0.25 a glass. And it is as delicious as any lager in SE Asia.
Top 5 Things To Do in Hanoi, Vietnam is part of Just Carrying On – Top 5 Things To Do series, which offers our best travel recommendations from around the world.