The vibrant city of Hanoi

Trip Start Dec 17, 2012
Trip End Jan 20, 2012

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Flag of Vietnam  , Hanoi,
Thursday, December 20, 2012

The city caught us a bit by surprise. I dont think that we were quite ready for this fast paced, colourful and vibrant street life. I did however expect it to smell foul..(and it did in some areas) but its part of the experience. On the other end end of the scale you are overwhelmed by various delicacies prepared by the street vendors. You can buy anything from roasted corn on the cob, pork or chicken kebabs, spring rolls, beef noodle soup, frogs, snake, dog-dishes and stuff that looked like mini donuts and many more.

Try to get local money in smaller amounts as its not that easy to bargain if you don't have the correct change.

I really enjoyed the local beer and coffee. Both Hanoi and Tiger beer is light and easy to drink...not as gassy as most European beers. The coffee is really strong and quite different in taste. I had a coffee with condensed milk at a street cafe. They serve it either hot or cold like iced coffee. You get used to it by the 2nd sip and it is delicious!

One note about crossing the streets as a pedestrian: Stay close to each other and follow some locals. You have to take a leap of faith to cross the road, otherwise you will be stuck on the sidewalk forever. It feels like they dont really stop to let you pass, its more like they dodge you or a driver slower to miss you..and each other.

If you would like to go for a less fast paced stroll or jog, do so around the Hoan Kiem lake.

The water puppet theatre is something to see. There are various shows from about 2pm till about 9pm. You can book either front or back row seats. We sat in the 2nd row from the front and it was great. You pay a bit extra to be able to take photo or videos, but its so worth it. I took video clips on my camera which worked better than photos. We went to see the 8pm show. Afterwards we stll had time to visit some of the street vendor's stalls for dinner. At about 10 pm everything starts to die down a bit and we went for a few drinks the Green gecko. They also serve great food and have an awesome upstairs balcony from where you can observe the street life and catch a bit of a breather from the street mahem.

Stumbled on a place that gives each customer a little round barbeque plate with a type of candle underneath. Then they bring you the raw ingredients and you grill you own. Its consists of beef, chicken and veg with the most delicious dipping sauce ever! Be sure to give this place a try. It looks dodgy and dirty an you sit on tiny plastic chairs. We sat upstairs because it was packed with people downstairs and outside. There were tons of locals, so we assumed that the food had to be good...and it was out of this world!

"Le bar" is also an option that stays open quite late. Its usually packed with fellow travelers and they have different specials for every night of the week.
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