Hey there, I’m Abbie (@abbiejadewanders) a Travel Blogger (albeit sporadic), Editor and Translator. Currently giving a van life in New Zealand, with my lovely other half Josh, after a year of travelling living and working in Asia. We left the UK in November 2018 on a one-way flight and don’t plan to return until we have seen a substantial amount of this wonderful world (as soon as it’s safe, cheers Covid).
Initially we travelled for six months across Asia, travelling from Singapore through South East Asia, out to the Philippines before spending two months travelling across India and then hopping across to Vietnam where I spent the next 9 months living and working as a English Teacher with kindergartners.
Hanoi was and still is my favourite city. You know when somewhere just makes you feel happy, like a smile ear to ear-fuzzy feeling kind of happy. That’s Hanoi for me. I adore the craziness of the city, the way this eclectic, eccentric capital is bursting at the seams with vibrancy, culture, colour, coffee, crazy-delicious food, and the friendliest people.
What is a typical breakfast and where would you go?
Before we dive into the food questions it would be a good idea to mention that I am vegetarian, so all the food/recommendations mentioned below are suitable for veggies and most cater to vegans too.
A typical breakfast for me would be a trip to my favourite little café off of Xuan Dieu in Tay Ho – Lá Studio. Serving up delicious vegan food and equally good coffee. My go to order would be a tempeh bagel with an iced coconut coffee.
Where is your favourite place to grab lunch?
Ooh, so many to choose from. Mood dependent I would either opt for a bánh mì with tofu and avocado from the very well known Bánh Mì 25 or a bowl of bún trộn chay (mixed veggie noodles) from Gòn- Bites & Veggies.
What is the ideal afternoon activity in a city like Hanoi
For me, the ideal afternoon would involve a stroll around Hoàn Kiếm and the Old Quarter a cà phê sữa dá (iced coffee with milk), a bánh mì or two followed by a chilled afternoon on the stools of a bia hơi.
Where are the best places for dinner?
There are so many options in Hanoi, you can find food from all corners of the world. My favourite places for dinner would have to be Minh Chay for veggie Vietnamese dishes, Bún Chả Burger for incredible fusion creations, Pizza 4Ps for seriously good pizzas – the four cheese with honey is genuinely the best pizza I have ever eaten and finally Bao Wow for Asian fusion inspired small plates and Bao buns!
In the evening, what is the city like and where do you find yourself?
Alive. Hectic. Bustling. I really hope 2020 hasn’t taken that away from Hanoi, as the evening atmosphere is just infectiously unique.
In a busy city like Hanoi, is there anywhere to chill?
Yes, even in a city of 8 million people there are still plenty of places to chill. There’s coffee shops aplenty like Tranquil Books and Coffee, parks, quiet museums to peruse, rooftops and epic outdoor swimming pools like Trill Rooftop Pool and Café.
What is there to do for something fun and different?
There are many options for food and coffee tours, which are a great way to try and learn about many of the traditional, local dishes. Alternatively, head to Hoàn Kiếm and observe people playing đá cầu (best explained as a type of ‘foot badminton’) a simple yet skilful pastime that has won over the hearts of millions.
Where is the best area to stay/sleep for young travellers?
It depends on why you’re visiting the city, if you’re simply passing through for a quick visit then it is probably best to base yourself in the heart of the action in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, there are so many options depending on your budget. Alternatively, if you’re thinking of staying for longer then I would have a look at Airbnbs in Ba Đình or Tây Hồ.
What season would you recommend visiting?
Hanoi is a city that can be visited in all seasons, my favourite time to visit would probably be between October-December as the weather starts to cool a little which makes exploring a lot easier than in the sweltering summer heat.
Is Hanoi best for a family holiday/friends holiday or couple holiday?
Hanoi has something for everyone. You can prepare an itinerary for any group.