Image

WanderWoman: Getting around Hanoi

Hello everyone! This is my third WanderWoman post about my Hanoi trip. I am very much excited to show you fragments of Hanoi through local transport. Vietnamese people have several ways to roam around and they’re not just about cabs and buses. Let me show you different ways to explore the country (some in three wheels or less).

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.18.35 AM - Display 1

 

CYCLOS

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.19.41 AM - Display 1

Above is a photo of cyclos famous among tourists in Hanoi. It is a three-wheeled vehicle that can carry up to two people. This kind of transportation is endemic in Asian countries like Vietnam. In China, they call this rickshaw. Unlike the typical bicycle with sidecar, the cyclos have a seat at the front for passengers and the driver at the back.

XE OM

hanoixeom

Xe om (say ohm) is known as motorbike taxi in Vietnam. But what I like about it more is the real translation of the word which means “motorbike hug”. Since Vietnam is filled with two-wheeled vehicles, it is expected that local transport like xe om are used by tourists for sightseeing. Even though xe om is faster and more affordable majority still prefer cabs not just for the safe option for transportation but because English speaking driver can be a great guide as well.

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.15.36 AM - Display 1

CITY BUSES

Buses are currently the only means of public transportation around Hanoi. Each buses have different numbers that corresponds to different towns and bus stops. Although few travelers deal with buses to the evident language barrier, I find this convenient, safe and cheaper than xe om.

Image

PIG OUT: Vietnamese Street food

tumblr_ost37bQ05K1qfxg3qo1_500

Aside from the different sights to see in Hanoi, I am excited to share my first hand experience on Vietnamese street food. From food carts to food bikes to vendors rolling out in droves, the choices of yummy food seem to be endless. My friend and I tried everything we saw on the streets. We had breads, noodles and different kinds of desserts. In between our stay, we also looked out for different cafés to enjoy their classic cà phê.

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.17.02 AM - Display 1

FIRST STOP. 

Bánh mì  has become one of my go-to food while strolling around Vietnam. It is a full tasty bread meal consists toasted baguette, your choice of meat or tofu, fresh cilantro, sweet pickled carrots, daikon radish, sliced cucumbers and mayonnaise spread. Customers can also request for jalapenos. Every serving of bánh mì looks like a classic order of Subway.

tumblr_ni5an76Lvp1u8pxe8o1_540

SECOND STOP.

One day, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and my vertigo was killing me. Since I was feeling under the weather, my friend and I agreed to have noodles for brunch. In Vietnam. Phở is the most famous rice noodle soup you could ever find. Each bowl is made out of homemade rice noodles, beef stock, beef cuts, spring onions, onions and cilantro. The server will also give you limes, chili, mint and bean sprouts to add on the soup. I may not know a lot about Vietnamese noodles but this one was amazing. We savored every ounces of broth inside the bowl. The serving was very inexpensive and totally worth it.

THIRD STOP.

Vietnamese Desserts. I call the first two photos above as a foreign version of Pinoy Halo-Halo. Chè thập cẩm is a sweet dessert that contains coconut milk, beans and jello. Some may have once scoop of ice cream on top depending on the customer’s liking. Also, they put shaved ice on top to be refreshing. The preparation of this dessert can be pretty tedious but it’s delicious. On the other hand, the third photo is known as the caramen (Caramel). Similar to chè, this dessert has beans, jello and coconut milk. But instead of having shaved ice, you have some form of sticky rice below and a custard flan on top.

My overall food escapade in Vietnam was promising. It was definitely proven that Hanoi is a street food haven for tourists and it’s own people. The food are affordable and they have generous amount of servings. Each food we tried consists of intensive labor and great flavor. Everything is a must-try and you’ll definitely come back for more.

 

Until next time,

screenshot-2017-01-22-at-12-39-44-pm-display-1

 

 

 

 

Image

WanderWoman: Hanoi, Vietnam

 

13600363_1112705665453691_6489654229455000822_n

Okay, I have to admit. I spent most of my days in Hanoi wandering around cities to cities. Exploring sites, food-hopping from hawkers to hawkers, connecting with people and enjoying the place as it is. During my early days in Hanoi, I stayed in a place called Phúc Yên. It is a small a town in Vĩnh Phúc province that is very close to the Nội Bài airport.

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.15.14 AM - Display 1

download

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.19.46 AM - Display 1

My departure from NAIA 3 was at 8:00 pm, but due to flight delay, I arrived at Nội Bài airport at half past 2:00 am. I know that Vietnam has a free-Visa pass for Filipinos for 21 days, but since I planned to stay longer, I was required to get a Visa before entering the country.

After getting a well-deserved rest the later that same day, I immediately packed my bags to meet – up with my friend Joy in Hoàn Kiếm. We planned to enjoy the rest of our stay there because it’s the heart of Hanoi and most of the places we want to visit are around the area. The trip from Phúc Yên to Hoàn Kiếm took me about 2 hours via Expressway. As soon as I reached Hanoi Rose Hotel, I settled in and rest for a bit before taking a tour outside.

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.18.16 AM - Display 1

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.18.11 AM - Display 1

Screenshot 2017-07-22 at 3.18.07 AM - Display 1

13600149_1112706638786927_5740115298740578538_n

12932901_1060214990702759_1370652037570300090_n

12993457_1064497550274503_4192245651595267016_n

We started the day strolling at Hoàn Kiếm Lake. Since the place is in the historical part of Hanoi, why not begin in one of the most scenic spots in the city. The entrance fee cost me about 20K VN Dong or 46php. It was once said that the lake was inhabited by a big turtle bringing safety to the city and prosperity to the people. Although we planned to see different places that day, Joy and I decided to go back to the hotel because I was too tired and not fully recovered from the trips I made for the past 2 days. Here’s a glimpse of our room at Hanoi Rose Hotel.

The room has two beds, one plasma screen TV with cable, fully air-conditioned, has a clean bathroom and WiFi accessible. Also there are drawers and cabinets perfect for our clothes. The room was clean and it smelled really nice. The following morning, there was a complimentary breakfast given to us. Even though I wish there was rice, the free meal was such a delight.

16003327_1284392611618328_5937123053967507414_n

My first few days in Vietnam went well and I am excited to share more of my experiences on my next WanderWoman blog. Let us talk about streetfood, shopping and public transportation.

 

Until next time,

screenshot-2017-01-22-at-12-39-44-pm-display-1