I always hear the name Vietnam from movies based on the history of Vietnam War. I have seen the movies many times but, what intrigues me is to know what Vietnam looks like this 20th century. Although Vietnam is near to Philippines, I didn’t get the chance to visit but instead I flew directly from Dubai to Hanoi and my sister followed after few days. It was humid on May 2012, almost same in the Philippines. The airport is a bit far from Hanoi so I arranged an airport pick up from the hostel Central Backpackers Hostel; click here for more info. It was also my first time to stay in a hostel which is located in Old Quarter district of Hanoi. Later on, me and my sister stayed in Charming Hotel; check the hotel here. I noticed that the house in Hanoi or urban areas of Vietnam tend or designed to be narrow and in many floors. One local said to me that the cost of living or buying a property or a land/lot is very costly that is why the spaces or areas are narrow/small.
Vietnamese are very friendly, every where we go, they are very respectable not because same Asians but they are very welcoming to all foreign nationals. In Hanoi, I have never expected the influx of Westerners. Some are tourist, and some are staying for a very long time. Some of the British I have met in the hostel, they were there for three to five years as a teacher for English subject. Others are on voluntary mission and the rest are travelers or backpackers like me. Some sights to see are: Hoan Kiem lake, Temple of Literature, St. Josephs Cathedral, Vietnam Military History Museum, Flag Tower of Hanoi, Ngoc Son Temple, The Old Quarter, Dong Xuan Market, and Ly Quoc Su Pagoda.
Aside from rich history of Vietnam, they have one of the best cuisines in Asia. Whether on a five star restaurant, a road side eatery or street foods, they offer fresh and really delicious foods. Some of Vietnamese cuisines we have tried are: Pah Gah (chicken rice noodles) at Marilyn Restaurant, Bun Bo Nam Bo (rice noodles with beef & peanuts) for as low as 35,000 VND Vietnamese Dong, and Nem Cua Be (crab spring rolls) for 10,000VND. They have also the sweetest pineapple that I have tasted for 20,000VND.
The night life in Vietnam is one of the best. Totally awesome. We consider it as a party capital of Southeast Asia and one of the best travel we ever had. We met many people and share or exchange stories of travels.
I think when you stay in a decent and a backpackers hostel, you’ll meet people who share the same interest in life, enjoyments and plans in life. It was my first time to stay in a hostel and from then on I never looked back on staying in a hotel especially if you are a solo traveler. Yes, there will be no comfort of a home, not similar luxury of a hotel but learning something new and trying something in your life is a good experience.
So next time, don’t hesitate to visit Vietnam… party, place and people is just the beginning of a great adventure that you’ll never forget in your life.