1. Traffic in Hanoi
Hanoi and Vietnam, in general, is famous for a huge number of motorbikes. There are over 45 million motorbikes registered in Vietnam, and you’ll be hit with your first bout of a culture shock when you first arrive in Hanoi.
Because of a huge number of motorbikes, which means the traffic is chaotic!
Please don’t expect people in here to stop and wait for you to cross the road. So, how to cross the road without being hit by car or motorbike? The local’s advice is to just walk at a steady even pace and don’t hesitate. It could be a little bit scary at first, but don’t worry, the people will slow down to let you cross, but only if you make the first move.
2. Vietnam’s currency is VND
1 USD = 23,185 VND (at the time of writing)
There are a lot “0”, and it’s easy to get fooled for the foreigner first travel to Hanoi. Suggest: you should have a currency exchange app on your phone to make it easier!
Be careful when paying for stuff as it can be easy to make mistakes with the notes. Keep enough cash with you as your card might not be accepted/work everywhere and card cloning attempts are common.
When you shopping at a market or shop in Hanoi, don’t be surprised to find that prices of goods change by the hour/day. Just bargain to a price you’re willing to pay and leave it at that.
3. The street life in Hanoi
As you walk around Hanoi Old Quarter, you’ll find out most of the Hanoian’s daily activities is done on the outdoors.
People eat and drink with their friends, the hairdresser styling hair for the customers, children jump road or play football, even shuttlecock kicking, all activities happen in the sidewalk.
4. Street vendors are everywhere!
Street vendors are an indispensable part of urban life in every big city and have gone deep into the subconscious of many generations. The vendors served the most food, fruits, flowers, and domestic products. There are two kinds of streets vendors: those have a stable stand in the street and those go around by bike or foot.
Many tourists are attracted to street vendors and considered them as the beauty of the city. Tourists should try some food from the street vendors when coming to Ha Noi. But still, beware about food hygienic and safe. And bargain is virtually a must and need!
Ha Noi is growth, many old jobs have been lost but street vendors are still there. People, especially those stay in Old square still prefer to buy food, flowers,… from street vendors. Street vendors are something from the old-time holding little culture of Vietnam.
5. Hanoi is the food’s paradise
In the past few years, Vietnamese food has become more and more popular around the world. Food lovers may have tried the two best known Vietnamese dishes – spring rolls and bread rolls. Rice, noodles, fresh vegetable and herbs all play big roles in Vietnamese food, making it one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.
In Hanoi, there are amazing dishes to discover. Whether you prefer street food or fancier restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice; and the best part is that it’s all pretty cheap.
Here’re some dishes you should try when you visiting Hanoi
* Pho: The national Vietnamese dish. (Phở Gia truyền 49 Bát Đàn str/ Phở Thìn 13 Lò Đúc str/ Phở 10 Lý Quốc Sư str)
* Bun Cha- Barbecued Pork with Rice Vermicelli: The Vietnamese dish President Obama fell in love with (Bún chả 24 Lê Văn Hưu str/ Bún chả đắc kim 1 hàng Hành str)
*Cha Ca- Grilled Fish with Dill and Tumeric is a must-eat food in Hanoi. It’s so famous to foreign tourists that everyone arriving Hanoi will try to taste it at least one time. (Chả Cá Thăng Long19 – 21 – 31, Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi/ Chả Cá Lã Vọng 14 Chả Cá str, Hà Nội)
* Bún Cá – Fish Noodle Soup: In northern Vietnam, freshwater fish is widely used in dishes. This Hanoi food Bún Cá is no exception ( 5Trung Yên alley, Hà Nội.)
* Bánh Cuốn – Steamed Rice Rolls: is a delicate and light dish usually eaten for breakfast in Vietnam. However, you can find it all day long (Bánh cuốn gia truyền 12 Hàng Gà str)
* Bánh Mì – Vietnamese Sandwich: The bánh mì sandwich is truly the best Vietnamese sandwich to fall in love with. (bánh mì P: 12 hàng Buồm str)
To be continued...