Back to Hanoi! Vietnam’s capital and one of my favourite cities in Southeast Asia.
Last time we were in Hanoi, we checkout out Lan Ha Bay and a few other interesting sites. You can check out that blog post here. But since this was our second trip, we decided it should be a lot more relaxed. We were there for a little over 2 days, which I think is good enough if you want to see all the major tourist spots.
Even with this trip we didn’t end up seeing the places we missed last time but that’s what a third trip is for! haha
So we ended up staying at a sister hotel to the first hotel we stayed at from our first trip. La Siesta Premium Hang Be is in the Old Quarter which is a really good location in regards to being close to the Hoan Kiem Lake, the night market, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and lots of shopping and art galleries. On a side note the check in process is really nice at the hotel, they give complimentary mocktails and local snacks while you wait. We also got an upgrade for our second night from their windowless room to one with a balcony. Both rooms are beautiful and spacious.
Now on to all the fun stuff! Our first stop was getting some food. There aren’t a lot of halal restaurants in Hanoi and majority of the halal ones don’t serve Vietnamese food. So we always turn to Vegetarian/ Vegan food and luckily there are variety of places to choose from. The restaurant we ate at is called The Veg – Organic Vego & Tea. We ordered three dishes; mushroom pizza – which had mushrooms with pesto as the “sauce”, mapo tofu with rice and a breakfast noodle soup. The portions are pretty large and very hearty.
Then we decided to go for a walk through the night market. The market is centred around clothing and shoes. A good portion of that are replicas, things like Adidas shoes and Champion hoodies. You might even come across fake Supreme Hoodies. Aside from that you can find the standard touristy type items, and also some street food. This time we got some coconut ice cream, and it was a really generous portion.
Day two! We decided to check out sneaker street which is right around the corner from the hotel. Sneaker street is a mix of fakes and non-fakes. Vietnam produces a lot of sneakers for some big companies so some might be fake, some might be just rejects from the factories or just made from leftover materials. It was fun to check it out and see what they were selling.
Then we were off to the Ngoc Son temple that sits in Hoan Kiem Lake. Literally a 3 minute walk from sneaker street. The temple was built in the mid 1800’s and much of it is preserved today along with two tortoise’s that lived in the lake. Check out the photos!
After the temple we decided to walk the walking trail around the Old Quarter. It’s quite a walk around the Old Quarter. The path takes you through streets selling paintings, silk, silver and some dried fruits. We almost finished the whole trail but ended up being so hungry that we just decided food was more important.
We headed to another vegan restaurant called Ưu Đàm Chay. This is probably our favourite restaurant in Hanoi. The food here is delicious and super fresh. Similar to our last visit we ordered the pine nut soup and pineapple fried rice. But also we decided we’d try something different so we had fried vegetables with tom yum sauce and fried spring rolls.
After lunch we walked back to the Old Quarter and checkout out some of the galleries to get some paintings as gifts. Some of the galleries can actually duplicate a picture of yours into a painting in a few days. A lot of the galleries have the same paintings so you might want to visit multiple before buying. They will roll it up for you and put it in a pipe (like one used for plumbing) or a cardboard roll depending on the size so it’s easy to pack and bring home.
For dinner we headed to d’LIONS restaurant in the Cosiana Hotel. It focuses on Singaporean/Malay cuisine with some Vietnamese dishes thrown in. We visited the restaurant last time we were in Hanoi as well. Like last time, I got the Beef Pho and the hubby got Claypot Chicken with Rice. The food was pretty good just like last time.
Afterwards we headed back to the night market area to pick up some late night munchies. Coming back we stumbled upon a V-pop concert happening right near the lake. It was really full on for a free concert and super super packed.
Alright final day! Our flight was in the early evening which gave us around 4-5 hours to explore. We decided to talk a walk around the lake and walk to the French Quarter to see the Opera House. During the weekend the road around Hoan Kiem Lake is blocked off from traffic. Its a great place to sit and people watch. There are a few cafes around the lake too so its easy to grab some of that Vietnamese coffee that’s so famous. This trip I finally got to try egg coffee, which for someone who doesn’t like coffee it was pretty amazing. Give it a try when you go!
Obviously we had time for one last meal before our flight so we headed to Minh Chay Vegan restaurant. Along with Uu Dam Chay its on the list for the best vegan restaurant’s in Hanoi. I got a bahn mi and my husband got a rice bowl. The food was good and we hardly noticed that tofu was a substitute for meat.
And that just about sums up our return to Hanoi! Hopefully we’ll get to go again when it’s not so cold (or hot like last time) and do some more sightseeing!
Till next time!