Shannon Did What / Travel + Lifestyle Blog

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Hanoi 2-Day Itinerary

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

Vietnam is one of my favorite places that I've visited.  There really is so much culture to see and it feels like you've been transported to another world.  Vietnamese food was truly the highlight of my trip which you can read about here, but wandering around the city is definitely a close second.

This is one of those cities that you can just wander and wander.  You'll really get to see more of the city that way.  Getting lost in a city is probably one of my favorite things to do.  You never know what you'll come across.  

Here's a breakdown of my 2-day itinerary:

DAY ONE
Train Street
Bun Cha
Hang Trong Shopping
Hanoi Night Market
 

DAY TWO
Taoist Temple Quan Thanh
Ho Truc Bach Lake
Tran Quoc Pagoda
Cong Caphe

Read on for more on each place!

DAY ONE
Head to the infamous Train Street.

I had seen so many photos of this street in Hanoi where the train runs very narrowly between two buildings.  It feels more like an alleyway than a street with a train track running through it.  The street goes on for miles, so there are plenty of opportunities to check it out.  I think this area is the best spot

The best part is walking up the street and exploring some of the business on the street.  We stumbled in the cutest paper store.  They make their paper using the traditional Vietnamese paper-making techniques and have the cutest designs.  They even offer a paper making tour if you have time.  Check out Zo paper, here.

Grab some Bun Cha for lunch.

Head up the train street and you’ll be just walking distance from Bun Cha was one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes I had in Vietnam.  I had actually never heard of it before.  Bun Cha (pronounced boon cha) is grilled fatty pork over a plate of white vermicelli rice noodles that you can dip in a sauce.  It’s accompanied by greens and the yummiest spring rolls.  Head to this address, for the best Bun Cha!  Read a more thorough description of where to find this place, here.

Shop til you drop on Hang Trong.

After you fill yourself with delicious Bun Cha wander around the around to shop till you drop, quite literally.  You can head down Hang Trong, Hang Gai or Hang Bong.  Each street is named for what products are sold there.  Everything is grouped.  Clothing in one area.  Artisan goods in another.  The shopping in Hanoi is amazing!  They have some great “knock-off” goods including North Face, Fjallraven, Nike, and many more.  Wandering around is the best way to discover which area is which.  

You can try to bargain a bit, but they don’t try to make as many deals as I’ve experienced in other countries.  And trust me, I’m really good at bargaining, but here they didn’t budge much in price.

Hit up the Hanoi Night Market.

After all of that shopping and wandering, you’ll no doubt be exhausted.  Head to the Hanoi Night Market to find some delicious food and even shop a little more.  The scene is pretty lively and fun.  Again, wandering around the streets is the best way to see the area.


DAY TWO

Today, head a little outside of the old quarter to explore some of the beautiful temples and buildings Hanoi has to offer.

Discover the Taoist Temple Quan Thanh.

The multi-door gate to the Taoist Temple Quan Thanh temple is everything that you would imagine a well-preserved Vietnamese temple to look like.  It’s actually quite unassuming as if I didn’t know it was there while walking by I might not have stopped.  The details are intricate and beautiful.

Walk around Ho Truc Bach lake.

Head just down the way, north from the Taoist Temple Quan Thanh to Ho Truc Bach Lake.  You won’t be able to miss it.  As you’re walking down the street, you’ll find yourself with water to both your left and right.  You can grab a coffee overlooking the lake or even rent a swan boat to go onto the lake.

Check out Tran Quoc Pagoda.

Sitting on the lake is Tran Quoc Pagoda.  It’s a great place to stop by for a quick photo or explore the grounds for a bit.  There are also a ton of great stands to buy souvenirs just outside.

Grab a coffee at Cong Caphe.

Just on the north side of Ho Truc Bach lake, you’ll find a Cong Caphe.  There are actually multiple scattered around Hanoi, but this one offer a cute view of the lake.  Cong Caphe is famous for their military, war decor.

I really enjoyed getting to see what seemed like two sided to the city of Hanoi.  The old quarter is vibrant and full of hustle and bustle.  You'll really get the feeling of the city.  When you venture just outside of the old quarter, you'll get to see more of the beauty of the traditional looking Vietnamese buildings and temples.  It's interesting to see the French influence on the city.
 

Special thanks, to my blogger friend, Kelsey, for giving us so much awesome advice on what to do while Hanoi.  So happy we were able to meet in person!  Check out Kelsey's blog, Miles of Smiles.

Yours Truly // Shannon

Hanoi Sahul - Hanoi, Vietnam

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

The city of Hanoi is one beautiful place.  It's full of such beautiful culture and incredible foods to try.  A stop in Hanoi is a must do on any trip to Southeast Asia and I found a great option for a place to stay.

The Hanoi Sahul hotel is a great, affordable option in Hanoi and it offers some really great amenities that would be any experience better.  If you love complimentary buffet breakfasts and a clean room, add Hanoi Sahul to your list.

I've broken my review down by category to make it easier for you to see all of the thing the Hanoi Sahul has to offer.

SERVICE

As soon as our car arrived at the Hanoi Sahul, the service was exceptional.  We were greeted by more than a handful of people that opened the car doors and retrieved our luggage.  After checking in we were escorted to our room.  The Hanoi Sahul are extremely aware and tentative to their guests.  I swear it felt like they knew where we were in the hotel at most times and made sure to escort us or call the elevator before we even turned the corner.  The staff was very helpful and flexible.

LOCATION

If you’re looking to stay in the Hanoi Old Quarter this hotel isn’t within walking distance.  However, it is extremely easy to travel anywhere around Hanoi from the Hanoi Sahul.  The hotel is about a 15 minute Uber to the Old Quarter which is usually less than $2USD. 

I actually liked that the hotel was more immersed in a more local area.  It somehow feels a bit more authentic.  The hotel is located very close by a couple of local malls with lots of places to eat.

FOOD

The complimentary buffet breakfast that is included in your stay is one of the largest assortments I’ve seen.  You could have a meal and then some.  The spread included western and Vietnamese options and a giant from scratch Pho station.  What’s better than hot soup in the morning?  But seriously, I don't think I've seen a buffet breakfast this large that included such diverse and tasty options.

AMENITIES

There are multiple amenities that the Hanoi Sahul offers.  They have two restaurants, an indoor pool and sauna, a karaoke club, massage shop and a bar on the top floor of the hotel with beautiful views of the city.  You can also get these 360 degree views from the second to top floor which is where the buffet breakfast is located.

ROOMS

The rooms are extremely spacious comparatively to most hotel rooms that feel like a small shoebox.  The rooms are clean, actually have English stations on the television, and a very high tech shower complete with about 6 shower heads to choose from. 

Next time you're in Hanoi, check out the Hanoi Sahul hotel!

You can check them out online, here.

*Sponsored Post: My hotel stay was provided in collaboration with Hanoi Sahul! All opinions are my own.

Hanoi Food Guide

TravelShannon Guerrero10 Comments

There's not much explanation needed for this blog post.  When you make a trip to Hanoi, make sure to add all of these foods to your list of things to try.  I've even linked the addresses for the stalls, restaurants and cafes we ate each food at.  Most of the places didn't have names, but just star the addresses in your Google maps and you'll be good to go!  I included some of the store fronts so you know exactly what the places look like.

Before traveling to Vietnam, I'm ashamed to admit that I really had only ever had pho.  And on top of that I think I only had it once.  I really didn't realize how many delicious Vietnamese foods I was missing out on.  Obviously there are is so much more you can eat in Vietnam, but these were my favorites!

Here's the list. You're welcome.

 

one.
PHO [pronounced fa]:
a Vietnamese soup of broth, noodles, herbs and meat.

I’ve never really been a pho fan until I had pho almost every day in Vietnam.  I know, I know.  If you’ve had pho you probably think I’m crazy, but hear me out.  It’s not that I didn’t like it.  I just had never had it until college.  I grew up eating ramen frequently and really had never tried Vietnamese food since I’m Chinese.  Now I know what I’ve been missing out on.

You can find Pho everywhere in Vietnam.  Can’t really go wrong!

two.
BUN CHA [pronounced boon cha]: 
grilled fatty pork over a plate of white rice noodles with a dipping sauce.

I had never heard of bun cha before my trip, much like most other Vietnamese foods, but my gosh this dish is delicious and very filling.  At least where we ate, they served so much food.  On top of getting a bowl of meat and a large plate of white rice noodles, you also get a heaping mound of fresh greens and spring rolls, too.  Just thinking about how much flavor the grilled pork has is making me hungry.

Want to eat where I ate? Head to this address and look for the signage in the picture above.  It’s a small alley way literally in the middle of two buildings.  Walk straight back and past the first chairs along the wall.  A lady will greet you and show you to an open table.  There’s no ordering necessary here (besides a drink), all they serve their specialty, bun cha!  I’ve heard this place is good, as well.

three.
BAHN MI [pronounced bon me]:
the most delicious sandwich on a french baguette.

This is one Vietnamese food that I crave - it is so good.  Basically you can get juicy meat like beef or pork belly accompanied by shredded and pickled carrots and radishes and cilantro on a fresh baguette.  

One night we were on a search to eat some bahn mi and stumbled across this place.  Don’t be fooled that the sign says Yogurt Bar and look for the smaller sign that says Bahn Mi 14.  The cart out from offers about 8 different types of bahn mi’s freshly made to order by the sweetest lady.  You won’t be able to just get one, trust me.

four.
PHO CUON [pronounced fuh kwon]:
white rice noodle rolls filled with meat and vegetables. 

I was told by a friend living in Hanoi that I had to try pho cuon while in Vietnam.  She said it was better to have than traditional pho.  She was definitely right.  These look a lot like spring rolls but are made from white rice noodles not clear rice wrappers or wonton wrappers.

Head to Huong Mai Noodle Roll.  A recommendation from my local friend.  When you arrive there are two locations just across the street from each other.  It doesn’t matter which side you dine in, the menu is the same!

five.
PHO TRON [pronounced fuh tron]:
cold beef noodle salad.

This was hands down my favorite dish I had in Vietnam and quite frankly is pretty high on my list of favorite foods now, too.  We weren’t all too sure what we were ordering but the photos on their menu looked delicious and it looked like a good compliment to the pho cuon we just ordered.  In all honesty, I thought I was going to love the pho cuon and just have a little of the pho tron, but I was so off.  Pho tron, a must try. 

You can try Pho Tron at Huong Man Noodle Roll, too!

six.
CONG COFFEE

There are multiple locations for Cong Caphe in Hanoi and I think all of Vietnam.  The decor of the locations are really cool.  They have a really cool, old school military vibe and everything is really well decorated to that theme.  Head here for their coconut coffee.  Another recommendation from my local friend.  I’m not a coffee drinker, but if you stop into a Cong Caphe grab one of their famous coconut coffees. My friend had one and said it was delicious. 

seven.
EGG COFFEE

If you’re a coffee drinker, you may have heard of egg coffee.  It’s a Vietnamese coffee drink prepared with egg yolks and condensed milk.

If you’re looking for a place to try egg coffee or really just a great place to take a break, stop by Cafe Phố Cổ in the old quarter.  It’s a little tricky to find.  Even while looking at a map, my friend and I passed by it so many times.  This is where it is located.  It is not labeled on the outside.  The store front is actually a clothing store, but if you peer inside, you’ll see the small Cafe Phố Cổ sign.  After heading down the long aisle, you can order your drinks and snacks at the desk just to the left.  After ordering, head all the way to the top of the building for an incredible view of Hoàn Kiếm Lake.  You’ll have to walk up 3-4 floors to get to the top, but it’s so worth it. 

eight.
FRENCH PASTRIES

I didn’t realize this before, but the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, was actually built by the French.  Because of this there is a lot of French influence leftover.  One of the major French influcences was its pastries.  Remember bahn mi’s?  They’re made with fresh French pastries.  There are lots of great little French bakeries all over the city.  It’s really hard to resist the smell of freshly baked croissants, so pop into one and grab some French pastries.