Feb 08 2011

The cheapest way to get around Hanoi

Published by under Money & costs,Transport

Firstly: walking! The Old Quarter itself is reasonably small and it makes more sense to walk as then it’s easier to pop into shops, stop for a drink, take photos and generally observe. From the Old Quarter it’s not too far to the French Quarter and although the the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex is … read the full post

Feb 01 2011

Buying paintings in Hanoi: from copies to works of art

Published by under Shopping

Copying is rife across Vietnam, and art is no exception. Hanoi’s Old Quarter is littered with art shops selling life-size copies of a wide range of artists’ work: from Van Gogh to Da Vinci to Klimt. These aren’t prints; they’re freshly-painted by talented copy artists whom you can often see tracing and painting away in the shops. They’re generally sold … read the full post

Jan 26 2011

Live music in Hanoi: Hanoi Rock City

Published by under Bars & nightlife

The live music scene in Hanoi has been looking up recently. I don’t want to over claim — it’s certainly not London or Singapore — but it’s good to see new venues opening and the occasional visiting band. I was tempted along to Hanoi Rock City for the first time on Saturday night by the promise … read the full post

Jan 25 2011

Hanoi over Tet in 2011

Published by under Festivals

I’ve noticed a few forum posts recently with visitors worried about what they’ll find when they arrive in Vietnam during the 2011 Tet holidays. Yes, the country pretty much closes down for a few days at least, and yes, travel is difficult, but it’s really not the end of the world: hotels are available, tourist … read the full post

Jan 19 2011

Yes, Hanoi has cheap and decent massages

Published by under Spas & massage

I love a good — or even a reasonable — massage. So although I was happy to settle down in Hanoi I did feel a bit disappointed that there were no obvious places to get a $5 massage, such as I’d been used to in places like Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. But then to my joy I … read the full post

Jan 17 2011

Exhibitions for art lovers in Hanoi

Published by under Events

Three exhibitions — and a German film screening — caught my eye this week and might be of interest to art lovers visiting Hanoi. The first is simply entitled “Love” and is being held until February 12. It features works by Nguyen Quang Huy, primarily portraits but also landscapes, a video and neon sculptures. All explore … read the full post

Jan 13 2011

Eating pho like a Hanoian

Published by under Food

Pho – the staple of Vietnam – is available all day and, for my post-drinking eating pleasure, all night. A quick resume: steaming fragrant broth, thick rice noodles, beef or chicken. Simple and tasty as that. It’s not a tricky dish to eat but, for those of you who have as yet been unwilling to venture into the unknown … read the full post

Jan 11 2011

An insight to West Lake

West Lake is my favourite spot in Hanoi, yet is often overlooked by visitors to the city.  When we visited in 2009, we took cyclos from Hanoi’s Old Quarter out to Quan Thanh temple then walked along Duong Thanh Nien, the road that runs between West Lake and Truc Bach, and I fell in love. Just that … read the full post

Jan 09 2011

How to get a local SIM card in Hanoi

Published by under Phone & internet

It’s really cheap and easy to get a Vietnamese SIM card when you get to Hanoi, and if you’re in the country for a while it’s probably worthwhile, particularly if you plan to book hotels in advance. I was fortunate enough to inherit a Mobifone card from some girls we were travelling with in 2009 … read the full post

Jan 08 2011

Eating in Hanoi: Bun Cha

Published by under Food

While pho is probably the first food everyone thinks of, or hears about, when they come to Vietnam, bún chả is a northern speciality and arguably one of the tastiest things in the world. Yes, I am a big fan. It’s impossible to resist: as you walk past a stall the smell of barbecuing pork … read the full post

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