Thursday, December 25, 2014

VIETNAM HANOI: Vietnamese Street Food, Ngoc Son Temple & Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre Show

Left home at 6am and arrived at the airport before 7am. We did not check-in any baggage as we only had hand carry so I headed to the self check-in and printed out our own tickets. Simple easy peasy...If there's one thing I love about KLIA2 and Airasia is the speedy process. Keep it up! :-D
As we had ample time to waste before our 9am flight we decided to have breakfast at this Baba Nyonya Cuisine Cafe

Well, price is expensive and didn't taste good at all but it's enough to curb our hunger throughout the flight till we reach Hanoi

Hola! *Sleepyfaced*

*Beauty Mode* :-P
We were about to land and from the airplane I noticed that it was EXTREMELY misty and hazy
I thought to myself, "I never hear of any pollution in Hanoi before?" hmmm...
A picture of the airport coz my mum told me to take a picture of it

So we arrange our flight, accommodation, airport transfer and Halong bay day trip via a tour agency back in Malaysia a.k.a Reliance tour agency. Upon arrival, we couldn't find our driver. I had to make repeated calls to the "person-in-charge" in Vietnam...
After all that stress I told myself..."Ok Sarah, no bitch's gonna kill my vibe.."
This is the picture of the NEW Hanoi Airport which would be ready in 2 weeks, so if you are planning to head to Hanoi in a few weeks time you'd be lucky to be greeted by the new airport there :-D

A blur picture of the "Red River"
Finally arrived at our Hotel. We stayed at the Hanoi Amanda Hotel which is located at the Old Quarters
Hanoi city is separated into 3 sections- The Old Quarters, The French Quarters and also the Modern Town. I would say The Old Quarters is your best bet and most of the things you need to see and eat is there :-)

That's the cafe that is located on the Ground floor where we have our "complimentary" breakfast every morning. If you are too lazy to head out, the menu has a lot of Vietnamese dishes for you to choose from also...
Our room was pretty

Really love this "shade" of roses that you will hardly find in Malaysia *hint*hint* :-P

I really enjoyed my trip in Hanoi and there's so much to see even if you get lost on the streets! It's like a new discovery at every street corner :-)

Of course, we were starving! With me being the connoisseur of food, I had a written list and a virtual list on my phone of "List of Food to eat in Hanoi"
First up was BUN CHA!!! :-D
In Hanoi, be prepared to sit at street corners to savor all those delicious local food. Hence, I would advice that it is better to wear pants or if you have to, long skirt when traveling in Hanoi.
Bun Cha is Vermicelli noodles served which barbecued pork in dipping sauce.
In stall in particular, served the dish with yummy fried spring rolls too! 3 of us shared 1 portion and it cost us RM7 (45,000 VND)
The rice vermicelli in Vietnam is different from the ones you fin in Malaysia. The ones in Vietnam is whiter in color whereas the "bihun" in Malaysia is brownish in color...Let me know if any of you know where to get these white kinds in KL...I wanna open cafe...SERIOUS one!!!
Compared to Thailand, Indonesia and even Malaysia, dining at the back alleys of Hanoi is pretty clean and I have NEVER spotted a single cockroach, lizard, spider, rat, stray dog or cat when I was having street food over there...Or maybe just like the Chinese, they cook anything with more than 2 legs? :-S I dunno, just speculating :-P

This place is located at the end of the road from hotel at Hang Be street.
OMG OMG OMG!!!!! A new Hello Kitty cafe that was under renovation!!! If only I was heading there a couple of weeks later...huhuhu!!! T___T
Ok, this was the part where my mum got scammed >__<"
You see the Banana thingamajiggy that she was carrying?
This one...bloody c*ba*!!! The stupid seller forced bananas and pineapple on us for RM32 bucks!!! WTF!!! They were lucky as we just landed and we were pretty blur...they tried to force it on my brother also...and my mum then scolded them...
If any of these idiots try to force you to buy these expensive bananas bloody SCREAM at them!!!
In Hanoi, Cock fighting is a hobby, So you'll see a lot of people rearing chickens that are very pretty

Occasionally, you would be able to spot high end brands like these too!
Typical souvenirs that are sold in Hanoi
Please prepare to be scammed by Restaurants/Cafe, Taxi Drivers and Souvenir Peddlers...They usually charge tourist a "tourist price" and most of the time, they refuse to give discounts...However, sometimes the price is just "slightly" higher so we don't really argue with them...No point wasting time and spoiling our holiday

Chim Quay a.k.a Fried Pigeon at 120,000 Vietnamese Dong which is RM 19...
Fried pigeon is one of the delicacies in Vietnam

I actually bought this Banh Mi (Spelt Banh My in Vietnam) from the airport. It was just so-so but I needed "small change". This was the ONLY Banh Mi that we ate throughout our trip as we figured that we should focus on all the other street food in Hanoi as KL (Kuala Lumpur) already have TOO many Banh Mi sandwich cafes...

With Pork Ham...I could do a better version!!!
A "normal" cafe/coffee shop in Hanoi...I love sitting down and observing the locals going on with their usual daily life. As it was a Friday, a lot of working class crowd were busy having lunch.
Also had Beef Pho (Beef Hor Fun Noodles) at the same cafe. It was BAD. Really bland...
What I noticed is that Beef Balls usually come separately, you would have to request for Beef Balls if you want it with your Pho
35,000 Vietnamese Dong (RM 5.70)
In Hanoi, I really enjoyed looking at their Children Clothes as I found it to be really fashionable. I think when I have kids, I would shop for majority of their clothes here...It's my kids after all :-D Future Fashion icons and superstars :-)

That's my hotel and how MAJORITY of how the hotels at the Old Quarters would look like. Tall and slim looking buildings...Just like buildings in Amsterdam which build their buildings taller instead of wider to avoid high taxes
The Old Quarters is located very near the Hoen Kiem Lake. At the lake is the Ngoc Son temple

See, their shophouses are usually very tall and "slim"

This fountain is one of the "landmarks" at the Old Quarters...Usually if we get lost, we would ask directions to the lake of this fountain...
The Coffee Shops here is also a great place to chill, hang out and admire the beautiful view of the Hoen Kiem Lake
Christmas in Vietnam is celebrated commercially. You'll find a lot of Xmas trees around

After walking around the lake, which I find was an extremely good exercise (also due to the beautiful weather), we headed to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre...
Do ask around for directions if you get lost (like us!). Most locals would be able to point you to this place as it is one of the famous Tourist spots in Hanoi.
Thang Long which means Ascending Dragon/ Flying Dragon was the original name of Hanoi
You can find the show schedule on their website:
We bought the Tier 1 seats which is the "more" expensive one at 100,000 Dong (RM 16)...But trust me, might as well take the cheaper ones as the seats they gave us was quite far behind...=__="

Also, keep your used tickets as you can trade 2 tickets for a free cup of Vietnamese Coffee :-D

Outside, you can find throngs of tourist and tourist be patient when entering the theatre...

At the end of the show, the "puppeteers" who are half submerged throughout the 45 min shows comes out to bow...
I thought to myself, "What a tough job!" as they would have been wrinkly like prunes already and they have at least 5-6 shows everyday :-(
Claiming my cup of Vietnamese Coffee...I'm a HUGE fan of Vietnamese Coffee as it is thick enough and I love a cup of coffee that gives me a "kick"
Thank god winter clothing is cheap and I got this winter jacket for only RM32 (200,000 VND) :-D
I didn't expect the weather to be that cold so I only brought very thin sweaters...bad was freezing, though the temperature is 15-16 Celsius but the wind is what gives you that bone chilling cold...
A display of all the water puppets which my mum thought was kind of eerie especially at night :-O
Hot Vietnamese Coffee
Cold Vietnamese Coffee...Only Half Full coz my brother requested for less ice...LOL!!!
Mum's Cappuccino

As we were walking around, looking for a place to have dinner, we came across this backpacker street which unbeknownst to us was actually super near our hotel...

This street was filled with restaurants offering Barbecue and Hot Pot and we randomly picked this restaurant...
When in Vietnam...:-)

Vietnamese Baguette Bread

Asian style BBQ :-D

This dipping was what made Vietnamese BBQ super addictive!!! Salt, Sugar, Black Pepper, Chili and Lime...All 5 flavors of your palate :-) Very smart!

You don't see much stray dogs and cats around...Probably because Vietnamese eat Cats and Dogs? :-S Just saying, don't scold me...
Most dogs you find at the restaurants are the owner's personal pets. The waitress jokingly told the next table that he could opt to barbecue this cute little thing if he like :-P

These were ingredients for the Hot Pot which I really enjoyed too as the soup base tasted very similar to Salted Vegetable Soup, which is one of my favorite soup...
The Barbecue is SUPER DUPER addictive that we had this again for dinner the next day :-D Would like to open a Vietnamese BBQ place in KL...any investors? :-D

I only spent 290,000 VND (RM47) for this hearty dinner!

After dinner, we headed to the Hanoi Dong Xuan Nightmarket which is open from 6pm onwards on Friday, Saturday and Sundays...
A lot of clothing items are being sold here but we were not really interested in buying clothes throughout this trip...

I had a few "digital" accidents while in Hanoi...a few of my camera's memory card decided to become wonky but thank god there are camera shops around to save the day!
A lot of higher end brands are beginning to appear in Vietnam

Around Hoen Kiem lake, you will find groups of people. Ladies mostly, doing some form of exercise like aerobics, latin dancing and even hip hop...

After the long day, we headed back to the hotel to sleep as we had to wake up early the next morning for our Halong Bay Day trip :-)

Read my other "Hanoi, Vietnam" Blog posts here:-

Part 1-

Part 2-

Part 3-

Best Food in Hanoi-

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