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Old 10-09-2012, 06:06 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Does anyone have any perceptions about Hanoi, Vietnam?

For those who have been, like myself, what are your opinions? For those who haven't, have you read/seen anything about it?

I thought it had charming parts, it felt a bit gritty and less modern than HCM, yet I felt like many cities in Vietnam a sort of genericness. I liked the European architecture/feel, Hoan Kiem lake and the Old Quarter, but I felt there wasn't much there you couldn't find in other cities. Also even the most upscale mall absolutely PALES in comparison to other cities, even though I'm not a HUGE mall fanatic, and the city layout is a bit random. The buildings also do get a bit repetitive.

My favourite cities in Vietnam were Hue and Hoi An, for sure. I'd still recommend spending 2-3 days if you're visiting Northern Vietnam. Sapa and Halong Bay are worth checking out, as well as the lesser known Perfume Pagoda, Mau Chai valley, Ba Be Lake area.

 
Old 10-09-2012, 07:27 AM
 
Location: Macao
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I really liked the French Quarter a lot. I liked it so much I went back to Vietnam a second time, solely to spend a lot more time in Hanoi. I was thinking I might want to live and teach English there in the future.

The second time got tiring though. It's better to keep moving in Vietnam. Once you get stationary, the people can really drain you, the constant asking if you want a cyclo ride every two seconds, the smirks as they harrass you asking 'where are you going?' as you go inside of business establishments, etc.

I've often thought that once vietnam gets some more money, Hanoi would be a great place to spend some time.
 
Old 10-09-2012, 08:37 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
I really liked the French Quarter a lot. I liked it so much I went back to Vietnam a second time, solely to spend a lot more time in Hanoi. I was thinking I might want to live and teach English there in the future.

The second time got tiring though. It's better to keep moving in Vietnam. Once you get stationary, the people can really drain you, the constant asking if you want a cyclo ride every two seconds, the smirks as they harrass you asking 'where are you going?' as you go inside of business establishments, etc.

I've often thought that once vietnam gets some more money, Hanoi would be a great place to spend some time.
Most backpackers and 'culture vulture' type travellers seem to prefer Hanoi over Saigon or HCM. It's kind of like San Francisco and LA: one is the older, more genteel, classy sibling with history and culture, while the other is the glitzy, but slightly bratty and cocky upstart which lacks the experience, isn't quite as aged like fine wine. Hanoi's foundations are extremely old but like most Asian cities few very old buildings remain. Ho Chi Minh City is barely older than many colonial cities in Asia like Penang or Singapore. I think the signs of Vietnam's economic rise are more clearly evident in HCMC, but Hanoi is changing too. Hanoi is a better place to see 'old Vietnam.' Still, for history/culture/architecture I still favour central Vietnam, although Danang is a bit of a non-event.
 
Old 10-09-2012, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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I agree with you, Trimac. Hanoi is worth about 2 days, tops. Old town is just annoying. The scenery and parks are ho-hum. Buildings are unimpressive. Food is meh. It's a toss up between the the markets and the Masoleum being the most interesting part. We did Hanoi in 3-ish days with a 2 night trip to Halong Bay, which is totally worth the effort to go see! We liked Hoi-An too. We didn't have a chance to spend more than a night in HCMC, which is our only regret.

I agree with Tiger too, keeping moving is the best way to do Vietnam, with a day or two in each town. It's such a long country, and the long-range busses are comfortable and easy to figure out.
 
Old 10-09-2012, 08:53 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
I agree with you, Trimac. Hanoi is worth about 2 days, tops. Old town is just annoying. The scenery and parks are ho-hum. Buildings are unimpressive. Food is meh. It's a toss up between the the markets and the Masoleum being the most interesting part. We did Hanoi in 3-ish days with a 2 night trip to Halong Bay, which is totally worth the effort to go see! We liked Hoi-An too. We didn't have a chance to spend more than a night in HCMC, which is our only regret.

I agree with Tiger too, keeping moving is the best way to do Vietnam, with a day or two in each town. It's such a long country, and the long-range busses are comfortable and easy to figure out.
I spend 3 weeks going south to north, beginning in HCMC and ending up in Hanoi. I did Saigon, Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels, Nha Trang (the islands/beaches, Po Nagar), Hoi An, My Son, Hue (wanted to go to Bach Ma and Phong Nha cave but it was flooded), Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay. Took the bus, train and plane. I would say that Saigon still isn't that tourist friendly. I was actually there 4 days and I felt the inner city a bit sterile and boring compared to the other great Asian metropolises. The food was good and cheap though.
 
Old 10-09-2012, 12:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I spend 3 weeks going south to north, beginning in HCMC and ending up in Hanoi. I did Saigon, Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels, Nha Trang (the islands/beaches, Po Nagar), Hoi An, My Son, Hue (wanted to go to Bach Ma and Phong Nha cave but it was flooded), Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay. Took the bus, train and plane. I would say that Saigon still isn't that tourist friendly. I was actually there 4 days and I felt the inner city a bit sterile and boring compared to the other great Asian metropolises. The food was good and cheap though.
So did you enjoy Vietnam for the most part? I've been looking at a Southeast Asia trip for some time and Vietnam is at the top of the list. A few years ago I almost did a trip to just the northern part of Vietnam--Hanoi, Sapa, and Ha Long---when I was in Korea. I actually ended up just going to Japan instead.

I've heard good things about Hanoi, but it sounds like others are giving mixed reviews of the city. My concern is that the best time for me to take a vacation is in the winter(Dec-Feb), yet I've heard that northern Vietnam can be slightly cool and even foggy in the winter months. I'm starting to look at the possibility of a longer trip, maybe starting in Hanoi and leaving from Ho Chi Minh City--but perhaps spending more time in the central region.

But previously, I had thought about spending more time in Hanoi--but maybe we'd only need a couple days for that stop.
 
Old 10-09-2012, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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We spent 2 weeks going south to north. In from Cambodia, out by way of China. HCMC, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hanoi, and Halong Bay. We liked Nha Trang (because we got to SCUBA for cheap), Hoi An, and Halong Bay the best.

We only rode overnight busses. Unless you count some boats, jeeps, and bicycles around the towns we stopped in.
 
Old 10-09-2012, 10:35 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,377,277 times
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Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
So did you enjoy Vietnam for the most part? I've been looking at a Southeast Asia trip for some time and Vietnam is at the top of the list. A few years ago I almost did a trip to just the northern part of Vietnam--Hanoi, Sapa, and Ha Long---when I was in Korea. I actually ended up just going to Japan instead.

I've heard good things about Hanoi, but it sounds like others are giving mixed reviews of the city. My concern is that the best time for me to take a vacation is in the winter(Dec-Feb), yet I've heard that northern Vietnam can be slightly cool and even foggy in the winter months. I'm starting to look at the possibility of a longer trip, maybe starting in Hanoi and leaving from Ho Chi Minh City--but perhaps spending more time in the central region.

But previously, I had thought about spending more time in Hanoi--but maybe we'd only need a couple days for that stop.
Very much. I think going alone was good, Vietnam is a place where you really get involved in the place, unlike say the US where you may not interract much with the locals, you'll be interacting with the locals a lot whether you like it or not.

I went to Hanoi in December and it was a bit cool and gloomy. Similar to Perth in winter, but nothing compared to Korean winter of course. Yet everyone was wearing thick jackets: in fact even in Hoi An when it was mid-20s people were in jackets. Sapa was very foggy, but I think it added to the mystical atmosphere.

Central VN has tons to see. Aside from Hoi An, Hue, there's Bach Ma, and Yok Don, and the Central Highland villages of Kontum and Pleiku. Less touristy but fascinating. As always in SE but particularly in VN watch out for scammers, especially cyclos/motorbike taxi drivers. Make sure they don't rip you off mate!
 
Old 10-15-2012, 03:56 PM
 
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Vietnam is one of the countries I had the most dramatic change of opinions for.

I used to view Vietnam a lot more negatively as recently as 3 years ago. Since that time, I now view Vietnam in a much more positive/optimistic/respectful way.

Vietnam as a country changed rapidly in the past 10 to 20 years with fast continuing improvements. It has a lot of potential. Vietnam now became more of an inviting option for tourism, and is establishing more of a base for tourism.

That is especially true for Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and some other tropical beaches, Sapa, Hoi An, Hue, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh.
 
Old 10-25-2012, 03:16 AM
 
1 posts, read 3,175 times
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I am from Ha Noi. And I love Ha Noi
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