My flight arrived in Hanoi at exactly 6:30am in the morning local time. Admittedly, I was groggy from having to wake up at three in the morning to get dressed, travel an hour to get to the airport, wait another hour in line just to get past security checks and forced myself to down a sandwich so I wouldn’t puke on the plane due to motion sickness.
Despite everything, out first destination was to a tiny shop that sold one of Hanoi’s specialty. Pho ga, also known as chicken noodle soup was exactly what I had expected from Vietnamese food but I did not expect myself to enjoy it as much I had.
For lunch later that day, we indulged in more Vietnamese food but this time I’m not entirely sure of what to call it. Each of us received a plate of pork and vegetables and in the middle of the table there was a bunch of food we could have taken and added to our plate should we please.
One of the highlights of the Hanoi trip was a visit to the Thang Long Citadel, a large light yellow and brown building recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We managed to see the South Gate, Ladies’ Pavilion and the North Gate. Right opposite the building is an archaeological site we toured despite not being fully aware of the history.
My second day in Hanoi, in my opinion was a lot more productive than the first. Breakfast was bought from one of the most amazing bakeries I’ve ever been to called Paris Baguette. Undoubtedly we feasted buying lots of food to try and then later on headed out.
Our first stop for the day was the Temple of Literature which used to be a university. It was one of my favorite parts of Hanoi. We walked past a grey archway and into a garden where the students used to study. Deeper into the area was a pond on the left with lotus flowers floating on the water.
After our hotpot lunch, we headed to the Old Quarter. It was by the lake and would have been an ideal relaxing spot had there not been hundreds of tourists all around. We got an electric car which took us around the place which ended up being another world by itself.
Each street specialized in a specific thing such as clothes, food, decorations, etc. We took a picture in front of a market which was said to apparently signify that you have checked in at Hanoi. I would definitely recommend the experience as it was something completely out of the ordinary for me.
Leaving the best for last, Pizza 4P’s is a pizza shop in Hanoi that can also be found in Ho Chi Minh. They have a cheese pizza that is made with four different types of cheese, bread below it and a little bit of honey on top. That is without a doubt the best pizza I have ever had in my life. If there was one thing I would go back to Vietnam for, it would be this pizza, and even Banh Mi.
The weirdest part about Hanoi for me was the fact that they only had one McDonald’s because it wasn’t something most locals were into which is very different from how it is in Malaysia. Overall, as much as I enjoyed Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh has my heart.