What can you say about Hanoi that probably hasn't already been said on a million different travel sites? Probably not a lot, but I can give you our perspective on what it's like to visit. For us, there was only one negative. The constant beeping of horns - both bikes and cars. It did set my teeth on edge a little bit. In that sense, you could really feel the French influence on the city.
Speaking of traffic, they have bike helmets there that either have a section cut out at the back or a hole at the top, so girls can leave their hair up in a ponytail or bun. Knew mine was missing something. I have such thick hair that I have to remove any band or clip so my helmet can fit.
Don't think Hanoi is racy though, during the week a lot of places are closed by 9pm especially the "cheap eats" spots.
There's so much to see in the city and we were lucky enough to be able to walk pretty much everywhere we wanted to go. Around the French quarter, the streets are really wide and can really only be described as boulevards. The only thing I felt I missed out on was seeing an actual train come down "train street". We waited for ages but had to give up in the end. Maybe next time.
We loved the Hanoi Social Club, its a lovely little spot of tranquillity in an otherwise bustling city. The food and drink is reasonably priced and the food portion sizes won't see you go hungry. I tried the egg coffee here and I've got to say, I loved it. If you're trying to imagine it and I know it might sound gross, think of liquid tiramisu. It's the best way to describe it and don't leave Hanoi without trying one. The staff here were awesome and are part of the disadvantaged youth programme that's championed here. So you see, you're doing something to add to society as well.
Banh Mi is just about the best thing ever invented. You can buy a baguette and have it filled with meat and salad for only 32,000 Dong (roughly £1 / AUD$2 / USD$1.43 / Euro 1.33 / 51 baht).
We also got to meet up with Emma and Orla from Chanthaburi see it really is a small world at Mojito Bar & Lounge. If you enjoy a cocktail as we do, you should enjoy this place. A good place to hang out with friends but watch your step if you head to the toilet later in the evening.
We totally spoilt ourselves with a little help from Hannah on our last day and headed to The Metropole Hotel for afternoon tea. We even took a cyclo there which was quite a hoot. Half the time it felt like we were about to head the wrong way down a road and I felt quite sorry for the lovely little man who got stuck pedalling both of us don't worry, we gave him a good tip.
In fact, not only did we have afternoon tea followed by a glass of champagne well, we were celebrating my birthday but we also had a cocktail sat by the hotel pool. It's a lovely hotel and very quiet so if you can stay there, we think it would probably be a good option.
We really loved our break here and would definitely go back again. I'd also like to head a bit further afield and maybe see some of the coast. As we had limited days, we decided to focus on the city only and I think that was the right decision. So, if you get a chance, check out Hanoi.