Finally, after waiting for it seemed like an eternity, I’m in Vietnam. Hanoi, to be exact. This trip would be a gift to myself for surviving a semester that felt like war in hell (not that I ever go to war in hell). Even though I’ve been Pinterest-ing on Vietnam and there are many gorgeous places to gape at, I will be spending a week in Hanoi. The reason of staying only in Hanoi is because a dear friend of mine is from Hanoi. Being an Indonesian, I just realised that I never go to other Southeast Asia countries except Singapore, which is quite stupid and embarrassing. I’m glad I decided to go to Hanoi and here I am.
I arrived in Noi Bai International Airport feeling exhausted, yet thrilled at the same time. I flew from Geneva to Paris (transit) then to Hanoi. This is also my first time flying with my friend to my friend’s country. Talking about the perks of having a friend as your food expert and tour guide. As soon as we arrived in Hanoi, we drop our luggages and ride vespa to eat Pho, that would be my first breakfast in Hanoi.
My friend said it is the original Pho, because the broth, they use beef bones and follows their family recipe. I’m so happy that my first meal is Pho. The beef, the noodle, the soup are flawless together. I noticed that the Pho is very humble(?), and what I mean by humble is that it has this taste of ordinary yet it is not! I observed that other people are seasoning their own Pho. Probably that’s why it taste ordinary at first. What surprised me is the perfect poached egg (it’s more like poached yolk). When you bite that poached egg, it just disperse in your mouth and I feel heaven in my mouth for a second. I’d say I had a wonderful breakfast.
Still feeling worn out, I decided to take a shower and sleep until the evening. Then my friend take me around the Old Quarter, the iconic lake, and the night market. I actually like the ambience of the streets in Hanoi. It’s not as busy as Jakarta (where I’m from) and it’s all right to walk anywhere in Hanoi (walkable?). The streets might seems intimidating at first, especially when you want to cross the street, but just walk straight and the vehicles will be the ones that avoid you. I saw a lot of foreigners in the Old Quarter streets and my friend said it is where most of the foreigners hangouts.
My friend and I bought the roast pork skewer for 15’000₫. It was damn good! One stick is definitely not enough. After that greasy roast pork skewer, my friend took me to Cha Go, where they sell bubble tea. I let my friend chose for me and I don’t know what’s the name of the drink but it was damn good too! I love the pearl and pudding inside the bubble tea. I think along this trip, I cannot tell the price or the location of it because I will be too busy eating and taking pictures.
Strolling around the bank of the lake is unexpectedly pleasant. You will see the red bridge and the turtle house (like a temple) while you’re stroll alongside the lake. While in the night market, it looks like they sell everything in there. You literally can find anything that related to basic necessity, food, fashion, souvenirs, etc. I bought this cool 3D cards of ferris wheel, the turtle house and Vietnamese with flowers. Since I was with my friend, she did all the talking and bargaining. Bargain is really important, because once they know you are a foreigner, they will increase the price. Make sure that at least you try bargain with the vendor. Night market in Hanoi near the Old Quarter is also always a pleasant to visit.
To sum up my first day, my impression towards Hanoi on my first day is more than great. I like the atmosphere, the food (obviously), the streets (there’s a lot of trees!), and how everything is inexpensive (this might be subjective). Let’s see if one week is enough to explore Hanoi.
P.s.: I went to Hanoi on December 2015. I supposed to publish this post ages ago, but I’m also a great procrastinator.