Hanoi and Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

Some obversions on Hanoi:

  • There are almost no pedestrians or bicycles (and no subway). Everyone gets around by scooter.
  • Restaurants in the old town mostly serve just 1 dish, and often do not have tables, just stools (1 stool to sit on, and 1 to put your food on, or just hold the food in your lap). Most meals are $1 to $1.25. But places with tables and bigger menus for tourists exist too.
  • If you go to a movie, the time printed on the ticket is the time they let you into the theater. The movie starts 15-20 minutes later. Seats are reserved. (This is based on seeing 1 movie, so this might not be true everywhere…)
  • We have not seen a single beggar, nor a single homeless person.
  • Most women on scooters wear pollution masks, but almost no men do. I’m told its also to keep the sun off.
  • Everyone in the tourist industry has been extremely helpful and friendly, and not out to rip you off (mostly).
  • My $5 haircut came with a 30 minute head/face/neck massage and wash that was amazing. Highly recommended. They even clean your ears!
  • Beer often comes warm, but with a glass of ice.
  • A scooter can carry an insane amount of stuff if you know how to load it. Here is a great collection of photos.
  • Sidewalks are for parking scooters, not for walking. You must walk on the edge of the street.

Hanoi photos can be found here.

After Hanoi we went to Cat Ba Island to see Halong Bay. We heard that Cat Ba is way less touristy than other parts of Halong Bay, and that was true. We stayed in a fantastic hostel with a pool and amazing views from the room for only $25/night. We also got to try dog meat in Cat Ba.

Photos are here.

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