I’ve been in the Old Quarters of Hanoi last 2009 and if I could remember it right, I only spent around three days in this charming yet chaotic capital of Vietnam.
This time around I intended to spend around eleven days before I go to Sapa.
Most travellers that I met in my hostel where shock on the length of time that I stayed here. Most of them were puzzled on what the f*ck would I do here in almost two weeks.
Well, I don’t know either. First week was intended to be spent catching up with blogging about my trip to Beijing while eating tons of noodles and Vietnamese baguette sandwiches.
And second week will be spent well, walking around and getting to know Hanoi more while eating more noodles and baguettes.
Spending almost two weeks here made a lot of difference compare to when I was here for three days. There’s a lot of things that I’ve observed concerning local living.
Here are three things that I’ve observed in my stay here.
1. Some vendors don’t just scam foreign tourists: They also scam local tourists and they’re very pushy in selling to locals as well. I came into this conclusion after talking to some locals around here and after spending too much time in the market area.
2. If you stay longer you’ll definitely be ripped off: I stayed in Vietnam for three weeks (Hanoi to HCM last 2009) and I proudly felt that I left the country unscathed from touts that love ripping off tourists. It’s my seventh day here now (as of the time of writing) and I just got ripped off by a travel agency that has a laundry shop in Luong Van Can. I took my laundry there and it weighed 7 kilos on their scale. My gut feel already told me it’s less than that but I ignored it since this shop charges 10,000 dong less than my hostel. I just got the clothes and used the hostel’s weighing scale to check the actual weight… and guest what… it’s just 3.5kg.
3. Hanoi is a City of Culture and Arts: There’re so many art galleries surrounding the Old Quarter and there’s a Vietnamese Cultural show on weekends at Dong Xuan. There’s a number of theatre too that showcases Vietnamese traditional arts such as water puppetry.
My eleven day stay in Hanoi opened me up to a lot of opportunities to observe and learn the Vietnamese culture. This is also my first attempt to travel slower outside my country and I’m excited to spend more time in my upcoming destinations.