In the recent years, many tourists decide to choose Hanoi for their Vietnam tour packages to experience a rich 1000-year-traditioned culture along with a wide range of charming attractions and historical sites. Are you thinking about a similar trip? If you are, be sure to read my post to know 5 among many crazy things you will experience in Hanoi, nothing seriously crazy but surely fasfinating, which creates some unique flavours for this beautiful city.
Crossing the Streets
If a foreign traveler has to make a list of unforgettable things in Vietnam, the top-ranking one must be its crazy traffic, especially in 2 biggest cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Once you first set foot in Hanoi, you will possibly be shocked when witnessing an extremely large number of motorcycles and scooters, probably 50 times larger than the number of cars and buses, creating a maze of traffic around you. As the result, one of the craziest experiences is to cross the streets where zebra crossing is rarely useful in these cities. You will have to find your own paths while hundreds of vehicle running towards you. If you don’t have strategies, you might easily cause some troubles. The Rules is to merge into groups of local people, walk slowly and steadily, show some visible sights so the riders can see you and let them move around you.
Haggling as always
You would think that buying local stuffs in local markets in Hanoi is much cheaper and easier than in supermarkets and shopping centers. Well, it really depends on your haggling abilities. Indeed, the goods in supermarkets might have their certain price tags but quite expensive because of additional taxes, while joining a shopping trip in local markets offers you various choices but with ‘random’ range of price. Thus, every time you – the foreigners - go shopping in local market or purchase souvenirs, foods and personal stuffs like lighters, glasses, street tropical fruits, cakes, etc, do not totally trust the sellers because they will ask for a different price (normally double or triple priced to the real quality of the one you’re purchasing). You don’t want to pay $15 for a fake leather wallet, do you?
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Drinking 50-cent Beer in Hanoi Old Quarter
If you’re walking around Hanoi Old Quarter, you shouldn’t leave without having a look at Ta Hien, a narrow little street where one of the craziest things happens: the 50-cent Beer. Ta Hien’s appearance is not much different from other streets in Old Quarter’s area during day time with hundred-year-old structures, fascinating designs. However, when the night falls, it turns into a bustling tourist’s heaven, where a lot of Biahoi shops open on the sidewalk and every corners. All you have to do is to grab a plastic stool, sit down, order a cup of 25-cent beer (10,000VND), taste it with a dish of boiled peanuts and other local specialties chilling out with your friends – You can thank me later.
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Witnessing Russian and American Military Vehicles in Hanoi
See Old Russian and American military vehicles in Hanoi? Sounds insane but you can possibly have that chance by taking a short trip to Vietnam Military History Museum. The Museum is located at the heart of Hanoi, close to Ho Chi Minh complex and temple of literature, which owns a wide range of military exhibits, objects and evidences relating to the intense Vietnam War in the last century.
Once visiting, you will have an opportunity to not only admire foreign military means used in Vietnam War including tanks, aircrafts, cannons, tambourine, guns of all types etc, but also have the access to learn more about long-term battling traditions of Vietnamese people to protect their countries from aggression. If your kids go with you, then this is a good chance for them to learn more about history and culture of Vietnam – A great spot for your Vietnam family holidays.
Sampling Snake Wine
Thanks to a giant area of rice growing and long-term traditional agriculture, Vietnam is known for a wide range of products from rice, the most unique of its kind must be the rice wine. Its color is similar to Vodka but its taste is much stronger. However, wait till you taste Vietnamese Snake rice wine, which is cooked and processed in several years with the whole body of snakes (mostly venomous species). Many foreigners cannot overcome their fears to give it a try, but once tasting it, it might be the most unique and flavoursome drink that you’ve ever had. More importantly, snake wine is really good for your health and able to cure a lot of diseases. Snake wine can be found at your Vietnamese friend’s houses and many local restaurant and Beer shop in Hanoi – Noted that you should ask for the price before purchasing or just let your Vietnamese friends or tour guides do it to get the best local prices.