Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Hanoi

Following on from our short but incredible stay in Siem Reap we flew with Vietnam Airlines direct to Hanoi for £128. The flight was a total of 1 hr and 40 mins. We were collected by our hotel of choice The InterContinental Hanoi Westlake for 40 USD for the 35-40 mins trip.

We used Vietnam Visa Corp to arrange a visa on arrival for us, which cost 19 USD per person. They also gave us the forms to fill in so once we got to the airport we handed over our visa on arrival letter, the forms, our passports and 45 USD each. Within around ten minutes we had our visas and were on our way!

Our hotel was stunning. It's set around the lake and has gorgeous views over the city of Hanoi. OK it's a little taxi ride into town but the journey was never more than 100,000 VND, which is around £3. The rooms were huge with massive king size beds and some English movie channels. The bathrooms were equally large with a rain forest shower and separate soaking tub complete with robes, slippers and double sinks. Each room has a little balcony with fantastic views. The room service menu had all of the classics you would expect.

The pool area here is delightful. There aren't many beds so be warned for busy season. The water is warm, the area is clean and there is a full pool side service of food and drinks. The staff here are amazing and helped us change travel plans as well as give amazing restaurant recommendations. The only restaurant we used was the hotels sunset bar, which had lovely comfy lounging chairs overlooking the lake and onto the bright lights of the city. We had a couple of signature cocktails each and some tasty treats of mini wagyu beef burgers, fish cakes, fries and lamb kofta's for a total of £40. All the food and drinks were delicious and this is a great price compared with the UK.

Whilst in Hanoi we ate lunch at Madame Hien. They had incredible BBQ pork Bun Cha and also Cha Ca Thang Long (catfish in turmeric). They have an inside air conditioned area or a lovely outside garden to choose from. For dinner we tried Cau Go. Ask for an outside table and you will be blown away by the gorgeous lake views. The restaurant is so reasonably priced for what you get! The Vietnamese spring rolls are amazing, also try the beef shank, the caramelized pork spare rib, the chicken with lemon grass and the sea bass with green mango salsa. Mix this with some seasonal stir fried vegetables and your tummy will be in for a treat!

Cha Ca Thang Long @ Madame Hien

View from Cau Go

During your time in Hanoi there are plenty of tourist activities, however, we chose to spend our two days simply wandering the old quarter and getting a feel for the city. We absolutely loved our time here and would definitely recommend a visit.