My hometown is Halong city, a very beautiful coastal city with modern facilities.
The first time I went to Hanoi, I wanted to escape immediately from a cramped dirty old city
When I was a tour guide, I led some tours included many foreigners who came to Hanoi the first time. I couldn’t forget their first reaction when they arrived Hanoi. 8 per 10 tourists said: I want refund and go another place immediately.
You can’t deny the fact that Besides tourist area (Hoan Kiem Lake, West lake), Hanoi is still a developing city with serious land/air pollution
So, Is Hanoi jut a cramped dirty old city?
After 8 years living in Hanoi, I can say with you that Hanoi with a civilization of thousand years has much more to offer tourist.
1. Diverse Cuisine
Unlike other cities in Vietnam, Hanoi cuisine is much more sophisticated with colors and tastes. The nice places in Hanoi for tourists to explore unique cuisine can be divided into 3 groups: pure traditional Vietnamese cuisine, new style traditional Vietnamese cuisine and Vietnamese-Exotic Cuisine.
Pic 1: Special colorful spring roll
Pic 2: A unique way to eat bread with beef sauce
2. Full of surprised places
In Hanoi, you can suddenly catch a cosy cafe or stunning view bar in the road that you might not notice before
There are thousand of nice places in Hanoi (from traditional styles to a mixed French architecture)
That’s why some wise tourist came back every year to explore new nice places in Hanoi
Pic 3: A cosy coffee in the heart of Hanoi
Pic 4: A rooftop cafe with stunning view in West lake
In short, if you want to know the real Hanoi (will all goods and bads) in a short visit time, you should dig in local blogs or local forum to some recommended places that worth your go.