Above is a residential street in Hanoi, Train Street, that a speeding train passes straight through twice a day. The street is so narrow that all residents must ensure their bikes and precious personal belongings, as well as their roaming children, are all safely inside the house before the train passes.
Thinking about bargaining more of the local shops or food vendors? Not tipping because it isn't customary? Trust me, we like to save money ESPECIALLY when traveling long term. But we didn't there not in Cambodia. Why you ask...? Did you know according to the Japan External Trade Organization, the average monthly salary of a Vietnamese worker last year was $145 in Hanoi and $148 in Ho Chi Minh City, much lower than those in Jakarta, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore . If given decent service, consider giving a little more. It goes a long way. Ask the price of whatever you are wanting, you typically will know when you are being ripped off. Like the time a lady quoted me $7 for a few oranges. Girl I don't even pay that at home! I don't know if they were out of season or if she saw me as someone who looked like I needed some serious Vitamin C. I just walked away and said No Thank You. - Kindness always. It will make your trip more enjoyable I promise.
How affordable really IS Vietnam?
Teaser : the below activity cost us a whole $2 for the two kids combined. Yep, $1 a kid and we didn't even haggle. Within future blog posts we will break down grocery store items and much more!
There is always something going on at night in Old Quarters no matter what day, times of year, or even time of night. Bars stay open until almost dawn. You will see odd things each day that always seem to surprise you. Scooter transporting large 5x8 bathroom MIRROR, saw it with my own eyes, from woman vendors putting their fruit on your shoulder (see pic) , to a 90 pound large dog riding on moped scooter. (see pic). There are no rules it seems, but it works. Old Quarters is a tourist hub but with enough culture around you to justify staying in the center of it all.
We choose to be on a more local side of the Red River which was a short $3 Uber over. and took 10 minutes due to traffic. We didn't realize just how local it was but got to see the real life of the Vietnamese each day walking around the area. So many nooks and crannies in neighborhoods. Just like France with a Asian flare. Beautiful in its own respect.
If we ever return I would like to be more accessible to the area we traveled to to be in the middle of it. I love being with locals but there was not any food that was digestible for us to eat and it seemed lacking in options for any restaurants all together. There were all the options you can imagine in Old Quarters. You can not go wrong staying in the heart of it in this city. Hanoi is the exception in this hands down. Most places we suggest staying local side only.
Me in a conical hat carrying shoulder pannier basket a worker placed on me randomly. It was so funny I couldn't help but give her a little money for the experience. #trickyworker She was so cute, total language barrier but laughing needs no translation. These are the things you may encounter in Old Quarters if you are fortunate. The more local side in Hanoi seemed a bit more solemn in my opinion.
Local Side Over the Bridge
HOT. HUNGRY. AND TIRED OF LOCAL FOOD-
TRAVEL FORCES RESILIENCE IN KIDS
Here is the "other side of the red river" - local side where we stayed. They even have fresh food, caged outside of the establishment. Yep.
Upside to staying over the bridge was a $60 a night- modern 3 bedroom apartment with a penthouse type feel to it over the water.
More on this later, follow our blog for links and details about our month stay in Hanoi.
Sign up for our newsletter below to receive recent updated info
as we play catch up and review each location!
Or better reach out what location you want to hear about first.