This was our first trip to Vietnam and I was very positively impressed. The more I travel around South East Asia, the more I love this part of the world. It's full of rich history and traditions which are so different from ours. It's very humbling to realise how little we know about the history of these countries.
So here are some pictures and highlights of our brief stay in Hanoi.
Water Puppet show - more information here - these shows originated in the countryside as a way of entertaining people when there was no electricity. They are based on local legends and so beautiful to watch, even if you don't understand the whole story.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology - if you like crafts, like I do, this is a must see. The variety of handicrafts is very impressive and you do get a feeling for the number of ethnicities, languages and traditions. More information here.
Body and Soul Spa - Tra and her sister run a small spa in a very nice setting, it's not in the centre of Hanoi, but definitely worth the detour. Both my husband and I were very pleased with our massages. Not to miss if we ever go back to Hanoi! More information here.
Restaurant La Badiane - Fusion food at its best. The restaurant is lovely, the staff is attentive and the food is delicious. A bit on the pricier side, but well worth a visit. More information here.
Hotel Meracus 2 - The rooms were small, but very clean and comfortable. The location in the Old Quarter could not be any more convenient. More Information here
In general, the freshness of the food is outstanding. When you live in Singapore long enough, you really start appreciating these little things. It felt so good to see all the vibrant colours of the vegetables and fruits being sold on the streets and experiencing their flavour in the awesome local food.
What did I not like so much?
Clearly the fact that there is so much "rubbish" being sold on the streets. Flipflops, sneakers, synthetic clothes, etc. Contrarily to what I had read, not all is handicrafts and tailors. Actually on the contrary. That was disappointing, but maybe it's just a matter of having very high expectations.
The serious need for improvement in terms of power supply and sanitation. This seems to be a reflection of a country which still has a very long way to go in terms of welfare and development. I really hope that there is something being done in these areas, because 3G/wifi (which are everywhere) are not basic needs compared to that.