Hanoi and her sense of community

I love Hanoi. The place is bursting with crazy energy-- the motorcycles whizzing by from all directions and made-up locals with somewhere to go.


Home of the pho and vermicelli, the restaurants are usually full and busy. Locals loving their own food. A Vietnamese friend from Hanoi, Zi, proudly says that their cuisine is rarely oily (lucky girl!). 

Get into those hole-in-the-wall restos, but also try out food from the vendors plying the streets. (For what you can eat around Hanoi, check out this previous post.)

In the old quarters, you'll see many examples of French architecture that's able to maintain their charm even in their less-than-ideal state (check out the details: the iron grills, the art nouveau windows, the bold and pretty colors). Also, the place is teeming with cute boutiques that pop out of the most unassuming side streets...

Lira, who's responsible for half the photos in this page
But the thing that I loved most about Hanoi is her sense of community (yes, she's female!). Say what you may about its craziness (disclaimer: I find crazy streets exciting, but I know it's not for everyone) and rude drivers, but Hanoi's got that "buzz" -- of family, kinship, familiarity. We walked around the Lenin Park - Literature Temple area and found these: parks full of families and neighbors playing sports together, old uncles and granddads hanging out playing cards, and an old married couple walking hand in hand (cue in "awww").

I love places that are abuzz with that homey feeling.  


  1. tara, balik tayo. Halong Bay and Sapa naman

  2. Halong? Let's just do El Nido. Haha. But yes, I'd like to hike Sapa.

  3. Hi Nyel, I always wanted to visit Hanoi. Thank you so much for this blog post. Nainspire ako. Baka later this year, punta ako sa Hanoi sa wakas.

    1. Hi Prime! You should definitely go. Hanoi is just lovely. Aside from HaLong and Sapa, the town itself is such a visual and gustatory treat. :)