[Hanoi, Vietnam] Day 1: Top Things You’d Do in Another City But Not in Your Own City

You know you landed in Vietnam when the airport smells like coriander — all the pho I could think of! Kidding, that was an exaggeration. We landed around 1am, which I think is 12am here (PH is advanced 1hour.) so we basically started here as the new day started. 🙂

First impression was that Hanoi is definitely I, and it’s NOT for Mark. Being in Hanoi makes me think that this is how probably a 1st-world foreigner feels like when he landed in a 3rd world country, like Philippines. There are locals peddling rides when you arrived in the airport. Though, you can read Vietnamese words but majority has no “subtitles.” I become this foreigner whose English sounds “superior” but may still be useless. And, it’s my first time that our Philippines money has bigger value so it’s like you feel “rich.”

We’re getting “gors” / old for this #travelblogger thingy that we get too lazy about creating itinerary. So we just kind of wing it on our first day, and probably for the rest of our stay.

So things we do in Hanoi which we or more Mark will NOT DO back in Cebu, Philippines.

1. Ho Hoan Kiem Lake aka Plaza Independencia or malls or Philippines.

It’s in every top things to do blogpost about Vietnam. And, Hanoi has no big malls so it seems like locals go to their parks to chill so the place was jampacked. I tried asking a Vietnamese (but not Hanoi-an) what’s the event but he cannot give an answer so it’s probably just a Hanoi thing like Filipinos cannot explain why malls are packed.

But definitely, it was fun to people-watch. Hanoi People love to just lounge on the streetsides.

Outdoor boardgames, anyone?!?
2. Cafe Dinh or line for the most popular lechon / BBQ spot

Of course, we still do but probably when we only have guests from other cities or on rare special occassions. 

Coffee or more of coffee concoction is quite popular in Hanoi. I picked the top most rated in the Ho Hoan Kiem Lake area according to foursquare (my lazy secret to itinerary making 😂), Cafe Dinh. 

It was up in a “ghettoish” building (sorry for the description but I can’t find a better term, and just so you would know it’s very legit local place), it was small, and filled with people that I felt like backing out at first.

But totally no regrets. Definitely the epitome definition of “hole-in-the-wall.”

One striking thing we noticed in Hanoi is that majority of locals are iPhone users. Mark felt out-of-place with his selfie expert phone, Oppo.

But I definitely do this in Cebu… I’d like to think though.

3. Carnival aka Sinulog

There was a carnival show in the lake area, which probably attracted more people to the area. It was like we were in Sinulog. Definitely, I’m not doing this in Cebu. The last time I remember I took part in Sinulog was like 4th year high school, 1998?!? 

The weird thing about their carnival show is that the performers are Caucasian, probably Russians (it’s the closest to the Vietnam.)?!? 

4. Roaming the Old Quarter area of Hanoi aka Colon Street

Though, I love just aimlessly walking around Colon Street but definitely not Mark. After the lake area, we just went around, and I think we were going around what they call the “Old Quarter” area. You’ll pass by hardware stores, clothing stores, souvenir shops, restaurants, street food, and etc. In between, you’ll find many backpacker’s alley where “affordable” hostels are lining. 

And I felt like 70% of the people walking around were foreigners. It’s like walking along the Boracay beach from Station 1 to 3.  I honestly want to get far away from it. @.@ chos!


The best part though was I found a yarn shop!

5. Cathedral aka Cathedral

Our feet brought us to a famous tourist spot, St. Joseph Cathedral. I’m not sure if it was being used because it was close and it was Sunday.

I’m sorry but we have too many Cathedrals back in Cebu. Seriously, what we’re doing there?!? Well, we’re tourist. 🙂


6. Posing with a street lamp / sign.

As much as I love #bloggerpose but definitely not with a street sign, right?


There goes my list of things we will not do back in Cebu, Philippines. 😂

More Day 1 ramblings:

They say that motorists here are notorious. Yes, if you’re from an orderly first world country. But if you’re from Consolacion, Cebu where habal-habal is the king, what notorious motorists?!?

This auntie though… Other motorists shouted at her, and they had a mini catfight! 😂

Wedding them Photo shoots. At first I thought someone had a pre-nuptial photo shoot but then I saw more of them in different corner. So it’s wedding cosplay photo shoot is a thing here.


Mark’s so “picky” with food so the most “streetfood” eating we had done was at the back of the place we stayed.

This was somewhere near our place we’re staying. Finding for the best pho, etc food is too tiring especially with too many people crowding a popular place and the no subtitles menu so we just drag ourselves to a place with no people. 😂

So there…