Hanoi is a very dividing place. Either you love it or you hate it. Sadly, I haven’t experienced much of the positive aspects of the Vietnamese lifestyle. Even if I really enjoyed getting lost in the charming old city with its French colonial architecture, I was a bit overwhelmed by the chaotic atmosphere.
Having lived few years in South-East Asia, I am used to crowded streets and noisy urban background, but I wasn’t prepared to that level of “social harassment”. Most of my encounters with locals were very disappointing. From the moment I stepped in the city, the only thing that seemed to matter was to sell me whatever possible and very aggressively. First at my hotel (which usually double as travel agencies): excursions to the surrounding attractions (including the famous Halong Bay); then on streets (“moto sir”, “moto sir” … “moto sir” !) and especially while trying to relax gazing at the Hoan Kiem Lake (books, drinks, food, souvenirs …).
If you add to that a life-threatening traffic, even the really nice puppet show didn’t save my trip. But I won’t give up on Vietnam and I hope to have the chance to head back there and be able to get out of the city, further away from the touristic sirens.
- Vive La Hanoi – French architecture in the heart of Hanoi (travelblog.buffalotours.com)
- You definitely should come to Hanoi in autumn (lethidanhphuong.wordpress.com)