2. Get the best of both worlds,Vietnam’s French colonial past has influenced their cuisine and architecture particularly in Hanoi. Have lunch at La Terrasse (Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi) or dinner in charming restaurant The Green Tangerine (www.thegreentangerine.com), a whiff of France with an Asian touch and exquisite food.
3. Delicious cuisine you should of course try pho, beef-rolls and white rose. The food is also very healthy and fresh. They have all sorts of exotic fruit so smoothies and juice mixes can be found everywhere. If you don’t like Asian food you’ll still manage, they adore pizza, you can find a pizzeria in every mall.
4. Quick service when it comes to food, the food will be served quicker on your table than the time you spent placing your order (all three courses I might say) so you better eat fast.
5. Learn a new language, hardly anyone speaks English so you will be motivated to speak Vietnamese pretty fast: Dha kong Cam on ( no thank you) was the sentence I used a lot and was most helpful. Say it nice but firm and street vendors will leave you alone immediately. Or try French with the elderly .
6. Improving your driving skills,do sit next to your bus driver or taxi driver and you will learn how to take over on the right, left using the opposite road avoiding big holes in the streets, it’s a thrill ride.
7. Crossing the streets skills, also these will improve quickly people run the light, sometimes there are no lights and police doesn’t seem to really care because all the profits off the fine go to the government anyway.
8. See colourful houses, Most houses are painted in bright colours and are excessively decorated with what resembles a mixture of European architecture ranging from ancient Rome to 19th century French Haussmannien style. Houses are narrow and built upwards because of expensive land prices, similar to the houses of Amsterdam but more colourful.
9. Get a motorcycle, out of the 7 million people who live in Hanoi, 5 million own a motorcycle so you will fit in perfectly.
10.They have it all, they have the largest street markets I have ever seen, the big cities never sleep so it is nice to have a stroll at night. The Ancient City Hoi An is beautiful and brings you back in time.
They have a giant mall in Hanoi, the biggest in Asia so far, it even has an indoor ice skating rink, big movie theatre and a children’s waterworld. If you don’t feel like shopping go to one of their beautiful beachside resorts such as the Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa with it’s beautiful deserted beaches or take a boat ride through the rice fields of Tam Coc, and last but not least visit Halong Bay by overnight cruise and experience sailing through the mystical limestone islets and wave eroded caves.
With it’s war torn past that ended just 40 years ago, Vietnam is still in it’s early development stage and is still light years away from tourist destination favorite Thailand. You should visit it now if you seek an authentic vacation and experience the development and see the city grow.