Vietnam, Hanoi – The True Concrete Jungle

27 Jul

Okay, so there is no smooth transition from Israel to Vietnam – just a sad little apology from me for not blogging for an entire month between trips.  So yes, I came back from Israel, soaked up a little Seoul, started my life as a Samsung employee, and headed straight back out into this big ol’ world.

And this is how we find ourselves in Hanoi…

Our trip to Vietnam started as a pretty typical question between friends – where should we meet?  So, when our chingoos (= amigos, in Korean) suggested Hanoi instead of coffee, we immediately signed up for the adventure.

The four of us landed in Hanoi not knowing what to expect, but we all instantly fell in love with the chaotic, humid mix of city, jungle, East & West.

Most of Hanoi’s central streets are lined with lush trees…

overflowing with noisy motorbikes…

and crowded with food vendors and hungry customers.

The old, dilapidated (yet rich) French colonial villas bring a surprising pop of color to the bustling avenues, which we explored sweat-ily for hours, finding artistic shops and delicious restaurants along the way.

One of my favorite discoveries was Madame Hien (15 Chan Cam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi), an exquisite restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese food in a luxurious colonial estate.

We spent a full day in Hanoi, filling our tummies with good Vietnamese food and enjoying the unique energy of the city, but this was only the first leg of our journey.  Our next stop?



85 Responses to “Vietnam, Hanoi – The True Concrete Jungle”

  1. Haimee July 27, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    You have inspired me to put Hanoi on my list of must sees! xx

  2. Sosie July 31, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    I loved travelling through Hanoi! If you get the chance please try to get on a trip to the Perfume Pagoda – it takes a whole day but it’s really worth it. I hope you enjoy Sapa and the crazy haggling! Are you heading South too?

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      Hello Sosie, thanks for the great trip about the Perfume Pagoda – I will try to visit during my next trip to Vietnam (I am already planning my return). I absolutely LOVED Sapa, especially the beauty of the endless rice fields.

  3. chithanhlearnstoblog July 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Sapa is an awesome destination. Great choice.

  4. ssrijana July 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    nice pics litch and aru! …i envy you

  5. jhnnbrts July 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Amazing! A completely different, but more colorful world than middle Europe!

  6. Sarah Doyle July 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    What a beautiful, beautiful city! Glad I got a chance to see these — congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

      Thank you Sarah! I’m very excited to be able to share my travel pics with the wordpress community – it feels great!

  7. mindfulacting July 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Oh, this is bringing back so many memories! I was in Hanoi a couple of years ago. The food was amazing! Thank you for sharing your photos with us. They look great!

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Mindfulcating- thanks for the kind words! I only wish I could share the taste of the food as well as the photos.

  8. lifeazicit July 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    You should visit Ho Chi Minh city too. It’s a little more modern looking and faster pace. Even though I’m a Vietnamese, I’ve never visited the capital. But my boyfriend is a “Hanoian” so I’ll visit the city sooner or later 🙂

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Lifeazicit, I am already planning my next trip to the South of Vietnam & Ho Chi Minh is absolutely on my list. Any other recommendations?

      • lifeazicit July 31, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

        Ha Long Bay, Hue, Da Nang are popular places among tourists. And Nha Trang beach is just gorgeous.

  9. APOML July 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Looks like a nice adventure. Cheers.

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      Thanks APOML. I adventure while I can.

  10. Eliza July 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    I got back from Vietnam last week-end. I have to say, Hanoi is one of the busiest places I’ve ever been to! The traffic is just horrible. We were also going to go to Sapa but had to cancel, as I was ill. I hope the rest of your trip will be enjoyable 🙂

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      Eliza you are so right about the traffic – crossing the street as a pedestrian took a whole lot of time and guts. Hope you enjoyed Hanoi, and I’d highly recommend Sapa for future travels (if you like to hike).

  11. fmerza July 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Sounds like an amazing city full of culture! I’m absolutely enamoured with the lush trees. it must bring some serenity despite the noisy motorbikes and the hum-drum of city life. Looks like I’ve found another location to add to my bucket list haha! By the way, the photography is amazing!

    I look forward to more of your posts 🙂

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

      Thanks Fmerza! The city has such a unique energy because of the mix of chaos and serenity – I hope you get to visit one day.

  12. Kathryn McCullough July 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Love your representation of Hanoi. My partner and I lived in Vietnam for a year–half of it in Hanoi. We loved it. Seeing your photos feels like coming home. Thanks for the memories!

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

      Thanks Kathryn. I’m sure living in Hanoi was an incredible experience – the colors, the unexpected finds, the noise, the traffic… I just loved it!

  13. dyefeltsool July 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your trip – lovely pictures. And the food looks incredible. That’s one of my favourite things while travelling, all the amazing, wonderful, delicious new food to try. And the sights of course.

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

      Thanks deyfeltsool- the food really was amazing. I agree with you about travelling and eating, in fact, my family often jokes that my blog should be named, “As Much As I Can Eat.”

  14. Sharine July 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Beautiful streets there so green, you get a feeling like everyone there is very community oriented. Beautiful pictures thanks for sharing.

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      I agree Sharine, the streets were a beautiful mix of wild trees, crazy scooters, and lots of people – the energy was palpable.

  15. Meghan Johnson July 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    This looks like such an amazing trip! Your pictures are so vivid and full of stories themselves. I haven’t been to Vietnam (or Asia for that matter) yet, but this has piqued my appetite (literally). Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, it’s well-deserved!

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      Hello Meghan- thank you for your kind words & I’m so glad my photos are tempting you to visit Asia. A year and a half ago, I had never been to Asia myself, but now I can’t get enough. I hope you enjoy it when you come visit!

  16. bondonner July 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Your photos are very beautiful. Thank you for your sharing and wish you will have wonderful memories of your journey 🙂

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

      Thanks bondonner. I loved the trip to Vietnam, and am already thinking of my next visit…

  17. Anarya Andir July 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Lovely photos. I love Vietnam! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

      Thank you Anarya. I am so thankful for being on Freshly Pressed, I love reading everyone’s comments and discovering new blogs through the posts.

  18. mc534384 July 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Gorgeous photos! You have inspired me to want to travel here! Your photos are great… especially the delicious food photos…

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      Thanks Mc! I’m glad my photos are encouraging, if only I could share the taste of the food online too!

  19. the_lunatic July 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Intriguing pictures! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  20. conniewalden July 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Great photos. Thanks for sharing. Connie

  21. Amrnda July 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    Another place I want to visit in the future! It looks so beautiful ^^

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

      Amrnda, you should definitely try to visit Vietnam one day, and Hanoi is a perfect stop before travelling to Ha Long Bay or Sapa.

  22. Josh - Badge of Awesome July 31, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Beautiful photos! Really captures the life and vibrancy of the city. The photo of those scooters makes me pine for my days as an ESL teacher in Taiwan. Keep up the great work!

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

      Hey Josh, thanks for the kind words. The scooters (especially the astronomical amount of scooters) are really awesome, but also extremely frightening when you are trying to cross the street~

  23. wholesomemidwestern July 31, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    oh wow! my mother is vietnamese and i want to visit so badly but she says its a poor country and she doesn’t want to go back 😦 thanks for giving me the brighter view! the food looks so amazing

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

      Wholesomemidwestern, you should definitely try to visit Vietnam one day. Even though the country is still developing, there is so much beauty and richness in the culture, sights and food.

  24. chitchat140 July 31, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Wandering Dreamer and commented:
    Most interesting person I’ve read all week!

    • akonrad July 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

      Thanks Chitchat140! Appreciate the regblogging, what a compliment.

  25. Cafe August 1, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    Very beautiful! I love some of those buildings there and the food looks wonderful 🙂

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Thanks yourdailydose~

  26. jnuggie August 1, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    Reblogged this on jnuggie and commented:
    I can’t wait to come to Vietnam in 2013!! 🙂

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Thanks jnuggie- what a sweet gesture!

  27. Pham Hoang Mien August 1, 2012 at 2:39 am #

    Thanks for the nice post and photos about my city. Ever consider moving here? 😉

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Hello Mien – it’s funny you should ask because I was constantly imagining myself living in Hanoi during my visit. Life is so unpredictable (Who knew I’d be living in Seoul?!), so maybe one day I’ll find myself back in Vietnam for a longer period of time.

  28. fashionapparel2012 August 1, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    I must say, all the photographs are awesome, presentation is also good. Thanks m8

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Thanks fashionapparel2012… I’m always questioning my photos and presentation so I truly appreciate your kind words.

  29. photographyzeroth August 1, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    Nice photos! The food simply looks great! Thanks for sharing!

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

      Thanks photographzeroth!

  30. roomaomao August 1, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    My friends just got back from Vietnam and have already booked their flight tickets to go back again in October! We live in Shanghai so the flight isn’t bad. I’ve made it all around Vietnam (Yunnan Province in China , Laos , and Cambodia) but never been. Your photos are helping to guide me there!

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

      Roomaomao – if you are already living on “this” side of the world, you must visit Vietnam. I’d highly recommend going to Hanoi for the day and then exploring the north.

      • roomaomao August 2, 2012 at 3:14 am #

        I’ve already got my Chinese national vacation plans for October and February , a trip to Taiwan and Myanmar. I’m thinking April is a possibility for zipping over to Hanoi and the north. Any reason in particular why you favor the north over the south?

      • akonrad August 9, 2012 at 5:32 am #

        Hi roomaomao – I’d love to hear about your trip to Myanmar, it’s definitely on my list. As for your possible trip to Vietnam, I’m sure April would be perfect for both/either the North and the South. I only had time to visit one part of the country, and I really wanted to see Sapa, but after such a successful trip, I’m positive I’ll be back to explore the South.

      • roomaomao August 10, 2012 at 2:28 am #

        Once I make there the photos and write up will all be on my blog haha. I’m super interested in the south because of the history with my country , the United States. Walking around Ho Chi Minh/Saigon while some my friends father’s were involved in war there would just be mind blowing. Thanks for your advice! Looking forward to hearing about more of your adventures. 🙂

      • roomaomao August 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

        Well how about that! My plans to Taiwan in October fell through (quite a pain in the ass trying to get the permits to allow my mainland Chinese girlfriend to go) so I just bought my tickets to Hanoi today! October 1st , I can’t wait!

      • akonrad August 12, 2012 at 6:19 am #

        Awesome roomaomao! I spent 24 hours in Hanoi, which was the perfect amount of time, and then sped off to Sapa (gorgeous – if you like hiking). I also highly recommend Ha Long Bay. Hope you enjoy!!!

      • roomaomao August 12, 2012 at 7:25 am #

        I have about 7 days in total to spend in Northern Vietnam. Getting my planning down right now. Maybe spend 2 full days in Hanoi , definitely a trip Halong Bay , and am trying to decide on another place. Sapa is a definite possibility but am looking into others as well. Thanks for the tips! I know I’m gonna love this trip. Getting so excited just starting the planning process!

  31. swimwithnic August 1, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    You’ve enticed me to visit Hanoi! 😉

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Swimwithnic- I really hope you visit Hanoi and enjoy it as much as I did! Also be sure to check out Ha Long Bay and Sapa.

  32. Vidadicta August 1, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    Thanks for visiting my hometown and so happy that you’re planning to come back. i’ve never been to the bar/coffee in the first picture, looks so nice! I’m living in Saigon at the moment, willing to show you more about my country…

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

      Vidadicta, I can’t wait to get your recommendations about Saigon! I loved Vietnam and can’t wait to return.

      • Vidadicta August 9, 2012 at 6:30 am #

        Just tell me the time and you’ll be more than welcomed. Btw, if you plan to come to Saigon, consider the possibility of combining with Cambodia, as many others do.

  33. Writing Jobs August 1, 2012 at 6:47 am #

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    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Thanks writing jobs – I absolutely love blogging, but it is far from easy, (as I’m sure you know). Appreciate your kind words!

  34. cartoonmick August 1, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Great pics, with awesome rich colors. Thanks for posting them.

  35. strawberrytraveler August 1, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Been thinking to Hanoi, thank you for sharing.. Definitely will put Hanoi on my list.

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      I’m glad my pics are encouraging you to visit Hanoi. I’d highly recommend 1 day in the city and then exploring Ha Long Bay or Sapa (for great views and hiking).

      • strawberrytraveler August 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

        Yes indeed,… Halong Bay also has been recommended by some friends. Ah, can’t hardly wait to hit it. LOL

  36. Mountain Gypsy August 1, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Just a teenager when the war finally ended for these poor people. My bro/in law was there ( US Navy ) and said that someday they would rise above the ashes. It sure looks like he was right.
    What an amazing adventure! Pic’s are beautiful, thank you for sharing.

    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      Thanks for sharing Mountain Gypsy. North Vietnam can be a little intimidating for an American to visit, but I felt completely comfortable and think it is an important place to travel to and learn from. I hope to visit the South for more of a historical tour of Vietnam sometime soon. (Hope you get to explore Vietnam too!)

  37. Alyssa August 1, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Great photos! Surely an awesome place to visit one day and those are really delicious dishes – yum! 😀

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    • akonrad August 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      Hello Alyssa, thanks for the compliment! I do hope you get to visit (and taste) Vietnam one day…

  38. Mrs M August 15, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    I literally just got back from HCM – the only place in Vietnam that we made this year. We’d hoped to go to Hue, but it wasn’t possible due to time and money . Your photos are lovely and bring back memories of last year. Did you make it to Halong Bay? That is truly stunning. My favourite town in Vietnam is Hoi An.

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      Thank you very much! Just the right words to get me back on track. I miss blogging and I really appreciate the feedback


  1. Lightroom 4 Photo Fun – Vietnamese Desserts And Foods | EssayBoard - October 5, 2012

    […] Vietnam, Hanoi – The True Concrete Jungle ( […]

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