Hanoi

After getting everything settled at the airport, receiving our visas, and getting through immigration. We were greeted by our driver the hotel had sent us, and once again my name was wrong (Laurent). I was even communicating via E-mail and had slept my name out!!! No matter what I do or how I say t I’ve come to accept the fact that no one will ever get it right, but I don’t care! Actually it had become quite humorous and fun to see what someone will come up with next.

I had done some research on trip adviser, Expedia, etc. and had found a Hotel right in the center of Hanoi Old Quarters called The Paradise Boutique . Upon emailing the hotel directly  I received a very pleasant email from the Manager who was more than happy to accommodate us and welcome us to Hanoi. The offered us a very generous package deal and helped us set up a cruise to Halong Bay. I can provide a very high recommendation for this hotel if you are looking for  a place to stay that’s nothing too fancy but perfect to get the full experience of city life in Hanoi. It was a cute little place, just decorated, and was within walking distance of all the major highlights of Hanoi. Situated in the Old Quarters it was just a short distance from the well know West Lake, Night Market, and French Quarters. It may look a little rough on the outside to some but as soon as you enter you will be pleasantly surprised of its quaint atmosphere. The staff was externally friendly and  attentive to our every needs to ensure we had a pleasant stay. We were given a room on the 5th floor on the back side away from the noisy hustle and bustle of the city streets, but when they heard there would be working on the building next door at 2am they immediately moved us to another room for the night considering we had a very early morning the next day. It had all your basic needs and since they only serve breakfast due to its small size and limited kitchen area they offered suggestions where to get the best food in Hanoi for lunch and dinner.  We probably should have listened to their recommendation the first night, because we ended up paying a little too much for an average meal but all in all we enjoyed our famous Vietnamese fried spring rolls, fresh salad, and beer after a long day of travel.

I’ll be posting the recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls a little late. I tough myself how to make them after our first trip to Hoi An because they are wicked good and unlike another spring roll I have ever had!

If you are looking for a bite to eat, we did like the place we ate. It was called RockStore at 61 Ma May, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam. Although a bit higher in price than many of the other local restaurants, the service quality, and food was excellent. It is a great place to try both traditional Vietnamese food and find “western” if you’re not feeling very daring. Also, a perfect place to sit back with a cold one and watch the game, and it’s even kid friendly if you’re traveling with your family. 

After dinner, we were a bit wiped from the trip. We walked the streets a bit which is absolutely mad with people driving, eating, walking, cycling, and socializing. I don’t know how they do it but somehow no one gets run over. If you walk with a purpose and just go with it and don’t stop to look back you’ll be fine 😛 Hey, if someone who trips over nothing and falls going upstairs on a regular basis can do it so can you!

That night we did “happen” to stumble upon a little Spa place called Orchard Spa, and after all that travel stress we both deserved a little foot massage. Greeted with an interesting cold tea..I probably wouldn’t drink again 😛

It was a nice little treat after a long day of walking and traveling, and I think we both almost fell asleep we enjoyed it so much! I can definitely recommend the Orchard spa if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to treat yourself. Two-foot messages ran us about $20 US and us most certainly got our money’s worth.

Thanks to the hotel we were headed to healing bay to enjoy a 2d 1n cruise, so after the spa, it was off to bed for us before our 630 wakes up call tomorrow morning.

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