It is my second month of living and teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam. In some aspects, it feels much longer, but some days I feel as if I’ve been here for only a week! Hanoi continues to shock, delight, and astound me. Some days, I feel incredibly frustrated. Other days, I feel so filled with gratitude and love that I could shout it from the rooftops. Adjusting to this maddeningly chaotic city has been a challenge of epic proportions, but I am thankful for every day that I get to spend here.
There is never a dull moment as an expat in Hanoi. Just last week I saw a pig being slaughtered on the street out by my house. In the same hour, a flower woman passed by and gave me a free flower with a smile. Hanoi reminds me a bit of cities in India, as it is all the extremes.
It’s both kind and cruel, and peaceful yet crazy.
Where I Explored
About four hours from Hanoi by bus, Mai Chau is a beautiful little village tucked away among rice paddies and mountains.
If you want to get around by bicycle, it is very easy to visit the nearby tourist attractions. However, we wanted to get out-of-town so we rented motorbikes for the day. We visited a beautiful waterfall and stopped along to the way to admire the stunning views.
Hanoi Train Street
Located on the corner of Tong Duy Tan and Dien Bien Phu street, the Hanoi railroad tracks are a sight to see. The tracks run through a very narrow street in the middle of Hanoi. Locals go about life as per usual, not fussed by the train that rolls through their homes every couple of hours.
Where I Ate
Sesame is very quickly becoming one of my favorite places to eat in Hanoi. They offer set meals for 65,000 dong and their menu is fully vegan. Mustard leaf rolls with their homemade peanut butter are to die for.
Address: 2b Ngõ 12 Đặng Thai Mai, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội, Vietnam, Ngõ 12 Đặng Thai Mai, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội
Where I Drank
Hanoi Social Club
Address:6 Hội Vũ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam 10
Tucked in a little alleway in the Old Quarter, Hanoi Social Club focuses on providing healthy, delicious food and drinks. They also hold some great music events, check out their weekly listings on their facebook page.
- Although zipping through the crazy streets of Hanoi on a motorbike is fun, it can also be incredibly dangerous. After seeing a terrible crash, I was reminded to always wear a helmet and use more caution, regardless of how other people drive (expats and locals alike!)
- It’s so, so important to soak in the present moment and really feel things. There is literally only now. If you can’t learn to be present, no plans for the future can be made.
- Inner peace can be found, even in complete chaos.
- Namaste and all that good stuff.
These photos were shot with my GoPro Hero 4.