Writer Ed Peters from South China Morning Post — Hong Kong's English-language paper has recommended travelers what and how to explore Hanoi during 48 hours of weekend.
There’s the usual lucky dip of low-cost carriers and rather pricier ones touching down at Noi Bai International Airport 60 minutes after taking off from Chek Lap Kok (and vice versa) flying at a theoretical 873km/h between Hong Kong and Hanoi. Jetstar’s US$150 return seems very reasonable, though a 7kg baggage allowance doesn’t leave much room for souvenir shopping.
South China Morning Post advises travelers that there are many places you can stay in Hanoi, such as Metropole hotel. Heritage buffs won’t need to be told about the Metropole – opened at the turn of the 20th century and since restored well beyond its former glory – there’s air-con for a start.
According to the Hong Kong-based newspaper, during 48 hours, travelers can buy gifts from several shops in Hanoi. Delicate hand embroidery is something everybody can agree on, ditto paper products made from wild plants that grow on river banks.
Lacquerware and bamboo handicrafts perform that delicate balancing act between practical and cute. Best deal is the ethnic minority products, especially textiles.
About cuisine, South China Morning Post advises travelers that besides Bun cha, Cha ca – grilled fish with turmeric and dill – is a good starting point for first-timers. In addition, the bicycle rickshaw has since become the quintessential Hanoi transport – US$10 per hour on an organized tour, or try a freelancer if your haggling skills are up to it.
Sapa (hill resort) and Ha Long Bay (20-million-year-old eco-theme park) ain’t the only excursions from Hanoi. Ba Vi National Park supplies excellent hiking, while nearby Duong Lam is the sort of rustic village photo editors drool over.
It’s easy to comprehend why Graham Greene liked the aberrant design of Phat Diem (consecrated 1892), which veers merrily between pagoda and gothic cathedral; mass is celebrated twice daily.
In the first three months of 2019, Hanoi welcomed more than 7.4 million visitors, a rise of 10.6% year-on-year. Of the total, 1.8 million were foreigners, a 15.5% increase from a year earlier, and 5.6 million were domestic tourists, up 9% over the previous year’s period, according to the municipal Department of Tourism.