The ultimate Hanoi City Guide from a local Vietnamese millennial

by thefanggirl

Back in early 2022, I had organized a meetup in Singapore for Asian Wander Women. Over Korean fried chicken and cold beer, we were sending our Australian Chinese friend Bonnie a farewell off to the UK, where she’d spend the next 3 months working there as a dietician. In parallel, I had received Instagram DMs via @emilyifang from a helpful follower who would send me travel tips and ideas randomly; I was touched by her sincerity and we then quickly became friends.

Her name was Ngoc, a Vietnamese local who worked for a local Singaporean company as a data analyst and based in Hanoi. I had invited her to the meetup in Singapore since she was in town for work—we chatted about our upcoming travels and I introduced her to my friends.

Fast forward to August 2022, I quit my job to travel SE Asia and Ngoc happily volunteered to show us around in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. This city guide is a compilation of all the places she’s taken us and recommended.

We were strolling around the streets near our hotel Hanoi La Siesta Hotel and Spa.

Hanoi La Siesta Hotel and Spa

This hotel was honestly one of the best I’ve stayed at. My expectations of customer service has changed after staying there. The service was wonderful and front desk treated you like a million bucks—the general manager even remembered our names and would greet us at breakfast.

Mostly, the breakfast buffet was to die for. You had hot food lined up, a pho and omelette station for your ordering, platters of neatly cut fruit, a rotating toast machine for banh mi bread or baguettes, freshly made yogurts in glass cups, tropical juice blends, and unlimited Vietnamese drip coffee.

We had cut our stay two days short due to a visa issue and originally stayed at a windowless room. After a couple of days, I was eating breakfast and the general manager came up to tell me that we were being upgraded to the most posh suite—it was a two level suite with queen beds, both with their own bathroom en suite. I felt like royalty.

Nonstop coffee every day. We were wired 24/7 but it was so worth it!

Restaurants in Hanoi that We Ate At

Ngoc took us to one of her favorite restaurants in Hanoi called Three Seasons, a spot she frequently takes her out of town visitors. When we went, it seemed like it was all locals and everyone was having a grand old time.

Three Seasons Restaurants
70 Lý Thường Kiệt (8,179.59 mi)
Hanoi, Vietnam, 10000
+84 79 780 8668

Ngoc (seated on the right) took us to one of her favorite restaurants in Hanoi called Three Seasons.

You should make a reservation in advance, which can be done by messaging the restaurant through the Facebook page or you can send an email via Ngoc says they respond via Facebook page faster.

What we ordered for the table

  1. Soft thin vermicelli with grilled beef roll – Bò cuốn bánh hỏi
  2. Young coconut salad – Gỏi củ hũ dừa tôm thịt
  3. Three seasons broken rice – Cơm tấm Ba Mùa
  4. Soft thin vermicelli with roasted pork – Bánh hỏi heo quay
  5. Grilled beef in bamboo tube – Bò nướng ống tre
How amazing is it to meet up in Hanoi (in all places) with friends at Tầm Vị from my community!

Nhà hàng Tầm Vị
+ 096 632 31 31

As always, Ngoc knows how to order well!

What we ordered for the table at Tầm Vị

  • Steamed brown rice with black beans – Cơm gạo lứt đỗ đen
  • Stir-fried veal with chili and citronella – Bê xào xả ớt
  • Spring roll – Nem rán
  • Fish cakes – Chả cá lăng
  • Stir-fried morning glory (water spinach) with pork rinds – Rau muống xào tóp mỡ
  • Fresh rolls with shrimp and pork belly – Cuốn tôm thịt
  • Malabar spinach soup with crabs and spong gourd – Canh cua mồng tơi
  • Stir-fried beef with betel leaf – Bò xào lá lốt

Egg Yolk Specialty Coffee

Egg and coffee? You might think it’s gross and questionable, but egg yolk coffee is a speciality in Hanoi—it’s a must try.

Eggyolk Specialty Coffee

Egg coffee is Cafe trứng
Address: 42C Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Hours: 7 AM – 10 PM
Google maps:

Ngoc shared with us, “Egg yolk has a rich texture thanks to the fresh yolk from special blue eggs. Accompanied by an aromatic, slightly bitter, and pleasantly acidic shot of espresso from 100% Vietnamese Arabica beans. Whip them together, and taste the flavorful cloud-shaped in a cup. The egg cream and espresso shot are served separately for you to enjoy your way.”

Get an amazing massage

La Belle Vie Spa Massage
Address: 48 Luong Van Can st, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Phone: (+84) 24 6686 9163.
Hotline: 0978392399 (WhatsApp, Kakaotalk, Zalo)

Operating Hours

Open daily from 9:00AM – 22:00PM.

To our pleasant surprise, they have a 15% off happy hour from 9:00-11:00 AM. I would recommend booking in advance—they also use WhatsApp!

Tipping isn’t very common in Hanoi, as shared by Ngoc.

She mentioned it was mostly the westerners who would tip, but it wasn’t expected, just appreciated. At the end of the massage, the spa will ask you to do a survey and they will even ask if their employees ask for tips—this is frowned upon at the spa and I appreciated that. I ended up tipping regardless because it was such a great deal!

Hilarious Anecdotes at the Nail Salon

I watched in horror as Tiffany’s nail technician nonchalantly clipped her fingernails and the pieces flew into my lap as I became immediate collateral damage—then I couldn’t stop but burst out in laughter by how ridiculous this experience was. Tiffany then later told me that her technician was filing Tiffany’s nails and then filed her own nails shortly. She was frozen and didn’t know what to do, but told me after the fact.

The google reviews had given the store a 4.7/5, so I am not sure what went wrong there, but it still gives me a good laugh when Tiffany and I reminisce about that one time we got our nails done for $10 USD in Hanoi.

A lot of people characterized Hanoi: Vietnam is like Beijing: China. It’s more historical, with lots of old architecture buildings and national monuments. I would recommend going to Hanoi if you’re interested in exploring North of Vietnam and understanding more of the cultural.

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