Hanoi Highlights – Exploring Northern Vietnam

Hanoi Highlights – Exploring Northern Vietnam

Hanoi – a charming city with multiple lakes and peaceful neighborhoods.

I had experienced a bit of Vietnam’s famed “coldness” when I started traveling in the south of the country and had heard from everyone that the north was ten times worse. Hanoi, the center of the more “sophisticated” north, was rumored to be the worst of the worst. My experience was entirely different…

I arrive at around 9pm in the Hanoi bus station. Not wanting to pay massive amounts to take a cab into town, I inquire about buses going to the city center and am very kindly provided information and the bus number and time schedule.

I heard that Central Backpackers is helpful in securing Chinese visas so I decide to go there but I have no address and no idea where/when to get off. I ask the young man in front of me, and although he does not speak English very well, he persistently tries to help me figure out where it is. I mention that I just need internet to find the address and before I now it we are off the bus – it was not even his stop – looking for internet. We find wireless at a café and then after making triply sure that I am OK he departs – what a sweetie! Once I get the address the café people are equally kind and find me a seum (motorbike taxi), negotiating the best deal for me.

Approaching the backpackers, I enter the heart of tourism. Everything in this section of town is geared for tourist and here the Vietnamese are colder. Makes you wonder what it is tourist do to the Vietnamese…???

Even here, however, with a little persistent niceness, the coldness can be warmed and smiles evoked.

In Hanoi I meet up with some wonderful friends I had met in Da Nang, and enjoy hanging out at the many street cafes with their wide range of hot and cold drinks: fresh fruit mixed drinks, yogurt drinks on ice, gelatinous coconut from the shell – Vietnam takes the prize for creative drinks. One of my favorites is looking out over Ho Tay (West Lake) while sipping tra chanh – an extremely popular lemon-green tea.

I also had the incredible opportunity to receive Deliverance Prayer with Roger and Holly Ford through their Isaiah 61 ministries. Wow! An incredibly cleansing, powerful experience of God’s passionate love! Read more at My Deliverance Prayer. (coming soon) (:

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