Hanoi on a Budget
Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and the second largest city in the country. This multicultural city has plenty to do for the budget conscious, from museums to theatre where you can explore the Chinese, French and Russian influences it holds. Or you make wish to just wander the motorbike filled streets tasting the food and drinking the infamous Vietnamese coffee.
There are a ton of museums in Hanoi where you can explore history and culture, but sadly expect to see some propaganda at these places. I would still recommend a visit to one or two of these.
Hoa Lo Prison Museum: This prison has now been converted to a walk around museum where you are given a history telling of the gruesome treatment of Vietnamese prisoners during the French colonial rule. The prison was also used in the Vietnamese-American war. Cost: 20,000 VND (less than £1).
Vietnamese Women’s Museum: This museum details the lives over centuries of Vietnamese women, there different ethnicities and tribes and their role within these. There are displays of clothing and equipment that was used by the women dating back decades ago. Cost: 30,000 VND (just over £1).
Vietnam Military History Museum: Expect a lot of propaganda on the Vietnam-American war but the museum does hold a lot of military equipment such as tanks, rocket launchers, helicopters etc that you walk around and look at. Cost: 30,000 VND
The Temple of Literature: Also known as Vietnams first university and has a beautiful courtyard you can wonder around. It might make more sense to have a guide explain the areas of the temple. Cost: 20,000 VND
Another Museum that is notable but I didn’t have a chance to see is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This museum honours Ho Chi Minh and is his final resting place. You will be expected to dress conservatively and it gets super busy so get there early.
Hoan Kiem Lake
This lake is in central Hanoi and is a lovely scenic spot that you can sit and enjoy everything around you. It is quite a focal spot especially at weekends when locals gather around the area with their families. You will probably find in the evening lots of school kids eager to practise their English skills too.
Water Puppet Theatre
This puppet show, also known as Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, started when villagers would entertain people in flooded rice paddies. Performances are usually with traditional Vietnamese orchestra and instruments and usually tell folk tales and legends. The show is usually around 1 hour and they start around 3pm with the last show around 8pm. Cost: 100,000 (around £3.50)
Hanoi is full of different varieties of food and you will find local food will be the cheapest. The food has Chinese and French influences and you will find plenty of stalls and restaurants with small plastic chairs for you to sit on outside. There are endless places selling noodles, soups, rice and baguettes so pull up a plastic chair and enjoy.