How to Spend 24 Hours in Hanoi, Vietnam

Photo by Alanna Foutz, at the Tran Quoc Pagoda

Photo by Alanna Foutz, at the Tran Quoc Pagoda

A bustling and beautiful city, Hanoi, Vietnam is guaranteed to knock your socks off — but also might overwhelm you, especially with only twenty-four hours to see the sites. 

I visited Hanoi as a gateway to Ha Long Bay, which is a 3.5 hour drive from Hanoi. When booking our trip, I never expected to fall in love with Hanoi as I did, and if I could go back I would have stayed longer. Twenty-four hours isn’t long enough to feel the pulse of this city, but if you’re short on time and you have a Ha Long Bay tour to catch in the morning, then here is your guide on what to do with 24 hours in Hanoi.

Bun Cha Huong Lien

Bun Cha Huong Lien

Dine like Bourdain and Obama. Rarely am I in awe, but I found myself in it while eating the best goddamn noodle soup I ever tasted, a foot from where two icons once did the same. But it wasn’t the food or proximity to greatness — the people are what surprised me. I watched dozens of tourists swarm in for a photo of the table where Bourdain and Obama once shared a meal, and not one visitor was American. One thing is apparent when traveling -- the world views Americans as a joke, but in this small restaurant in Vietnam... we are no joke. These foreigners come to remember two of our men, good men. Great men. American men. So with such few opportunities, for the first time in a long time, I felt proud to be an American.

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Photo of the menu at Bun Cha Huong Lien

Photo of the menu at Bun Cha Huong Lien

 



Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Alanna Foutz

Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Alanna Foutz

Walk Around. Literally. That’s it. If you’re staying in the city, just step outside your hotel and basque in the fresh carbon monoxide and colorful locals. It’s unlike anything else. We went in with no plan and dead cell phone batteries.

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