Kristýna Mihmanlı
The First Steps in Hanoi /article/the_first_steps_in_hanoi
Wed, 08 Aug 2018 12:04:01 +0000

After I came to Vietnam I figured I can’t post, so now I will try to make up for it and say as much as I can in the following articles.

Vietnam was my trip to get out from my every day routine, my comfort zone and to get everything sorted in my head. I went there alone and it worked perfectly. Firstly the trip was supposed to be longer, but because of the plans with my husband I shortened it to 2 weeks. The plan was to start in Hanoi and end in Saigon. No other plans were made, simply because I think that before you come to the country and figure out what you like and what is really worth it you shouldn’t decide about the places to go. You meet locals and other tourists that give you tips and closer information which always changes your mind about what to see and what not to.

My only wish was to spend most of the time in the north because of the beautiful nature the north offers. However, before leaving my friend told me about floods which freaked me out and I bought a flight ticket to the middle of Vietnam for a very early day, just 3 days after arrival to Hanoi.

That was one big mistake I made, because later I figured in Vietnam nothing regarding weather lasts long, so by the time I came the north was safe to visit. One time I made plans too early and I won’t make the mistake again.  

When coming to Hanoi I was expecting similar conditions to India. The cultures are slightly similar and having experience from India helped me to adapt fast. High population on small space, bad public transport resulting in high number of scooters, unorganized little streets and no rules in driving result in crazy traffic situation. In Hanoi, you have to lose fear of walking on streets since sidewalks are full of parked scooters. Don’t worry though, the vehicles go pretty slow and since this is the normal for them they are used to adapt to anything else they meet on the street. Look around and carefully step ahead. You can use your hand to show them to stop because you want to cross.

The poverty is not as bad as in India. Most people I saw around Hanoi had a roof over their head. However, they live on their current earnings and the living conditions are for a European eye disasterous. Many people that live in the center have one room which is disposed to public. People eat in groups by usually a very small table which they put especially for that event on a sidewalk.

The smell of Vietnam is just unbearable for me, but I figured it is probably one kind of fruit that they sell here called durian. It smells so bad they have a non-douron sign next to a non-smoking sign in hotels. I rather haven’t tried it, but if you manage to do so, let me know how you liked it.   

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