City guide – HANOI HEAVEN
Take a trip to the Vietnamese capital and include this trio HANOI HEAVEN of mini expeditions in your trip, specially curated for you.
VIETNAMESE COFFEE HANGOUTS
SIP DRIP COFFEE WITH CONDENSED MILK.
Need a caffeine hit? Then get along to the Hanoi Coffee Station, which uses Vietnamese beans from Da Lat in its brews. In addition to Vietnamese coffee, it serves French press, peanut butter coffee and matcha lattes.
The Note Coffee is another great option: expect strong, sweet Vietnamese coffee along with egg and coconut brews. Spread over three floors, there are inspirational sticky notes plastered on the café walls, while hand-written notes scribbled onto cups deliver a similarly personalised touch.
You can also sample this acclaimed brew at Loading T Café, where it’s mixed with cinnamon for a surprising and unique aftertaste. If you love a bit of heritage, this is the spot for you, as it’s located in a charming French house in the Old Quarter.
Don’t miss, too, An Cafe for Vietnamese coffee with Banh Minh: what could be more authentic when you’re in the Vietnamese capital? Coffee can be made with coconut milk if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant.
AO DAI SHOPPING
GET KITTED OUT IN THIS CLASSIC VIETNAMESE DRESS
A great place to pick up this figure-hugging dress is Ao Dai Minh Duc, which can embroider pieces to your specification. After you’ve been measured, expect to wait around 3-5 days before it’s ready. Ready-made pieces are also available if you want something quick.
Another ao dai maker with a good reputation is Ao Dai Thanh Mai, which offers silk, lace and other materials, plus options with or without sleeves. You can even rent one if you have a fancy dinner while you’re in the Vietnamese capital.
If you’re keen to browse several different ao dai options, head out to Luong Van Can Street in the Old Quarter, which is a popular tourist haunt. Here, you’ll find shops catering to different price ranges and tastes, with the cheapest options starting at around US$20.
Want to make a day of it? Then head out to Van Phuk Silk Trade Village, where ao dais are made by weavers using traditional looms. You can also pick up shirts and other dresses, along with bedding and tablecloths.
VISIT TRIBUTES TO THE VIETNAM WAR
The Hoa Lo Prison was used by the French for political prisoners, and then by North Vietnam for US prisoners of war, who referred sarcastically to it as
the Hanoi Hilton. The gatehouse is now a museum, which includes the guillotine room used for sentencing and the flight suit and parachute of former POW John McCain.
Outside the B-52 Victory Museum is a plane of the same name shot down by the Vietnamese in 1972, just before the US sat down at the negotiating table and pulled out of Vietnam a year later. Inside, there’s more displays recalling Vietnam’s victory.
The Vietnam Military History Museum includes a display of decommissioned, captured or destroyed military equipment and vehicles used by French, Viet Minh, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the US. The museum has more decommissioned vehicles on display in its Garden of Toys.
Outside the Vietnam People’s Air Force Museum you’ll find a Mil Mi-4 that was Ho Chi Minh’s personal helicopter. Elsewhere, there’s flight suits, aircraft weaponry and engines, items from downed US aircraft and the forward fuselage of an MiG-21.