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13 Travel Tips for First Timers in Hanoi, Vietnam

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13 Travel Tips for First Timers in Hanoi, Vietnam

I love Hanoi (I experienced this in my last Hanoi trip). It’s one of my favorite cities in the world, and it has a very special place in my heart. Hanoi is a blend of ancient oriental style and elegant French architectural works centered around Hoan Kiem Lake. The city is full of color, light, and culture. The buildings are painted dusty yellow with orange rooftops, temples are seen in every corner. It’s easy to get helplessly lost in a maze of backstreets and you’ll be whipping out google maps in no time.

I usually get lost and end up finding a street food stall serving Banh Mi, Pho or Nem rolls.

1. See the Old Quarter

Please tell me the Old Quarter is the first place you plan to explore. Fall in amour at first sight with the small streets and cute small houses. The Old Quarter really comes alive at night at Ha Tien Beer Corner. See vendors and live music fill the streets, and get tipsy on insanely cheap beer. Don’t count on the beer quality, but it’s dead cheap and the atmosphere is freaking awesome!

2. Be Prepared For Unpredictable Weather

In winter, it could be horribly cold for a whole week, then heats up. Hanoi Summers can be brutal. Hot, humid and wet it gets me changing two to three times. I don’t know how the Hanoian’s can eat Pho all year round with most places without AC! Late afternoon it’s heavy rain and thunderstorms. I don’t mind much really. It feels a bit cooler. Like me, you’ll probably be seeking shelter in a chic cafe enjoying local Vietnamese iced coffee.

“Don’t let Hanoi’s fickle weather put you off! Don’t be surprised, be prepared!” 

3. Don’t Be Shy. Meet the locals!

I love mingling with the locals. It’s a great way to gain insight into the local culture. From my experience, the Vietnamese area tad shy but very curious and welcoming. Vietnam has many hidden gems clouded by tourist traps and having a local friend can be an invaluable source of information as they can advise you where to go and the best phở in town.

4. Watch Crazy Traffic From the Balcony

Hanoi is like the New York of rush hour traffic. If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. No, really. It’s chaotic, crazy, noisy, fascinating, hectic, nightmarish, even makes veteran travelers feel anxious. Every time I make it to the other side, I feel grateful to be alive! “Stick with the crowd” locals say. Mimic the behavior of locals, and you’ll be amazed how quickly you assimilate to the chaos.

Want to watch the whole Hoan Kiem Lake and the bustling streets from a high viewpoint, I suggest you try City View Café. As the name suggests, this place offers a great outlook of the center of Hanoi on the fifth floor.

Where to see the traffic

City View Cafe –  1-3-5 Dinh Tien Hoang St, Hoan Kiem Dis, Hanoi

Skyview Bar- 14 – 16 Thanh Ha St | Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

5. Take a Stroll along Hoan Kiem Lake

The lake view has a peaceful atmosphere, no wonder locals frequent there. Hoan Kiem Lake is more than a place to relax: A little like the legend of King Arthur, King Le Loi had a magical sword which he returned to a mystical turtle in Hoan Kiem Lake. There are other structures such as the Temple of the Jade Mountain and the Tortoise Pagoda. The Ngoc Son Temple is the star attraction, reached by the bright red Huc Bridge.

There’s so much going on around the lake, you can find a lot of bars, boutiques, restaurants, local entertainment which can be fun and exciting for tourists to experience. Don’t be surprised to find yourself spending hours perusing all of the different stalls and all of the cute trinkets and lanterns.

6. Try local Vietnamese coffee. You’ll love it!

You should not leave Vietnam without trying the local coffee! Here, the coffee culture is everything. The classic iced coffee poured over with creamy condensed milk will leave your mouth with a smooth sweet taste and yourself coffee drunk. There’s so much variety of coffee drink combinations such as fruit, smoothies, chocolate, yogurt, and even Weasel poo!! (It’s very good).

Where to Drink Great Coffee

Xofa Café & Bistro – 14 Tống Duy Tân, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Giảng Cafe – 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Cafe Lâm – 60 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

7. Watch a show at the Water Puppet theatre or Hanoi Opera House

The Water Puppet Show brings to life Vietnamese myths and traditional customs. There’s no English translation, but seeing the art form and colorful puppets inaction speak volumes about Vietnamese culture.

The Hanoi Opera House: A stunningly, beautiful building in Hanoi modeled on the Palais Garnier in Paris, is a must go. The interior is even more stunning than the exterior. And of course, you can also get tickets to ‘Lang Toi’, or ‘My Village.’ Check out acrobats, dancers, and jugglers bring a rural Vietnamese village to life on the stage as you hear live music on classic Vietnamese instruments.

Where to book tickets

GetYourGuide.com – Thang Long Water Puppet Show

LuneProduction.com – Hanoi Opera House

8. Explore Hoa Lo PrisonThe prison is a reminder of Vietnam’s dark past.

You can walk through the cells that where POW (locals and Americans) had suffered. The walls of some cells on the dark had been cut away and replaced with glass so that you can peer into the tiny, dark and even dirty solitary confined cells. It’s the site where Senator John McCain had been imprisoned in 1967 for 5 years. You can actually see McCain’s flight suit displayed along with many photos of his comrades.

Cost: 40’000 VND

9. Try Local Street Food

You probably have tried spring rolls and Pho soup in your hometown, but nothing beats authentic Vietnamese food. And it’s cheap! Dishes like pho and bun bo, you’ll not want to eat anything else! Find locals and travelers of all walks of life even President Obama sitting at a corner of a grubby open-air restaurant on low plastic stools, enjoying freshly made dishes with cold beers in hand.

“Most of the best dining in Vietnam is still done on the streets.”

While budget street eateries are found everywhere, Vietnam’s culinary scene has been jazzed up its local dishes taking it to the fine dining ranks.

Where to Eat Good Street Food

Bun Cha / Bun Cha Ta Hanoi -21 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiem, Vietnam Also, head to 67 Hang Dieu for some of the best bun bo nam bo in town.

Pho – Two great spots for pho are Pho Gia Truyen (49 Bat Dan) and Pho Lam Nam Ngu (7 Nam Ngu).

Where to Dine

Hanoi Serene Cuisine Restaurant – 16 Bat Su, Hanoi

Duong’s 2 Restaurant – 101 Ma May St, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiem, Hanoi

10. Discover Hanoi’s Vibrant Nightlife

There’s plenty to see after the sunsets. Lively bars and glitzy nightclubs are conveniently based around Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter, where you can enjoy all sorts of booze as well as mix and mingle with fun-loving locals and expats. However, a night out in Hanoi is not complete without sitting back on plastic stools and enjoy Bia Hoi (Vietnamese draft beer) along the bustling streets.

If you’ve got more energy after your day trip, there are several amazing nightclubs such as club Savage and Hero.  From eccentrically themed venues to exclusive clubs with Western pricing, you’ll find a bit of everything here.

11. How to Get Around

Use Grab App or uber for a cheap taxi ride. Don’t get ripped off by Licensed like Taxi Mai Linh, Taxi Airport and Taxi Van Xuan. Hop on a Cyclo. The Three-wheeled bicycle will give you front row seats to the charms of Hanoi as your peddler navigates you leisurely around the Old Quarter. You can also catch a local bus if you don’t mind getting lost.

12. Book A Tour

Use Hanoi as a base to explore Sapa, Ha Giang and other attractions, such as Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island. There are heaps of travel agencies in every corner begging you to book a tour with them. It’s alright if you don’t like tours. I mainly use them for travel advice.

13. When To Go

Hanoi has two main seasons: rainy (May-Oct) and dry (Nov-Apr).There’s not really a right or wrong time to visit Vietnam as most months of the year you will experience both sunshine and rain in varying quantities. You might actually have fun in such capricious weather!

Winter – November to April

The weather is cool but mostly dead dry. Temperatures average 17-22°C with the coldest months being January – March.

Summer – May to October

When hot and humid, the region experiences its highest rainfall. July to September are the wettest months of the year. Severe weather can delay tours in Halong Bay and other areas.

Siddharth Kashyap loves crafting content and sharing information about technology and business. Since the world mainly revolves around, business growth, and technological advancements, you can always find her delved into the digital world.

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New Route To Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: The Journey That will Offer Peace and Serenity

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New Route To Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

You may have travelled to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra and experienced the peace of mind and a sense of calm that it brings to your soul. But the trip is now going to get short because of the plans implemented by the Government of India. They are introducing a new route that is going to be shorter as well as easier. The long six days’ trip to Kailash Mansarovar in-between the Himalayas in Tibet will now be short and inexpensive. You need not travel for six days because there is a new route formed through Uttarakhand. This will make the spiritual journey faster and quicker. You need not also worry about the travel expenses because in a few days you will be able to reach the location.

No flight travel required for the trip

Currently, there are two routes present for travelling to Kailash Mansarovar. One route is from Sikkim and the other is from Kathmandu but both of the routes are long and tiring. Therefore, people choose flights as the best option to travel. But with the new routes under construction, you need not travel by air because the route is short so you can make the journey by land.

The Yatra will be under the management of the Ministry of External Affairs and the journey outside of the border of India will be under Chinese authorities.

So if you are planning to undertake the spiritual journey to Kailash Mansarovar then travel in this new route. When the journey was long thousands of people belonging to Hinduism, Jainism Buddhism and others travelled to Kailash and now it is going to be short so we may expect even more people to join the journey.

Now everybody can plan a trip to Kailash!

This is a great thing for elderly people and children. If you are having doubts about whether to attempt a journey with large family members then you will certainly feel happy about this development. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced in his social media page about the new route to Kailash Mansarovar. He inaugurated the route and the constructions of the route are going on in full speed to finish it quickly for the benefit of all. The construction work is now performed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) even at the time of the on-going coronavirus pandemic.

The new route to the spiritual place will link with the 80-km road from Dharchula situated in Uttarakhand and will join with Lipulekh pass that is 17,000 feet high. This place is near to tri-junction of India, China and Nepal. From here the Mountain of Kailash situated 97 km north of the route to Tibet.

In this route, the pilgrims will be able to pass through the Lipulekh from Delhi in two days. This cuts more travel time. Then there is a 5kilometers of the trek on the side of China in the Lipulekh Pass and after that, the pilgrims can accomplish the journey by using available transportation. So this means that elderly ones and physically challenged people can also undertake this journey without effort.

Conclusion

Plan a trip to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra with your family and friends and experience the joy of travelling by the new route.

Also read: Explore Top 10 of The Scariest Railway Routes Around The World That Would Run Chill Down Your Spine

Featured image source: Google

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A Travelers Guide to the United States Statue of Liberty

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solo traveler

The Eiffel Tower in Paris (the city of Love), the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro (the home of the beautiful game to the Pyramids in Cairo (a great wonder of the world), these are all household names when it comes to universally lauded tourist destinations. You might be forgiven for thinking that the busy and increasingly rough city of New York’s landmark is the ever-disappointing New York Knicks basketball franchise. Still, on looking closely, you find the magnificent Statue of Liberty. The statue that towers over the city of New York and reminds tourists of the beauty and class that comes with being liberal and free. Sit back, sip a Martini, and join me as I take you on a traveler’s guide to the United States Statue of Liberty.

Brief History on the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty has a rich and touching story; this statue was designed by Frederic Bartholdi, a famous sculptor that also designed the Eiffel Tower, another famous tourist destination and symbol of love located in the French Capital. The Statue of Liberty was initially a gift by French immigrants for the good care and respect they received while on a flight from their war-torn land and assumed a larger responsibility at the turn of the 19th century as it was the first site immigrants searching for better pastures saw as they entered America, this was a symbolic sign of freedom and a departure from economic disarray. The Statue of Liberty was inspired by a Greek goddess that symbolizes Liberty as she wields a book (The American Declaration of Independence) on the left and a torch in the right. This statue has a rich and proud history, indeed.

Ease of Visit

As is usually the case when it comes to worldwide acclaimed destinations and a place where hundreds of thousands of people visit every year, such tourist sites require the esteemed tourist to part with a significant amount of money to take a close look and better look around. However, it says on various websites and blogs that the Statue of Liberty is free to visit. This is half true. Half true in the sense that yes, nobody charges a tourist for honestly checking out the Statue of Liberty, but this statue is on an island. How will you get to such an island to have a closer look at? That is where the money and ease of visit come in. The tourist will have to pay for a boat or ferry to take him to the island that the statue is located at, and following this, he or she will have to pay for a boat or ferry either way. Asides from that little cost issue, the Statue of Liberty is relatively easy to access or visit. So what are you waiting for? Hop on in and let us take a ferry ride to the island and check out Lady Liberty. 

What to Expect

Because the Statue of Liberty is a world-famous tourist attraction, you should take out time and get a reservation with a tourist guide agency. This agency usually performs functions such as finding ferries to take the clients to the island, providing them with food or restaurant choices that are close to the site, they also provide clients with helpful tips to ensure they check out all the hidden gems in the tourist visitation. Such hidden gems to a tourist’s eye include the Museum, the Liberty state park, and even the Ellis hospital. Such guides show the wide-eyed tourists things to expect when checking out the fantastic wonder of the United States of America. The paid tour guides also make provision for the tourist’s children as children are not allowed inside a couple of the side attractions and well-structured buildings. You can expect a cordial experience as the members of the New York City workforce are usually pleasant and well responsive to wide-eyed and interested tourists that come from all over the world to see the Statue of Liberty.

So it’s time to take that well-deserved break and go on the holiday trip with the guys, and the destination is the US, if you are from a visa-free country, it is quite essential to apply for an ESTA. ESTA America is the way forward and a new age development to aid individuals that decide to explore the USA without a visa. The form can be filled out online, and a fee will be paid following submission. Applicants will be contacted via email within a period of not over 72 hours, during which they will be informed whether the ESTA has been granted or otherwise. Applicants are advised to check my ESTA online to see the status of their application if they don’t have a message from ESTA as regards their application. Due care, skill, and diligence must be taken in filling all forms as this will give an applicant an edge in the granting process.

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8 Bengali Restaurants in Bangalore To Satisfy Your Taste Buds

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8 Bengali Restaurants in Bangalore

Bengali cuisine is a sight for sore eyes because it has the ability to raise your hunger when just look at it. There are many kinds of dishes such as Chicken Kosha, crisp mutton cutlets, Kolkata-style Biriyani, and lot more to satiate your craving for food. So here is the list of Bengali restaurants in Bangalore for you to have a good Bengali banquet with your family and friends. To all the Bengali food lovers out there this information will be very useful.

1. Aami Bangali

Aami Bangali Bangalore

Aami Bangali

This is the perfect place to eat different kinds of authentic Bengali food. There is a selection of dishes such as dry fruit laden Basanti Pulao the fragrance of which will tantalize your senses. Then the place also offers the best Kolkata Biriyani for the Biriyani lovers.

2. Sorse

Sorse Authentic Bengali Cuisine

via: Sorse.in

If you want a little spice in your life, then there is nothing spicier then the Bengali food in Sorse. The dishes will capture your mind and heart because that much tasty the food will be. There are kofta Poshtor Borar, Murgh Musaallam, Shorshe Potol Narked Diye. Definitely try these dishes.

3. Bhojohori Manna

Bhojohori Manna

via: Bhojohori Manna

This is an amazing place in Bangalore to stop and indulge in tasty Bengali dishes. If you are in that place do try the Mini and Maxi authentic Bong Thalas. There are lots of thala types available for you to choose from that offer variety of dishes. You can try the repast in any branch of the restaurant. So enjoy the extensive Bengali meal supplied by this great place.

4. Koshe Kosha

Koshe Kosha

For the non-vegetarians, the special Bengali place is here. This is a complete menu of vegetarian Bengali meals such as Aloo Poshto, Dhakai Mangsho, and hilsa. So visit the place with your family to indulge in a vegetarian buffet.

Also read: 5 Best Restaurants in Hanoi That Will Promisingly Give You Unforgettable Dining Experiences

5. Esplanade

Esplanade Restaurant Bangalore

via: TrueLocalz

Esplanade is a marvelous place in Indiranagar. The restaurant is well known for the astounding yellow lights that gives it a royal look. There are large windows for a good view. Get your family or the date to this place because the ambiance is wonderful. The authentic Bengali dishes offered in the place are Kacha Lanka Murgi, Fish Fry, Gandharaj Chingri and many more to explore.

6. Oh Calcutta

Oh Calcutta Bangalore

You can try the tasty dish offered in “Oh Calcutta” in Church Street the signature spicy Kosha Mangsho, creamy Daab Chingri, crispy Bhetki Fry, and many more. You can wash the food down with good beer here. Then there is dessert Icecream Nolen Gur created with palm jaggery syrup.

7. Bangaliana

Bangaliana

This restaurant contains lots of outlets for people to get there and simply eat. It is a special place to eat seafood like prawn, Lau Chingry, Prawn Kobiraji, and lots of seafood in different flavours. For deserts, you can choose the fluffy Rosagolla and Misti Doi.

8. The Kitchen of Joy

The Kitchen of Joy

The Kitchen of Joy Facebook page

The fragrance of the aroma oil and the spicy food in the Bengali kitchen will make your mouth water. There are some popular dishes like the Egg devil, Kathi rolls, fish chops, and lots more. This is one of the top restaurants offering Bengali dish in Bangalore.

Enjoy eating slap-up Bengali dishes from these restaurants. Partake of these delectable dishes and make your heart happy and your stomach full. Because when your palate is full your heart will be content.

Also read: Mehrauli and Kalkaji Restaurants, Bars, Cafes, Guide

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