Oversea, Travel

Hanoi Day 3 & 4: Old Quarter, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Đồng Xuân Market & Goodbye

This is my last Hanoi post covering day 3 and day 4 (last day). It’s very long…

While day 2 was spent mostly at the French Quarter, we have all the day 3 sticking our butts at the Old Quarter (north of Hoàn Kiếm Lake).

Booth Avocado @ Hanoi
We begin our day by having Booth avocado for our 1st breakfast which we bought from Vinmart on our first day. The avocado was very creamy. I had it with sea salt which I brought along with my trip.

Then, off we went for a lightweight hotel buffet (our 2nd breakfast).

Buffet Breakfast @ Hanoi Emerald Waters Hotel Trendy, Hanoi
My 2nd breakfast. Don’t worry, this wasn’t everything I ate. I tambah lagi!

Then, off we went to a new adventure at the Old Quarter. We encountered very heavy traffic and lots of horning not long after that. So much so that our road crossing skills were greatly enhanced. Hahaha While the French Quarter is more tranquil, Old Quarter is such havoc but in a pleasant way. 😛

Interesting Local Food @ Hanoi
Interesting local food. I wonder if that is the Vietnamese style bak chang?

Morning @ Hanoi
Morning at Hanoi, near Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

Wooden Baking Moulds @ Hanoi
We stopped by a street called Tố Tịch. This street has a few shops selling wooden baking moulds and ceramics. Vietnamese celebrates mooncake festival and mooncake is called bánh trung thu in their language. The moulds prices are quite similar to the ones in Malaysia though the patterns are totally different. My sis thought of getting one but last-last tak jadi.

Peddler Selling Citrus Fruit & Avocado @ Hanoi
Peddler selling citrus fruit and Booth avocado. Can anyone help me identify the name of this citrus fruit?

Peddler Selling Banana @ Hanoi
Banana galore!

The first place we visited in Old Quarter was Authentic Bat Trang. It’s a small ceramic shop selling ceramic from Bat Trang. There’s a place in Bat Trang known as Bat Trang Ceramic/Pottery Village. Due to time constraint, we had to forgo visiting the ceramic village even though it’s near (about 15km by car) to the Old Quarter. So, Authentic Bat Trang would have to be it. I didn’t buy any ceramics because it wasn’t to my taste. I didn’t take any photo either.

Next on the itinerary is St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

Shop Selling Books, Magazines & Calendars @ Hanoi
On the way there, we chanced upon shops selling books, magazines and calendars. What caught my eyes were the red calendars that are so Chinese style. Upon close inspection, I found that it’s printed in Vietnamese.

Hàng Trống @ Hanoi
It’s located at Hàng Trống near Intimex. Do check it out if you’re interested.

St. Joseph's Cathedral @ Hanoi
St. Joseph’s Cathedral. It looks kinda rugged but no less beautiful.

Stunning Fuchsia Rose @ St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi
Stunning fuchsia rose found at the cathedral’s ground.

Because we found out there’s an Intimex nearby, we went and checked it out next. We only bought two things since we won’t be going back to the hotel anytime soon and we don’t want to carry too heavy. We bought coffee ground as dad’s souvenir and crispy persimmon from Mộc Châu (hồng giòn Mộc Châu) for us. The persimmon was RM4 only for like 5-6 pieces. A bargain in Malaysia standard.

We then walked to Hàng Quạt as it’s time for the much-awaited meal. We had bún chả at Bún Chả Hàng Quạt for brunch around 10.20am or should I consider that our 3rd breakfast? It was absolutely AMAZING! Click the link to read my review.

Next, we headed to Đồng Xuân Market.

Hàng Ngang Street @ Hanoi
This is Hàng Nhang Street which leads to Đồng Xuân Market. The traffic here is even more crazier. It was bumper to bumper non-stop. The photo didn’t do any justice.

Đồng Xuân Market @ Hanoi
Took us the longest to cross this road to Đồng Xuân Market on the opposite. Apparently, we failed the road crossing test this time. Haha

There are several areas and floors in Đồng Xuân Market. It’s big. We just whizzed through very little. Somehow, I dislike the vibes there. The only thing I bought at the market is pouches for mom to keep her keys. Although it’s a wholesale market, I was able to buy in small quantity. If you want to buy affordable souvenirs, I can say that Đồng Xuân Market is definitely the cheapest compared to standalone shops.

Ladies Bags @ Đồng Xuân Market, Hanoi
Ladies bags at Đồng Xuân Market.

We thought we’ll answer our nature’s call in Đồng Xuân Market. The toilet entrance fee is 2,000 VND (~RM0.35) pax. Upon entering the toilet, I had a BIG shock. They have seated toilets with and without cubicles. Saw the local ladies just walk in, pull the pants down and urinate openly on the seated toilet minus any cubicle! I was like “OhmyGod!!! Why didn’t anyone tell me about this thing?”. Mind you, I did not look at the mustn’t look area ya. I have my fair share of experiences in China dealing with open urinating/defecation, so this wasn’t a huge shock. The huge shock was experiencing it in a local market in Hanoi. Who would have thought such a thing existed in Vietnam? Oh, by the way, the toilet was really smelly.

Dried Food @ Đồng Xuân Market, Hanoi
Dried food section. This area reminds me of the dried food section of Jagalchi Market at Busan. The later is far cleaner and has a wide path.

After this, we quickly leave the market, and I felt light again.

Ô Mai Hồng Lam @ Hanoi
Stopped at Ô Mai Hồng Lam at Hàng Đường street to get some souvenir such as húng lìu, bánh đậu xanh and bánh chả. I didn’t get ô mai (salted sugared dried fruits) as I’m not a fan.

Salted Dried Fruits, Traditional Pastries & Snacks @ Hanoi
From a random shop; that’s ô mai on the topmost and Chinese-style Vietnamese traditional pastries below it.

When it rained suddenly, we took shelter at Bánh Mì 25. We ordered a bánh mì and a drink to share. When the rain stops, we went souvenir shopping again as we make our way back to the hotel.

We reached the hotel around 2pm+.

Delicious Bánh Đậu Xanh @ Hanoi
Enjoying the delicious bánh đậu xanh while resting.

We went out close to 5pm for dinner at Phở Gà 26. It was my first ever phở. Then, I wanted to try Bánh Cuốn Nóng but alas it was closed. I even purposely didn’t finish my phở so I can have stomach space for the bánh cuốn. So sad. And yes, I feel bad not finishing the phở. So, we went souvenir shopping again. Although I said we went souvenir shopping, we almost didn’t buy anything. LOL

Selling Bánh Bao @ Hanoi
Saw a street selling lots of bánh bao, so I bought a pork bao @ 15,000 VND (~RM2.70) from this lady with my cloth bag. She reminded me of my great grandmother a bit. 🙂 The pork filling is like sang yoke with a small piece of egg. It was weird tasting but not bad.

Then we continued our souvenir hunting (it was mostly my sis) as we slowly make our way back to the hotel.

Cầu Gỗ Street @ Hanoi
Cầu Gỗ street at night. Hanoi is lively at night.

Night View At Hoàn Kiếm Lake @ Hanoi
Night view at Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

We decided to drop by Vinmart for one last time. Bought more Booth avocados and mango. Hehe Before finally going back to the hotel, we dropped by AHA Cafe which is just opposite our hotel for some coffee. Grateful for the delicious coffee.

Booth Avocado @ Hanoi
Had some Booth avocado while packing at our room. At night, I had a tough time sleeping as I was bloated and kept burping. I suspected it’s the amount of coffee I drank + nerves + overeating. Haha

The next day which is day 4 was our last day in Hanoi. Woke around 6am+ and I was feeling very tired since I didn’t sleep much.

Buffet Breakfast @ Hanoi Emerald Waters Hotel Trendy, Hanoi
Our final buffet breakfast at the hotel.

We then went out to try Bami Bread but had to cancel it. You know why? On the way there, we chance upon a street which we thought we saw are selling altar for the people who had passed. We also realized Bami Bread is situated on this same street. So, we just stopped by a bakery called Nguyễn Sơn Bakery for some French pastry. We then got back to the hotel and rest.

Tsk, when I got back home and look at the map for that street, I found out they are not selling that kind of altar. Aiyoo.

Nga Nguyên House @ Hanoi
This is a shop selling children dress near the hotel. I thought the dresses are cute, simple and yet stylish and I wish they have it in adult sizes.

At around 11am+ we checked out and waited for our ride to the airport which we again booked at Klook via Shopback (referral link). Our ride came at 11.32am and 4 hotel staffs, of which two we had talked to quite a lot bade us goodbye. I had never experienced such services throughout our stay there. Thank you gals and guys. Appreciate it.

And so, the joyride to the airport began. It was much more horrific than the ride to the hotel a few days back. While both drivers had the air conditioner on real low, horning endlessly and overtaking wildly, this one speeds like crazy, shines other vehicles and picks his nose. While the ride from the airport to the hotel was wild, it was weirdly smooth. This one almost caused me a panic attack. My sis had to calm me down for I was going to ask the driver to slow down. He drove so fast, that we arrived at the airport at 12.03pm. That’s 31 minutes for ~30km ride. For comparison, the ride from the airport to the hotel took 45 minutes. Then when the driver handed me my luggage, I was like ewww because I remember the nose-picking. Ya mah.

Long Biên Bridge @ Hanoi
This is Long Biên Bridge in Old Quarter. Also wanted to visit this bridge but no time. So, just a snap from the fast car on the way to the airport.

Noi Bai International Airport @ Hanoi
At the Noi Bai International Airport, after some window shopping (I was eyeing Marou chocolate bars but my sis told me the date has expired) and checking in our luggage, we went to Popeyes for lunch. Later on, back home when I had time to think back, I realized the Marou chocolate bars weren’t expired. My sis deduced the date wrongly and I also blur-blur accepted it. Yup, we overthink. The overthinking was probably due to matters we were going through at that time.

Shrimp Cheese Burger @ Popeyes, Noi Bai International Airport
I had shrimp cheeseburger à la carte @ 80,000 VND (~RM14.50). Quite nice.

Chicken 2 Pieces Combos @ Popeye Popeyes, Noi Bai International Airport
My sis had chicken 2 pieces combos.

Noi Bai International Airport @ Hanoi
After checking in, I saw that Marou chocolate is more expensive and other souvenirs are also very expensive. They all sell in USD. My advice is to buy everything you want at the Old Quarter as they are the most affordable. By the way, there is plenty of drinking water near the airport toilets.

Our AirAsia flight arrived a bit late but we touchdown in Sepang earlier by a few minutes. Our parents came and fetch us but too bad we spent almost an hour in the duty-free area. Sorry! But we got chocolates for you.

That’s it for my Hanoi trip. It took me a very long time to write all this because I was procrastinating like crazy. All in all, Hanoi was really wonderful. I wish I had stayed longer. I knew I wanted to stay longer but my sis insisted shorter duration. Before coming to Hanoi, I had this dark vibes circulating in my mind based on the photos I saw online of the Old Quarter. But what do you know? It was all overthinking. I felt good in Hanoi, I sensed positive energies at all the places I visited such as Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Old Quarter and French Quarter except for Đồng Xuân Market. I love the differences between the Old Quarter and French Quarter and their charms. I also love how alive the places are, the honking, the traffic, the people, everything. Although it felt unorganized, messy and unordered, it felt peaceful. That’s the most fascinating thing about Hanoi. We definitely saw a lot of Korean tourists there. I also became smarter and rely more on a mobile phone rather than printed paper for travel info. Despite not paying for the accommodation, I still spent nearly 1k. What? It’s the airfare as I didn’t buy much and our meals are mostly affordable meals.

Until next time Hanoi!

My complete 2019 Hanoi travelogue:
Hanoi Day 1: AirAsia, Emerald Waters Hotel Trendy & Vinmart
Hanoi Day 2: Hoàn Kiếm Lake, French Quarter & Vinmart Again!
Hanoi Day 3 & 4: Old Quarter, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Đồng Xuân Market & Goodbye

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  • Reply Tekkaus August 28, 2020 at 8:18 am

    The wooden baking moulds look beautiful and intricate.

    • Reply Che-Cheh August 28, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Tekkaus, indeed they are. Most of the patterns cannot be found here.

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