Monday, March 19, 2018

Hanoi Trip: What To Eat In Hanoi

Finally consolidating all the food we ate in Hanoi. Excluding the snacks and cup noodles we bought from convenience stores for supper. lolol.
Everything is within walking distance and within Old Quarter.

One thing to be careful everywhere you go is to make sure you are not being ripped off.
See what others do, when they pay, what is the actual price on menu etc.
Although the people are super friendly there (like those at our hotel), there are some who are out there to cheat tourists as well.

Also, check opening hours! Some close during mid-day. 

And it goes without saying, take care of your belongings as most of these places are along the streets.
Very convenient for snatch thieves.

Ok so here we go, in no particular order:

Pho Gia Truyen @ 49 Bat Dan Old Quarter Hanoi

Best Pho we have eaten in Hanoi. 
Must try!
Just a heads up, the queue is very long so if possible, be there early.

Opening Hours
6am-10am; 6pm-8.30pm




Bun Bo Nam Bo
67 Hang Dieu

Beef Noodles (with vermincelli)
& Pork Rolls

This place gets quite crowded during lunch/dinner time.
I think it's worth trying because it's quite good and it's one of the famous spots in Hanoi.


For this pork roll, I think it's so-so for me, not a must try.





Bo Nuong Xuan Xuan @ 47 Ma May Street

100K dong for each 1 person set of beef/pork.
Ok, this place satisfied our craving for BBQ. It was really good.
Crowded as every other famous food place in Hanoi but worth it. So worth it.
Just be prepared to feel oily and stink after the meal because there's nothing to suck the smoke that comes from every table. Haha



How it looks like from the outside.
In this photo it wasn't full but after we went in the whole place filled up quickly


Oc Luoc @ Cau Go street
I'm not a fan of snails or whatever exotic food that people normally try.
However as my bf is dying to eat, our hotel recommended us to go to Cau Go street.
They sell a lot of fresh, raw, seafood, seafood BBQ. Everything is on the same street.
We stopped at this one because only locals were eating and the price was ok.

I don't even know the store name because we literally sat on plastic chairs next to the road.
The snails were quite fresh and I did try it as well.
Not as bad as I thought how snails would taste like. lol.
 In fact when paired with lime, it tasted pretty good.







Bun Cha (Dac Kim) @ 1 Hang Manh 

Pork noodles.

Oily but pretty nice.
However, just a warning, the place also doesn't feel very clean.
So just eat and leave I guess.

It's a very popular place recommended by locals as well. 
However, be careful that there is a "fake" one nearby as well.
This store has a big red sign (refer photo below)





Egg Coffee @ Café Pho Co


There are many famous egg coffee cafes in Hanoi but we chosen Cafe Pho Co because of the roof top view. Don't have too high expectations of the view though. It's just that it's quiet and nice up there. 

 Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a stabilized photo so yea just go up and enjoy. Haha.
Oh and it's a hidden pathway to get into this cafe. 
It looks really weird at first but just follow the address you will find it. 
The entrance is hidden through a silk shop, and it's located on 4th floor.

If you have time, I would suggest you to try Giang Cafe as it's also well known.
We did not have time so we didn't try.


If you see this you are in the right place, and you should order here before going up.
It's super weird as I said. Trip Advisor has more photos. 
If you are unsure how to get to the top floor just ask the people there.


Banh Mi 25
25 Hang Ca Street | Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam


Yummy snack!
The only Banh Mi I tried in my entire life so I have to say it's the best Banh Mi.
Reviews seem good as well so I think we made a good choice. 







Pizza 4Ps
24 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội.
near St Joseph Cathedral


Ok so we said we want to have one proper meal in a proper restaurant and based on the reviews we chosen this place. They serve authentic pizza and you can see how they make them. 
Of course it's pricier than average meal you will get in Hanoi but the place is really comfortable and nice.
If you want to get away from the busy streets and chaos, this is a good place to go.

Pizza was so good so legit!




We felt so under-dressed in this fancy place because the other people who came wear in suits and dresses and we were like, wait what? 

Places which we wanted to go but ran out of time:


2. Bun Oc (Snail noodles): Bun Oc Co Hue at16 Dang Dung, Ba Dinh



Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sapa: Topas Ecolodge Stay

When I went to Topas Ecolodge and posted the photos, so many friends asked me about it on Facebook. Actually the first time I found this place was from Irina's instagram. She is a Singaporean blogger which I really like and the photos she took was breathtaking. 

Topas Ecolodge added an infinity edge pool since my visit, which made it so much more worth visiting. http://topasecolodge.com/pool/

Disclaimer: If you have motion sickness, I will not advise you to go there at all. The car ride up the mountain was seriously that bad to the point where my boyfriend and I who don't have motion sickness suffer from dizziness when we reached the top. 

How I booked this place?
I booked it from Elegance Hospitality website. They are a hotel which also acts as one of Topas's agents. The price they offered me was cheaper so I went ahead and confirmed it with them.
However looks like they don't offer this service anymore.
So please head over to http://topasecolodge.com/ to book. They offer various packages including hiking, romantic getaway etc. 

What's included?
My package includes 1 night stay + Topas Mountain Express ride from Hanoi hotel to Topas Ecolodge. Also, the van includes Wifi which is the most important thing for all of us. Haha.

Oh, and breakfast is also included. See pic below. Heh. 
Their breakfast was really good and tasty. Wide range of selection considering we are at the top of the mountain with no access to anything else. 
The usual Vietnamese cuisine like Pho was available along with western breakfast (eggs, toast, bacon, mushrooms). 

You will be staying in an entire hut and it comes with a balcony. I will caption those photos which I took right from our hut's balcony. The view is stunning in the morning. Also there are two types of huts, one with air con and one without. Please check availability early because they sell out fast. 

 Tips:
- bring snacks & cup noodles so you have something to snack on at night if you are hungry.

- be careful with the locals around Topas. They are not allowed to enter the premise but they will come at you once you step out and get onto your van. They will ask you to buy their souvenirs and if you buy from one, the rest will come after you as well. This is repeatedly being reminded on TripAdvisor so you be the judge.

- bring panadols or take motion sickness pills in case you feel sick after the car ride up the mountain.

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Hotel_Review-g311304-d585724-Reviews-Topas_Ecolodge-Sapa_Lao_Cai_Province.html





This was the lunch we ordered the next day. 
It was good but slightly pricey compared to food prices in Vietnam. 



 This larger hut on the right is the "lobby". You can chill there, hangout there, get lunch, drink tea. 
Oh and you will only get wifi there. No where else. 
I'm not sure if it's still the case now but it's good to get away from wifi in your own hut just for a day. 

  
  

In the room



 See the huts on left and right? You will be staying there.
It's pretty limited that's why I said book fast! :)



View from room's balcony.
 The next 5 photos are taken from my room.




Sunrise.

This was taken early in the morning.


Evening snack. lol. 


  


Various places to hang out in the lobby as I said.

 Came out to use wifi. hahahahah
There's nothing much to do up there but chill, hike, swim (since the new addition).
But it was nice nevertheless.




Some kungfu aura shots.


Some ahjumma shots after checking out.