Our 4-week itinerary through Vietnam started in Vietnam’s Capital. One crazy drive from Noi Bai airport to our hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter immediately gave us a first taste of Hanoi’s overwhelming and hectic pace. Scooters and bicycles piled up to sell their wares in the center. People on push-bikes wearing traditional nón lá hats glided serenely along.. 4 days ahead of us to explore and get to know this amazing city seemed about just the perfect amount. So here’s how we spend our 4 days of dodging motorbikes, slurping street-side noodles, exploring ancient architecture, and sipping Vietnamese coffee.


All settled in our hotel in Hanoi's Old Quarter and one nap later we were ready to explore the town! Our hotel was right in the heart of the Old Quarter which you can find north of Hoan Kiem Lake. The Old Quarter is an elaborate maze of streets, the sidewalks are taken up by parked scooters, chickens, dogs and street sellers. As the pavements are so crowed you are forced to walk in the streets most of the times. But the chaos is fun and the kids got used to it very fairly quickly. The same goes for crossing the streets in the Old Quarter, this was very scary at first, but soon we got the hang of it. The trick is just to get into traffic, keep going and don't stop! Haha, that way the traffic just seems to circle around you.


Hoan Kiem Lake is the soul of Hanoi, beautifully situated between the Old Quarter and the French Quarter and a great place to unwind. Around the lake you will find several food stalls, cafés and shops. Another must-visit right next to the lake is the Thang Long Water Puppet theatre, a unique traditional stage form in Vietnam. The show literally takes place on the water, the puppeteers immerse themselves in the water while playing the wooden puppets behind a screen. Very beautiful, the children loved it. We opted for the last show of the day, a perfect end to another busy day in Hanoi.

Another walk through the streets of the Old Quarter, their favourite pastime here. Millie can't get enough of all the fresh fruit, it tastes so much better than in Belgium ;)


The 20 or so murals are painted on sealed arches of a railway bridge. Many of them are trompe-l'oeil optical illusions, blurring the boundaries between the painting and reality. The murals begin at 27 Phùng Hưng, Hàng Mã, Hoàn Kiếm. They tell us the most charming scenes from Hanoi, and meanwhile in the train street above you can hear the train just rumbling on.
It seems not many tourists know about these murals, as we were the only ones there, so definitely something to add to your Hanoi list!

A quick stop for lunch at BANH MI 25 for a tasty Vietnamese sandwich!


The French Quarter is right next to the Old Quarter, but it feels like two completely different worlds. The French Quarter feels rather European with its beautiful colonial buildings, there are also 2 museums worth a visit! The National Museum of Vietnamese History is a must, this museum gives you an insight into life in Vietnam, an ideal history lesson for the kids, check! :)
And second, the beautiful Temple of Literature, an oasis of calm in the middle of the city and reputedly Vietnam's first university. The museum's serene walled garden is the perfect place to spend an afternoon away from the busy city.

A visit to the Temple of Literature.



Our last street dinner before taking the night train to Sapa.


See you for our next adventures in Sapa! xx