VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

Ha Noi

History - Orientation - Information - Dangers Annoyances - Sights - Activities - Walking Tour - Courses - Ha Noi For Childern - Tour - Festivals Events - Sleeping - Eating - Drinking - Entertainment - Shopping - Getting There Away - Getting Around - Around Ha Noi - Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum - Perfume Pagoda - Handicraft Villages - Thay Tay Phuong Pagoadas - Ba Vi National Park - Co Loa Citadel - Tam Dao Hill Station.

DRINKING

Bars
There is a drink for all seasons in Hanoi, with sophisticated bars, congenial pubs and grungy clubs. Don't forget to warm up with sonic quality time drinking bin hoi, the- world’s cheapest beer (see the boxed text, fur more). Busy Bao Khanh has a cool choice of bars and is a good starting or finishing point for a bar crawl. Bear in mind that the fun police supervise a fairly strict curfew of midnight during the week and lam at the weekend, which takes the edge off the nightlife. However, there are some late-night lock-ins; read on for the is side story.
ourpick Le Pub (tell: 926 2104,25 Pho Hang, Be) The name says it all: the attitude of a Brit-ish pub with the atmosphere of a continental bar. It's rapidly earning a name for itself as a friendly place to drink and draws both expats and tourists. Late-night lock-ins have been known.
Quan Bia Minh (tell: 934 5233; 7A Pho Dinh Liet) Bottled beer doesn't come much cheaper than this, a buzzing backpacker favourite with a blissful balcony Icrrace overlooking Pinh Liet.
Red Beer (tell: 8260247;97PhoMaMay)Micro-breweries, sort of upmarket bia hoi places, are taking off in Hanoi and this was one of'ne first. There are -several flavours of home brew for those who like to experiment.
ourpick Gambrinus (tell: 935 1114; 198 Pho Tran Quang Khai) Czech beer lovers will be rubbing their hands in glee. Gainbrinus, that shy and retiring Czech beer, even has a home here. it's a vast, impressive brauhaus with shiny vats of freshly brewed Czech beer. Very popular with the Vietnamese.
Legends Beer (tell: 5571277; 109 Pho Nguyen Tuan) Every beer comes with free views of Hoan Kiem Lake. The 2nd-floor balcony is a good place to watch the traffic below and homebrews include an excellent weiss (white) beer.
ourpickHighway 4 (tell:926 0639; 5 Pho Hang Tre) Head here to discover the mystical, medicinal, not to mention intoxicating qualities of Vietnamese rice wine (xeo). Take it straight, fruity or 'five times a night' - the pos-sibilities are endless. A popular rallying point for members of Hanoi's infamous Minsk Club , the bar downstairs is for drinkers and there's a rooftop terrace for diners. For more on its food.
Bar Le Maquis (tell: 928 2618; 2A Pho Ta Hien) Small but perfectly formed, this little bar doesn't need a crowd to make it feel busy. Like many of the bars around Ta Hien, it stays open later than most.
Dragonfly (15 Pho Hang Buom) Just around the corner from Le Maquis, Dragonfly has an inviting upstairs lounge and DJs rumble on into the night. One of the latest spots in the Old Quarter.
Hnnegan's Irish Pub (tell: 828 9065; 16A Pho Duong Thanh) Every city has an Irish pub these days and Hanoi is not to be left out. It's a popular sports bar for the weekend games.
Polite Pub (tell:825 0959; 5 Pho Bao Khanh) Don't forget your manners at this place, unless your favourite English Premier League team is 3-0 down at half-time. There is always a crowd here and the drinks are pretty reasonable.
6C Pub (tell:825 0499; 7 Pho Bao Khanh) Bars come in and out of fashion in Hanoi, and has swung right back into favour with Hanoi residents. There’s a popular pool table and very friendly staff.
Amazon Bar ( tell: 928 7338; 10 Pho Bao Khanh) Just over the road and reinforcing Bao Khanh reputation as a drinkers' den, Amazon has Russian (vodka and Red Bull 25,000d), London (gin and tonic 25,000d) and other promo) nights that keep pulling the crowds.
Funky Monkey (tell: 928 6113; 15B Pho Hang Hanh) An extension of the Bao Khanh beat, the action regularly spills over on to the darke floor at this hip bar-club. Not the place to come for a quiet conversation.
Toilet Pub (tell: 928 7338; 10 Pho Bao Khanh) 11 you're squeamish about bathroom talk, avoid this place. Spirits are displayed in urinals and toilets are everywhere. Trendy ay hell with rich Vietnamese, drinks are expensive (50,000d a beer).
Solace (tell: 932 3244; Song Hong, Phuc lin district) Floating in the Song Hong, many a drinker has found their night floats by here as well. A late-night spot, it doesn't really warm up until after midnight and bobs along until daybreak.
Met Pub ( tell: 826 6919; Sofitel Metropole Hotel 15 Pho Ngo Quyen) For a more refined atmosphere, check out the bar at the Sofitei Metropole Hotel. The Met is an atmospheric pub with fine food and a good beer selection, but it's also expensive unless you hit the happy hour (5pm to 7pm).
My Way (60 P Ly Thai To) This trendy new lounge bar offers a grand lour of world beers, including the best of Bel¬gian, German and, of course, Vietnamese. Some come by the keg, but aren't cheap.
Coffee Shops
Thuy Ta Cafe (tell:828 8148; 1 Pho Le Thai To; pastries 10,000d; 6am-11pm) One of the most memorable settings in all of Hanoi for a morning coffee, Thuy Ta's shady garden is smack-bang on the northern shore of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Hapro (Pho Le Thai Tho) At the opposite end of Hoan Kiem Lake, this cafe has a prime patio for drinks and is an ideal place to watch the world go by on a warm day. There is a lively, packed and chaotic cluster of coffee shops on the Old Quarter's Pho Hang Hanh; relax on one of the upstairs balconies and watch the bustle below on one of Hanoi's most happening streets.
BIA AHOY!
‘Tram plan tram!’Remember these words well as over Vietnam, glasses of bia hoi are raised and emptied, cries of '100%' or bottoms up’ echo around the table. Bia hoi (beer) is Vietnam's very own draught beer or microbrew. This refreshing, light-bodied pilsener was first introduced to Vietnam by the Czechs. Decades later bia hoi is still brewed and delivered daily to drinking establishments throughout Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Hanoi and all points between. Brewed without preservatives, it is meant to be enjoyed immediately.And enjoyed it is! Many tourists and expats have never heard of this nectar but that's their loss, especially given it costs as little as 2000d a glass. if you think you're ready to try bia hoi, be prepared - drinking with the pros is not for the meek. A Western face is a bit unusual at any bio hoi establishment and inevitably attracts curious attention from fellow patrons. Raising your glass in toast more often than not remits in an invitation to join a group. Hanoi is the bia hoi capita! of Vietnam and there are microbars on almost every street corner. Hitting the Old Quarter for a bia hoi craw" is a brilliant way to get beneath the skin of the capital put US$10 in your pocket and you will bo able to afford nearly 100 beers, so you'll soon make lots of friends. One of the best places to sample this bargain beer is 'bia hoi junction' in the heart of the Old Quarter where Pho Ta Hien meets Pho Luong Ngoc Quyen. Here are three bustling bia hoi places occupying different corners, all packed with backpackers and locals every night and knocking out the ale. Don't forget that most bia hoi also serve delicious and inexpensive food. An alternative bia hoi junction that is more local in flavour is where Pho Nha Hoa meet Pho Duong Thanh on the western edge of the Old Quarter. Bia Hoi Ha Noi ( 2 Pho Duong Thanh), does the best spare ribs in town for a little something to go with the beer. For the best quality bia hoi. try Bia Hoi Viet Ha ( Pho Hang Bai), which is well loved by Hanoi insiders, as it has the biggest chillers in town. It recently relocated to a much bigger premises on Hang Bai. but it's still hard to get a table. Other good spots to sample the brew include Bia Hoi 68 Hang Quat ( Pho Hang Quat), which we have been drinking at for a decade now, and Nha Hang Lan Chin (2 Pho Trang Tien), one of the most popular local lunch spots in town.
GAY & LESBIAN HANOI
By Vietnam's standards there s a !ive»y yay scene in Hanoi, but there arc few, if any, gay venue-s just some places that are more gay-friendly than others. There b a bustling cruising area along Pho Bao Khanh. plus nearby Hoan Kiem Lake, although gay males should watch out for an extor tion scam Jinked to the latter. Official attitudes are still fairly conservative and Hanoi is home to these orricia! altitudes. Police raids in the name of 'socia( reform' aren't unknown and that tends to ensure gays and lesbians keep a low profile. Funky Monkey (opposite) is a lively bar-cum-ctub that turns up thh volume at weekends, while late-night bars Apocalypse Now and Solace (opposite) both attract a small gay crowd.