Ha Noi

10 days was just way too long to be away from this blog. I dunno why but my connection at the hotel was problematic. I could get on the site but could not go to the Dashboard or create a new post. I just kept getting cut off. Heniweis, didn’t have much to blog about since …

It’s time to ‘fess up…

My name is Bards and I’m a slacker. My last run before my 5K today was last Nov19 and it was only 5K.

No runs but I have been walking and walking. Average of 3 hours a day. Walking out of necessity because that’s the best way to explore a city. Lots of walking too because I kept on getting lost. Plus, there is that mountain I climbed last Sunday.

Got back from NY last Nov 15 and two days later I flew to Ha Noi for work. When I landed in Ha Noi, I have to admit that I was still a bit dazed and confused. No time for jetlag though. Worked required me to hit the ground running. Plus there were just too many new things to see, taste and try.

When I wasn’t working, I was playing tourist. Can we just please count the kms I walked at cross training so I won’t feel so guilty?


Ha Noi has a lot of tourist attractions within the city itself.  Even the old and almost rundown part of the city has interesting architecture. All new to me and very exciting. Finding the pretty. This was my motto. Sure Ha Noi is noisy, polluted and filthy but then you look up and around, you guaranteed to see something pretty.

Their houses are tall and narrow. Run down, yes, buy you can still feel the echo of its former glory. Or maybe I just inhaled too much motorbike fumes. Seriously, I find their old buildings and its intricate details very fascinating.
Here are the my favorite places in Ha Noi : 1. Temple of Literature:Very calming oasis in the middle of the city. This is the site of Viet Nam's first university. 2. Ancient House at Ma May St. A fully restored traditional house that gives visitors a glimpse of how things were before. 3. Mai Gallery: Great place to have an overview of Vietnamese modern art. Super like. It made me want to pick my brushes again. 4. Ngoc Son Temple: Easily accessible and located in the Hoan Kiem Lake. If you only have limited time (patience, desire and energy) to visit one temple then this is it. I loved their red temple doors.
Sunset over at West Lake. I always make sure that Im back in my room before sunset so I could watch it.

TASTE! Ah street food. Their streets are teeming with street food. Noodles, bbq, snails, breads, seafood and other stuff I cannot identify. No need to stick to tusok-tusok the fishball.  The tricky part is figuring out what each street resto is serving, what to order and how to make them understand what you want to eat. The easiest way to go about it is of course to go with a local. Without a local to guide you, the only option is to look at what the people beside you are eating and order the same thing.

This is my first attempt at eating streetfood in Ha Noi. After searching for the cleanest looking one. I plopped down on one of the plastic chairs and pointed. They of course started talking in Vietnamese. Busted! Foreigner.
Cà phê sữa đá or Iced coffee with milk. You have to have one. They use condensed milk and it makes the whole thing creamy and sweet.
Beer! Ha Noi Beer of course is a given. You have to taste their local brew. Also, spread around the city are microbreweries and you have to try at least one. I joined a group for a microbrewery tour and enjoyed it. The group was comprised mainly of two kinds of people: those who like to brew and those who like to drink. 😀

A great guide of anything and everything Ha Noi for foreigners is The New Hanoian. It’s Hanoi’s community produced local expat guide. I always used this site when I needed to decide on where we would eat. Great and accurate restaurant reviews.


If you think motorbike riders in Manila are crazy. You will need to reevaluate things when you get to Ha Noi. I swear I saw a lady texting while on her scooter. Crossing the street is always tricky when you are surrounded by motorbikes but somehow I survived. I crossed and trusted that they will not hit me. It kinda worked.

Riding a motorbike 😀 I did. I could not take a picture though because I was hanging on for my dear life. My friend Nhi-ha took me for a spin and it was scary at first but I enjoyed it. Even if I had one eye closed most of the time, you have to give me credit for not shrieking. Not once. 😀 Silent screams hahaha.

Climbing a mountain. I never planned to but it happened. I joined a group to visit a temple and somehow we ended up in search for this big statue on top of a hill. A hill,okay. A mountain, hell no! But we kept on climbing. It would have been crazy to turn back after we have climbed sooooo far already. And the punch line of this episode…when we reached the top instead of a statue we found a sign saying that the the ground breaking was sometime January 2008. Yup, it was still under construction. One million and one steps and not a single soul was able to tell us that at the top of the mountain we will find nothing. This truly was a case of …. *hit me with some Miley*Ain’t about how fast I get there/Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side/It’s the climb

went up the mountain with these folks. our organiser - the one in pointy shoes. so i think we were not really meant to go climbing. but we did.

This is the statue that we would have seen. Had we climbed the Soc Son mountain in 2010! They just started casting the statue last Oct 26, 2009.

Running. So Ha Noi was fun but I was only able to run once. Partly because it was cold but largely because I’m a slacker. But honestly, I needed a break. I realised that I have been training non-stop since the last week of Dec2008. The break did my mental game a lot of good. It absolutely depleted my endurance and speed but at least I am excited to train again.

See you guys on the road. I’m back!



5 thoughts on “Ha Noi

  1. very nice post and pictures! so, that’s the proper way to write Ha Noi..two words, not one! it was nice seeing you after the NB run..welcome back!
    yup. i was surprised too. excited to run the Rizal Day Race na. 😀

  2. Daapt talaga sumama na lang ako. Hey check your last paragraph, you said you’ve been training since dec2009. I figured parang matagal ka nang tumatakbo para dec 2009 lang training mo

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