In case you don’t know yet, Vietnam has been my favorite country so far. It’s the only country that I visited twice voluntarily.
And even though I didn’t get a chance to visit the capital city on my last trip a couple of months ago, this week I’ve got James and Lee of The Travel Scribes to share how far you could get in Hanoi for $10.
Would I like to come back again to Hanoi like I did Ho Chi Minh City? I don’t see why not, I’d like to explore more places in the north.
So, what could you get in Hanoi for $10 USD?
Heaps of Stuff to Do in Hanoi on Budget
When you’re thinking about budget locations, many Southeast Asian country makes the list. Known for rock-bottom prices on delicious cuisine, awesome activities and even luxurious accommodation, countries like Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia often top the table.
But it’s Vietnam, the country of a million (or ten) motorbikes that offers some of the best value for money: wallet-friendly fares for everything from a steaming bowl of pho to a trip to the history museum.
So, if you only had 10 dollars in your pocket, how would you spend it in the capital, Hanoi?
Amble around the Old Quarter
It’s probably the best way to sink your traveling teeth into the city: wandering the streets of the Old Quarter.
You’ll see lanes flanked with cafes, boutique stores but, most interesting of all, all manner of locals sweeping streets, carrying fresh produce and generally going about their day.
Check out St Joseph’s Cathedral
If you’re in the Old Quarter, you might as well make a turn at the colonial-style cathedral nestled on its outskirts: St Joseph’s.
Constructed back in the late 1800s, this amazing church was envisioned to look like Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral and that means you’ll be amazed to see this European style building within the bustling streets of this Asian metropolis.
Visit the Hanoi Hilton
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Hilton is just that: a premium hotel property.
Actually the Hanoi Hilton (actually named the Hoa Lo Prison) was a prison housing inmates under the French government. Nowadays it’s a museum full of history from the time that you definitely need to visit as part of your Hanoi itinerary.
Cost: 40, 000 VND ($1.68 USD)
Bite into a banh mi
If Vietnam is known for anything, it’s the food.
From blissful bun cha to exquisite egg coffee, you can eat your way through the city, flitting from hawker stall to high-end restaurant and trying the wares. But you can’t come to Hanoi and not have a banh mi.
These popular Vietnamese sandwiches are a local take on French baguettes, filled with fantastic flavors and toasted to perfection. It’s worth stopping off for lunch to enjoy one of these tasty toasties at one of the many dedicated banh mi cafes dotted around the city.
Cost: 80, 000 VND ($3.36 USD) gets you a bahn mi plus a milkshake or good coffee
Catch a performance at the Puppet Theatre
Full of lunch? Well take a seat at one of the most famous things to do in Hanoi: the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
Water puppetry harks back to a time when the rice paddies were flooded with water. To keep themselves entertained, inhabitants would enact puppet shows, using puppets on long rods while standing in the water.
The hour-long show will usually explore a number of local legends, using instruments like cymbals and bells to punctuate the story line.
Cost: 100, 000 VND ($4.20 USD)
Take a lap around Hoan Kiem Lake
Had enough of sitting around? Get those legs moving by taking a lap (or two) around Hoan Kiem lake.
Best visited just after dark, you’ll find the people of Hanoi exercising: dance classes, tai chi, really anything you can think of takes place on the lake at dusk. It’s also a great place to take a few snaps of the Hanoi lights, reflected off the water.
Finish it with pho
Last, but definitely not least, have you even been to Hanoi if you haven’t slurped pho? This uniquely Vietnamese soup is usually concocted from beef stock and spices with noodles and either thin slices of beef or chicken.
You can find pho on nearly every corner in Hanoi but popular joints include Cua Dong or Pho 10.
Cost: 30, 000 VND ($1.30 USD)
Contributor: James and Lee from The Travel Scribes.
James and Lee are two wandering writers, who love traveling, writing and everything social media. A married couple in their thirties, when they’re not quenching their thirst for wanderlust, they’re most often found behind their laptops, bashing out their latest blog posts.