Not only is Hanoi good for shopping, but it also has a lot of good bars and restaurants to offer. People with straw hats carrying fresh fruits is a common sight, and the main roads are full of motorcycles with three to five passengers on them. We were also recommended a hostel that we found very pleasing called Mary V Hostel (not to be confused with Mary V hotel, which is just across the street). Here we were offered great rooms with excellent value. They also ran a travel agency on the ground floor, with a lot of interesting trips, that we would have to do next time we visit Vietnam.
When we arrived in Hanoi, we had five days to spend in Vietnam before we had to catch our flight home to Norway. Our plan was to take a two day cruise down to Halong Bay, and spend two days hiking in the Sapa mountain region, but after eating snails from a street vendor, Elise got too sick to do more traveling. We then decided to spend all days in the Vietnamese capitol. Five days was just the right amount of time to get to know the city, and do some shopping. Our plan was to just replace our worn clothes with new ones, but as we walked through the streets, we noticed that the city had a lot more to offer, so we ended up filling our bags with much more than clothes. We found some beautiful paintings that we thought would be good as gifts, and bought a lot of Vietnam style bowls and vases which were really beautiful and really, really cheap.
There was a fire right next to our hotel making the electricity disappear for a whole day