I love traveling somewhere new, but there’s something that I’m starting to think may actually be even better– traveling somewhere you’ve already fallen for before.
We did a repeat visit to El Nido earlier this year (see posts 1, 2, 3, and 4 on that trip) after having visited for the first time in 2014. Peter and I also decided to go to Hanoi for a second time this year to spend our Christmas holiday.
It’s no secret that Peter loves Hanoi (he’s been 7 times now!), but I have to admit that I too have grown to love Hanoi– especially with Peter as my driver and navigator.
Since this wasn’t our first time in the city, we were able to skip the sight seeing and spend our time at our favorite locations while also wandering through the Old Quarter to find new special places. We were never rushed and felt immediately comfortable seeing Hanoi’s familiar, hectic streets so I’m extra excited to share our 48 hours in Hanoi with you.
48 Hours in Hanoi
Where to Stay
The hotel Peter and I had stayed with in April was fully booked so we booked our stay through Agoda at Hanoi Meracus Hotel 2
Hanoi Meracus Hotel 2 (More Details and Booking Here)
32 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem
Hoan Kiem District
The hotel was located conveniently in the Old Quarter and was very clean and accommodating. We were upgraded to a top floor suite with a nice view. When we first arrived, our air conditioner was dripping. After we alerted the staff they were quickly able to remedy the issue and have our room cleaned while we were out for Christmas Eve dinner.
As compensation, the hotel offered us a free transfer to the train station the following day. Mr. Nguyen even followed us on his motorbike, picked up our train tickets, and brought our luggage directly to our train cabin. We were so impressed considering how far above and beyond the staff at the hotel went to make our stay great.
What to Eat
We feasted on pho for 4 out of our 6 meals in Hanoi. I wrote about this restaurant in length here but just trust me–it’s amazing.
Pho Gia Truyen (aka Pho 49 Bat Dan)
49 Bat Dan | Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam
I like my serving (one bowl is 50000 VND) with a side breadsticks (5000 VND), chili peppers, and a spoonful each of chili sauce and vinegar.
Peter likes his with all of the above plus an egg (trứng gà 5000 VND)
Our lunch at Banh Mi 25 was another return visit from our last trip and it was even better than I remember it being before. We both had the BBQ pork banh mi with everything on it + we added cheese. Peter gobbled down two sandwiches, as usual.
Banh Mi 25
25 Hang Ca Street, Hoan Kiem District
What to Drink
Again we headed back to three of our favorite coffee shops. The streets in Hanoi are full of them and they are the perfect place to have a break, relax, and do some people watching.
Cộng cà phê
Several locations in Hanoi
Try the iced coffee with coconut milk. I couldn’t help but have 2 of these in one sitting.
18 Nhà Thờ, Hàng Trống, Hà Nội, Vietnam
A beautiful cafe if you want to stop somewhere a bit more upscale (but not expensive by any means) conveniently located near the Hanoi Cathedral. The coffees and tea sets are lovely.
For less than US$1.50 you can get a cold glass of freshly brewed beer. When I say freshly brewed, I mean as in brewed that day. There are many different bia hoi locations around the Hanoi and we just happened to stumble upon the one below.
Bia Hơi Hà Nội – Hàng Đồng
14 Hàng Đồng
This location had a very casual and lively atmosphere even though it was before noon. Groups of local men (I only saw maybe 2 women join in while we were there) sat chatting, snacking and drinking at the usual small plastic chairs and tables. We were the only non-Vietnamese patrons.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you book your travels using the Agoda links. I use Agoda regularly for my travels to find the best rate for my hotel stays so I know you’ll be in good hands using their booking platform.