A Tuk Tuk Tour of Hanoi

Our rides were technically bicycle-powered rickshaws, but many Vietnamese people use the Thai word for rickshaw which is “tuk tuk” or just called them bike taxis. ¬†Either way, it was a pretty neat way to see the city. We needed to check out a hotel we had booked for a few nights later and the manager of our current hotel suggested we do the tuk tuk ride instead of walking. Since we had walked a great deal already and weren’t totally sure about the best route to get there, we agreed to let someone else navigate for a change.

Off we go!

Off we go!

Kamila and her driver take the lead.

Kamila and her driver take the lead.

Bal and her driver soon catch up, leaving me in the dust!

Bal and her driver soon catch up, leaving me in the dust!

The cost was cheap (around $4 CAD each, plus we each gave a $1 tip) and quite a memorable thing to do. At first it felt awkward, like some out-of-place debutante being cycled around town to visit the mayor or something of some such importance. It was clear that only tourists were doing these rickshaw rides but after a few minutes I settled into the neon “tourist” sign I imagined over my head and just enjoyed the ride.

A colourful storefront on our tour of Hanoi city.

Colourful storefronts on our tour of Hanoi city.

Fruit for sale! Bananas headed for the market.

Fruit for sale! Bananas headed for the market.

A lady selling strawberries stops to adjust her load outside of a restaurant.

A lady selling strawberries and peanuts stops to adjust her load outside of a restaurant.

Another restaurant. Outside seating spilling onto the sidewalk is common.

Another restaurant. Outside seating spilling onto the sidewalk is common.

A note of caution if you do take a rickshaw ride anywhere, keep your purse/camera straps wrapped around your arms securely in case of drive-by motorbike thieves. It happens sadly, since some tourists are so taken by the sights that they forget to be careful with their belongings. ¬†The drivers are pretty good about making sure your things are secure before you start, but don’t rely on them – stay alert!

Black market Hello Kitty merch. Looks just like the real one!

Black market Hello Kitty merch called “Vy Kitty.” Looks just like the real one!

Baskets and other woven items for sale.

Baskets and traditional Vietnamese hats for sale.

Another colourful sidewalk scene, where motorbikes and lanterns compete for space.

Another colourful sidewalk scene, where motorbikes and lanterns compete for space.

More strawberries!

More strawberries!

Saw these lovely ladies enjoying a chat and snapped their pic.

Some lovely ladies enjoying a chat.

Then these two soon after! So cute.

Saw these two soon after! So cute.

A shop owner chills out in the shade awaiting tourists to buy her wares.

A shop owner chills in the shade awaiting tourists to buy her wares.

Jack fruit being inspected by a prospective buyer. A lady on her motorbike stops to inspect the sale.

Jack fruit inspection by a prospective buyer. A lady on her motorbike stops to supervise.

A rare moment when the road is free of motorbikes and tuk tuks.

A rare moment when the road is free of traffic.

And thus concludes our mini-tour of Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi. Most of our time was spent just walking and exploring. For Hanoi in particular we were in search of cheap massages and Hanoi’s famous “egg coffee.” Both were found and we also stumbled upon some unexpected fun as well. I’ll sign off with some shots of Hanoi’s famous egg coffee shop, since photos of our massages would be weird.

Local legend has it that "Thuoc La Dien Tu" was the first restaurant to perfect the art of egg coffee.

Local legend has it that “Thuoc La Dien Tu” was the first cafe to perfect the art of making coffee with egg instead of milk.

Egg coffee, made with whipped egg instead of milk. This method became popular during harder times when milk was not so easy to get.

Egg coffee, made with whipped egg instead of milk. This method became popular during harder times when milk was not abundant in Vietnam.

Myself, Bal and Kamila at the famous Thuoc La Dien Tu restauant. Bal opted for a hot chocolate but Kamila tried an egg coffee and it was delicious!

Myself, Bal and Kamila at the famous Thuoc La Dien Tu cafe. Bal opted for a hot chocolate but Kamila and I tried an egg coffee and it was delicious!

Next week I’ll be writing about one of the ultimate highlights of our holiday – an overnight cruise ship tour on Halong Bay!

One thought on “A Tuk Tuk Tour of Hanoi

  1. HI Sweetheart:
    Nana and I sure enjoyed the pix of youse three having a ball and getting a wonderful education at the same time.
    I dunno about that egg coffee. Gross!
    We’re so happy youse enjoyed yourself.
    Keep the stuff coming and don’t take no wooden nickels neither!
    Glad youse hung on tightly to your purses. Thieves are everywhere looking for a moment when someone is distracted. Love youse, Nana and M’self xxxooooooo

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