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The Heart of Hanoi

The Heart of Hanoi

Hanoi, Vietnam is one of my favorite cities. Originally colonized by the French, Hanoi’s landscaping and architecture reflects a strong Parisian influence. Historic landmarks, such as the Hanoi Opera House and the St. Joseph’s Cathedral, highlight Hanoi’s exquisite blend of Parisian and Vietnamese culture. Vespas and motor scooters take up the streets. In addition, small tables and chairs are inside and outside the restaurants, where people enjoy the famous Vietnamese coffee and pho.

Hanoi Architecture

Our Airbnb apartment was located in the heart of Hanoi, and there, we were fully immersed in the culture of the Vietnamese people. Our first morning, we tried the Vietnamese coffee, which was incredible: a frozen blend of Vietnamese coffee, and the best cup of coffee I have ever consumed.

©Domenica Jarvis Egg Drop Coffee.jpg

For lunch, we went to Bún Chả Hương Liên restaurant, the famous restaurant where President Obama and Anthony Bourdain dined together in 2016. This five-story restaurant is always super busy, and serves some of the best pho I have ever had. In addition to the delicious pho, the restaurant has a combo dish named after President Obama; it includes an appetizer, an entree, and a beer. The pho was served with a delicious broth and a plate of rice noodles and vegetables to mix with the broth and enjoy.

©Domenica Jarvis Bun Cha Restaurant

After lunch, we walked around Hanoi and headed over to the Hanoi Opera House. Built in 1911, the Hanoi Opera House hosts Vietnamese performances, operas, and concerts.

©Domenica Jarvis Hanoi Opera House

The Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the August Revolution Square. Surrounding the Hoan Kiem Lake are beautiful green trees and artists painting in various styles. The Hoan Kiem Lake is a peaceful area, where people can sit and enjoy the quiet, beautiful views.

Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

After our stay at the Airbnb in Hanoi, we moved to the Old Quarter, a popular tourist destination. We stayed at the Central Backpackers Hostel, where we met many other traveling tourists in their early and mid-twenties. The Central Backpackers Hostel provided accommodations for the Ha Long Bay Boat Tour and pub crawls in the evening. The Old Quarter has many restaurants, bars and clubs on every street. The dining is fairly cheap, and everything is within walking distance.


We enjoyed banh mi sandwiches at Banh Mi 25 before heading to Hanoi’s Train Street and St. Joseph’s Cathedral. On Train Street, the railroad tracks are just inches from the coffee shops and apartment buildings that line the street. St. Joseph’s Cathedral is characterized by it’s two towers and Gothic architectural design. Visitors can light candles to honor loved ones and pray in the comfort of the quiet atmosphere.

©Domenica Jarvis Hanoi Tracks Street View angle

©Domenica Jarvis Banh Mi 25 2

Hanoi has so much to offer, including delicious food and stunning landmarks that are unique to the city. Hanoi is rich in culture. The mix between of Parisian influence and the Vietnamese culture is spectacular. There are quiet areas to take in the beauty of the city, as well as a lively nightlife scene.

©Domenica Jarvis Vietnam Hanoi Night

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About The Author

Domenica Jarvis

Domenica Jarvis is a South Florida native and has a passion for travel. Her high school summers were spent at sailing camp in Cape Cod before studying abroad in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, and London. Domenica’s most recent travel adventure found her backpacking through Asia. She has a B.A. in Communications, Media, and Marketing from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She lives in Denver.

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