Hanoi is the starting point of quite a few overseas travellers who have selected a holiday in Vietnam. It is the capital of Vietnam that was unified at the end of the Vietnam War. That was four decades ago now, and independencefrom French colonial masters was two decades before that. The French made an impact on the region and those passing through Hanoi during a Vietnam travel package will note a city where traditional Vietnamese buildings blend with French colonial architecture. There are also typically wide boulevards in the City as well as narrow streets where vendors and traders ply their trade. Something else that the French left was a love of coffee.
In Hanoi, there are cafes where locals and visitors can relax and enjoy a coffee. While modern Cappuccino is on offer, so is the coffee drunk in Hanoi for many years. If you want to copy the locals, your choice should be a dark, caffeinated brew bought from one of the small places. Many add sweet milk and sugar and walk along before work with coffee in one hand and newspaper in the other. Tourists do not have to go to the office but it is surely worth starting the day early because Hanoi has so much to offer, see and do.
The surroundings are unimportant to Hanoians; it is the quality of the coffee that matters. Old cafes remain popular, many not in the wide boulevards but in the narrow streets of the old part of the city. Certainly, the Pho Co Quarter which is stylish attracts office workers and the young like noise and luxury but these places don’t offer the real culture of Hanoi.
One of the attractions of Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake and streets around the Lake are popular with locals wanting a relaxing coffee, especially after a hard day at work or at weekends. Hanoi is a bustling city but there are times of the day when the pace of life slows and the traffic appears a little less frantic. That’s the time for a coffee in true French style.
Every Vietnam tour package offers some free time and a good Hanoi travel guide will give advice on what to do in that time. Shopping is popular but so are the coffee shops. If you want some recommendations try Nang, 6 Hang Bac, Nhan, 39D1 Hang Hanh or Lam at 60,91 Nguyen Huu Huan which attracts local poets and thespians. You will find tables with glasses of black coffee or iced coffee. Sit and enjoy the environment while you gossip with fellow travellers.
Take Hang Hanh near the Lake. The street is full of traditional cafes and busy with young Hanoians. If you are looking for something more subdued then Giang is an idea, even if it is in a busy tourist street. Quynh has bamboo furniture and its wall decoration includes pistols, trumpets and farm implements. Enjoy your coffee with French background music adding to the atmosphere.
And a final suggestion! Some French-style villas include cafes offering great coffee. It’s your choice!
Read more: street food in Hanoi