The bustling city of Hanoi is not only the capital city of Vietnam, it’s also home to some of the most interesting and unique cafés. The city has both been influenced by the Chinese and French, and you can walk around looking at the beautiful architecture surrounding the city. It’s almost impossible to be bored in Hanoi – there’s simply so much to do here and so much to see. Whether Hanoi is your starting or ending point, you should spend a few days here. Walk around in the Old Quarter, pick up a souvenir or two, absorb the atmosphere in the city and check out some of these cafés with a unique architecture in the city.
1. Cafe Duy Tri
Hanoi is filled with unique cafés and the tube houses is a good example of that. After the war, the cities started to grow fast and people wanted to move to Hanoi. For commercial reasons, people wanted to live on the main road instead of in the small alleys and therefore the ”tube houses” became the solution. Duy Tri is one of these classic tube houses in Hanoi which serves excellent homemade yoghurt and Vietnamese coffee. If you want to go where the locals go, check out this café. It’s definitely one if the more unique ones in the city, combining history with tradition. You can find Duy Tri in West Lake.
2. Hanoi House Café
This hidden gem is a bit difficult to access due to the steps you have to climb before you get to the café, but once there, you’ll find yourself in a French style one-room café. There’s even a fireplace in the café to warm you up during the cooler winter months in Hanoi. The café is the perfect place to go to relax, sit down with a book or chat with your friends after a long day of sightseeing. Try to sit outside in the balcony, it’s the best seat in the house, offering a stunning view of St. Peter’s Cathedral. The café is cozy, small, serves good drinks and the decor is one-of-a-kind. It’s a must when you visit Hanoi.
3. Loading T
Tucked inside an old French colonial villa, you find this ware house style café which serves some excellent egg café, a Vietnamese specialty. If you’re not a big fan of egg coffee though, make sure to try their mean cinnamon coffee or Before Loading T became a café, it was owned by a wealthy family who built it in 1932. These days, it serves as a meeting place for friends, family, and even for business meetings. The cozy ambiance together with the wicked architecture, makes it one of Hanoi’s most unique cafés. It’s located centrally in the Old Quarter.
Manzi serves not just as a café but also as an art gallery with rotating exhibitions, so before you take a seat, remember to take a look at all the art. The owners want to make art accessible for everyone, and even if you can’t afford bringing a piece home, you can take all te time you want to admire it. Besides art, there’s plenty of delicious drinks to purchase there such as pineapple and mint juice, classic Vietnamese coffee and fresh fruit with yoghurt. If you’re feeling for a bite to eat, they also serve sushi plates. The prices in Manzi are reasonable, the quality is high and you get a unique café experience.
Remember to apply for your Vietnam visa before you enter the country. You can either get a visa online or apply at the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. The reason why this might not be the preferred option is because if you don’t live close to the Embassy, you’ll have to travel far to get your visa. This is both time consuming and you’ll have to spend money on both transportation and for the visa. Therefore, the online option is mostly preferred by foreigners coming since you can do it at home, in a café, library, or wherever you are. As long as you have a computer and internet, you can apply for a visa online. You have two options to choose from: either you get a Visa on Arrival or an E-Visa. However, the latter is only available for certain countries so if you’re not sure if you can apply for it, contact your embassy.