Hanoi (Vietnam) First Impressions. Get to know all about it!

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Hello everyone!
Im back today with another Travel/Lifestyle post, this one’s all about my first impressions of Hanoi Vietnam.

Travel:

Think of the busiest place you know, Westfield shopping centre, being at the front of your favourite festival, leaving the stadium after the match finishes. There, Hanoi. Put all those people on bikes and take away most of the rules when it comes to driving and you can fully understand how it feels to be on a scooter in the middle of the Old Quarter. It is mayhem to a new driver. Everyone needs to get somewhere and an inch of space is the perfect opportunity for someone to sneak by you and disappear up the road. I think the only way i can describe how it feels to be on a bike in the middle of Hanoi is, it’s like being in a real life Crash Bandicoot game, anyone could swerve around and in front of you at any minute, there may be someones cardigan dropped ahead that you need to swerve from and U-turns are a given here, so watch out for those bikes coming towards you down that ‘one way’ street.
That being said, after you get used to the mindset, being a driver in Hanoi is actually quite enjoyable. It’s always fascinating to see new places, as you drive around. There’s a sense of accomplishment too, like YEAH, i CAN do it. I CAN drive here!

Food:

Oh my, now the food here. Hanoi is overwhelmed with smells. Both good and bad but find a good place and the food is just incredible!
We have eaten at so many different places here in Hanoi both traditional and Western. Moving to Hanoi i was originally very nervous about what i would find to eat. This is because i am somewhat  picky with food to start with. I don’t eat red meat, i barely like any spices, i don’t really like dressings or sauces. I’m a foodies worst nightmare. So you can imagine when i see ‘mixed meat’ on the menu i am less than excited to know what they class as mixed meat, however I’m currently trying to live with a ‘well you only live once’ outlook on life, so you know what i ordered? That mixed meat rice. It was delicious. I did only notice tofu and chicken in it (which was lucky) but it was truly yummy. Naomi has taken to eating Pho at any opportunity and for only 30,000vnd a bowl (that’s £1.09) it’s more than incredible value.
One day after work we went to a Vietnamese place with work friends and i suddenly realised i am actually no where neat as adventurous as i first thought. As they brought out Goat, baby birds, stingray and other impressive and petrifying foods. I felt myself coward back to the comfort of my tiger beer and rice paper rolls. I tried some of the sting ray and i must say it was tasty!

Sights:

Hanoi is rich in culture. It’s such a beautiful place to explore. I love our journey to work because we travel about half an hour away from our little Tay Ho bubble and in that journey i notice new sights every trip. If you have a bike take some time to go explore. There’s so many wonderful places to seek out. Including but not limited to the museums. Within our first week in Hanoi we had done three museums, in particular i enjoyed the Women’s Museum. Learning about the history of the Vietnamese housewife, the mother, the dress makers and the women who served in the Army. I felt incredibly emotional come the end of the museum. I really recommend going to this museum when you are in Hanoi.
I must also point out one of my favourite ‘sites’ to enjoy en route to work are other people’s bikes! It’s amazing how much people load onto two wheels.

I wanted to share with you some of my other favourite sights below;

The Districts:

Within Hanoi the city is broken down into smaller chunks, these chunks are known as districts. The most popular two you may know about before arriving at The Old Quarter and Tay Ho. The old quarter is what you want to explore if you’re travelling here. The old quarter is home to Lake Hoan Kiem aka ‘lake of the returned sword’.

Here is where you can sit and watch the traffic zoom around whilst having a beer up on the rooftops. You can wander for hours down the different themed streets that are adjacent to Hoan Kiem. You can watch the  water puppet theatre shows, get your hands on the best kinds of souvenirs and find some incredible places to eat. Perhaps what I love the most about the Old Quarter is the people, Vietnamese run businesses are the only kind here. Very traditional.

Tay ho on the other hand is quite the opposite. It’s known as the bubble here because of the ability to live in Hanoi without leaving Tay Ho. Here is home to most of the expats. It’s full of teachers, i say this as i too a new teacher now live amongst all my colleagues here in the Tay Ho bubble. Around here you are likely to hear more American, English, and South African accents than anything else. Unless you meet our door man, he speaks no english and our conversations are beautiful engagements of us nodding and pretending to understand each other. Tay ho has some amazing bakeries, inspired by the french, there’s a few places i have come to love along To Ngoc Van.

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I could honestly go on forever about how i feel living in Hanoi but i will leave you here for now. If you would like to hear more about my life here, do leave a comment and don’t forget to follow me on Youtube! because that’s a thing I’m doing now.

Thanks for reading

Danielle Jade.

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How to survive moving to a new place in 5 steps! 

Ok hello again everyone!

I’ve just recently moved to Hanoi and don’t get me wrong as amazing as it feels now…adjusting was harder than I imagined it was going to be. 

That’s why I’m here to give you all an insight to how I’ve dealt with moving and share some tips on how to make it easier for all of you with my 5 little hints! 

  1. Don’t hide your emotions. Now is not the time to put on a brave face. Being emotional does not make you vulnerable, being emotional makes you a person. You have to be prepared to not find everything easy right now. Moving to a new place is going to send your emotions crazy, and be prepared these emotions will hit you very easily every, day, hour,minute and if you’re like me…second.You are taking yourself away from your natural habitat, stripping yourself of your comforts and jumping into a whole new lifestyle so if you want to go ahead and cry. CRY.  Let it out- it’s justified.
  2. Take it one day at a time. STOP, thinking about 6 months from now because i will guarantee your immediate emotions and feelings to your new surroundings are going to change six months down the line. As humans we can instantly pick up and focus on the negatives so you know what, go ahead list all the things you don’t like about this new place! It smells weird, say it. It sounds different, say it. You don’t speak the language, say it. Get it out. Now think, what did you expect?. Moving to a new place is going to bring different smells,sounds & sights. Now look around, what do you like? What has made you smile, what has made you curious, what has made you feel comfortable? Hold on to those thoughts! Keep them. These are your new comforts.
  3. Explore. Go out, go look around. Go and say hello to some people, go and indulge in the culture, go and walk around where the locals are. Find areas you like, parks, lakes, rivers, museums, bars, restaurants. Explore different locations, different areas at different times of the day. Find a place that you feel comfortable in, and settle there for a while. This will instantly put you at ease, setting up at a hostel, hotel or apartment you can see yourself enjoying will make a world of difference. This is where you will retreat to. This is your sanctuary so make sure you’re comfortable.
  4. Language. If you’re moving to a new county then you should try and learn some of the basic phrases used there. You’re going to feel incredibly small landing in a country that is speaking a different language, so learn thank-you, learn hello, learn phrases that show gratitude. This will make you look polite and also like you are at least attempting to fit in in your new place. Something that will be highly respected by the locals. The last thing you want is to look like you have moved to a new country with an idea that the world owes you something. Universally, manners cost nothing. 
  5. Travel. Now immediately stop stressing because google maps has got us all sorted here. So the age old, i don’t know where i’m going, is a thing of the past. You can literally get from A-B with ease now, it’s all right there. Another incredible app (but limited to certain places) is Citymapper, now i even used to use this in my home country, from bus times, to tube times, to walking directions, ordering an uber and fin be out in real time how long it takes to get from place to place city mapper has you covered. Uber again is a key app to have downloaded! It really does work globally! Here in Vietnam you can get uber bike, you will literally be on the back of someone’s motorbike. 

I hope this helps you all! I think it has really helped me in the long run.
Stay beautiful, 

Danielle Jade x 

All the way to the USA ✈️🇺🇸

Hello everyone, fancy this, me actually having time to sit down and write. It’s a miracle. Im back!

Now if you don’t already follow me on Instagram, you may or may not know i went to the USA for just over two weeks.

I recently went to visit my Aunt and the family in San Diego, however we did pitstop at a few places along the way including, LA & Vegas BABY!

So Lets begin with : Los Angeles.

Hop on the plane from Manchester, fast forward 11hours (9 of which took my whole mental and physical will power and restraint not to pull the hair of the woman who’s messy bun, was messing all over my little head seat TV screen) and we finally touched down in sunny LA! 

‘You know, LA traffic where the city is slow’  and boy oh boy is the city  slow. The traffic is out of control here. 

Thankfully we had the worlds most optimistic uber driver playing the role of our own personal tour guide as we coasted towards our hotel, The Radisson Midtown USC.

It was around 4pm once we managed to get to our hotel, get changed and freshen up. So we decided why waste time? Lets go…Hollywood Blvd.


We walked up and down the street, hopping over peoples names and keeping an eye out for our favourites, enjoying the beautiful heat.
After a while we (very tiredly)  decided to take a ride on a tour of the city bus. You know the ones, they drive you around and point out everything there is to know about the city! We went up the hills to see the Hollywood sign and look out over the city. This was absolutely beautiful! The view was outstanding and we managed to get there before sunset.


As the sun began to set we started winding back down the hills and were pointed towards many different (mainly dead) celebrities houses. Perhaps my favourite moment was when we were literally showed a gate. yep, a famous persons gate. Now had we been more alert we could/should have found this tour interesting but instead we found ourselves laughing at the whole experience.
What can i say? It was one gate too many for us.
After exploring more of the city, getting to see the Chinese Theatre and the city at night. We decided, it’s time to head home.
Also i don’t know if you are aware but there are so many homeless people in LA, and as soon as the sun goes down, the city changes. There is a weird vibe around Hollywood and the atmosphere is less than glamorous. Fun fact: Cat calling is still a thing in LA, only here it tends to begin or end with some ‘white girl’ comment. Fantastic.

Heading back to the hotel, all i could think about is how much i wanted pizza. So you better believe it, i ordered some pizza. Well, by some pizza i mean, THE WORLDS LARGEST PIZZA. EVER. I literally woke Naomi up to eat some pizza with me as i felt bad by how much i would have left.

DAY TWO.

Up bright exceptionally early, we watched the sunrise over the city as our body clocks laughed at what little sleep we had. Choosing not to dwell we went for a walk around USC, grabbed some lunch and my favourite food : FRO-YO. This place challenged all Fro-Yo places. SO MANY FLAVOURS.  I had a coconut cheesecake flavour pot with different fruits on top.

As we wandered around midtown we became very aware we were in an academic area of LA. The pavement was covered with students walking to and from classes, young cool kids hopping on and off their bikes and the streets were beautiful here, big palm trees aligning the roads.


Oh and how LA is this? They were literally filming a movie on campus that day!

As the afternoon got closer as did our deadline to make it to the train station because we were about to hop onboard the Pacific Surfliner to Oceanside – San Diego where we would drop our cases before setting off to LAS VEGAS!


Stay tuned to hear all about our VEGAS adventure…coming up next.
Thanks for reading Danielle Jade x