If you are looking to teach English abroad or online, I would recommend the AVSE school, they offer in-class training, accommodation for 4 weeks and a teaching job by the end of the course.
For the duration of the course I had tried to optimise my time by doing as much sightseeing and activities that I could do. So let’s look at what you could do during those 4 to 6 weeks in Hanoi, Vietnam while studying for your TESOL certification.
I arrived in Hanoi before the course had started. In the heart of Hanoi I had begun my thrilling stay at New Vision Palace Hotel. As this was my first time in Vietnam and my first time solo travelling, I had adamantly researched for the most budget friendly and convenient location.
This hotel is positioned in a great location in the Old Quarter and I was ever so thrilled to find that most of the stuff that I wanted to do was a walking distance from the hotel. Throughout my stay there I had not used a taxi.
Have a sandwich at Banh Mi 25 & Huong Viet 13 Hang Ca
Banh Mi 25 kept popping up as the best banh mi place and I wasn’t going to go all the way to Vietnam and not have this delicious piece of bread. And can I say my high expectations were met, I loved every bite of this banh mi. It is delicious; crispy bread on the outside with tasty stirred fried beef and soft scrambled egg- a very satisfying tasty sandwich. To top it off the hot Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk further enriched my taste buds.
The banh mi from Huong Viet 13 is another favourite. As soon as I took the first bite of the sandwich, I could actually taste the fresh meat and greens. I love everything about this delicious banh mi and the flavourful mango smoothie. The owner is also very friendly and hospitable, I found myself coming back every time I was starving.
Ha long bay
This spectacular day started with a pick up from the hotel, which I loved because I do not know my way around Hanoi city yet, so I felt reassured to know that I wasn’t going to get lost.
Mr Cương Benjamin was the tour guide and from the beginning of the tour till the end, he was filled with energy and shared a lot of insightful information, which was delivered in a comedic manner.
One of the great parts of this trip is if you are a solo traveller or someone who just wants to make friends, it’s a great way to meet new people because inside the boat when we had our lunch we were encouraged to speak to each other.
In addition, the greatest part of the trip is when I was on the bamboo boat, as I was able to have a closer look at the caves and the magical place of Halong bay.
While walking through the caves I was able to see the remarkable and mesmerising sights of stalactites.
I find it fascinating that during the American-Vietnam War, the caves served as both a secret and bomb-proof hospital, which is why these secret caves around Ha long bay have served greatly in the Vietnamese people’s heritage.
Hanoi Opera House Theater
My village at the Opera house is one of the most phenomenal theater productions that I have ever seen. The unique combination of arts, culture, objects and acrobatics is out of this world.
Every second had consisted of action filled movements with bamboo sticks. This spectacular show was followed by an after show musical performance- near the entrance of the building.
Dong Xuan Market
If you’re looking for some affordable clothing, material or even souvenirs then you’ll be able to find some here. This huge market is always crowded and filled with so much goods, anything you need, you’ll most likely find it here.
St Joseph Cathedral
St Joseph’s Cathedral gives off a very serene and calming presence. And it doesn’t look so big from this picture, however, it is much more grand and mesmerising in person, if you love detailed and historic buildings then this place is worth visiting.
For such a beautiful building, Xofa Cafe is one of those hidden places that I have been lucky enough to find. This cafe catered to all of my needs from the delicious drinks, food, comfortable seats, wifi and it’s a 24 hour cafe! During the coursework period, I truly was a regular and I even was able to meet some amazing people during my all-nighters. I highly recommend this cafe, especially if you have work to do over night.
Grab is an app that allows you to book a motorcycle ride on demand, my only complaint was that I didn’t find it any sooner. Honestly, this form of transportation is so affordable, convenient and exciting. I liked the thrill of travelling in a motorcycle- it was the first time of course, but amazing nonetheless.
Train street Hanoi
When I first saw the Hanoi Train Street on youtube, I thought, how can a train pass through a residential street in the middle of Hanoi? However, when I saw it in person, I realised that it wasn’t as scary as it looks and it might be inconvenient for the residents but they make it work somehow. The train passes twice a day and this area is usually filled with so many tourists ready to capture the train passing through.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
This beautiful citadel is next to the military museum and flag tower, located at the heart of Hanoi. I had luckily wore some comfortable sandals the day when I had visited, I would recommend wearing comfortable footwear because there are a lot of sections to explore and read about, including objects and a bunk from the Vietnam War. From the castles to the monuments, this place truly did feel like a time capsule.
I wish that I did the food tour at the beginning of my trip rather than during my last days in Vietnam. I learnt a lot about Hanoi’s food culture and went to places that you would normally never find. During my time I did find some good food spots online, however, the places that I was introduced to during the food tour are more so for the locals.
While I loved all of the dishes that I had during the tour, my favourite one was the Bun cha. From the first bite I could tell that the food flavouring was richer, everything from the freshly made ingredients to the taste of the garlic- chilli with the meat was just so exquisite! If you want to be properly introduced to Vietnamese food and culture, I would highly recommend doing this food tour.
Hanoi’s nightlife has often been characterised as stale because it’s believed that everything closes early, however, you’ll have to be there yourself to see that’s not the case. During my trip, I found that every night was lively and there was so much to do. Whether you like to walk down the Hoan Kiem Lake area, drinking a beer while watching your favourite sport, watching a water puppet show, going to the theater or dancing the night away; Hanoi has a lot to offer.
My personal favourite was walking through Hoan Kiem rivier while watching the street performances and then heading to the Old Quarter to dance the night away while jumping from bar to bar and then from club to club.
What you couldn’t read about- you can watch!
It wouldn’t be the GLocalFeed if there wasn’t at least one video that showcases parts of my trip to Hanoi, Vietnam. A lot couldn’t be captured because of the inconvenience of carrying my camera around on the motorcycle, so some footages are filmed by my crappy phone at that time. The content is somewhat ok- nonetheless I hope you enjoy it!
I would also love to hear more about your plans, experiences and questions about Vietnam so please do share!