Our travelers are curious life-long travelers, who want to truly experience the destination and not just seeing it. They embrace opportunities to immerse themselves in local culture, step out of their comfort zones for a discovery, and go off the beaten path to learn about the destination while still accommodate in comfort at night.  Incense Travel has been crafting luxury tailor-made journeys exclusively for our travelers, who will get to engage with a local people throughout each adventure.


Typical experiences include a local train ride, city’s back streets or village walks, visiting a local home, shopping at local markets, meeting with a veteran, chatting with children at their schools, talks with artists and special-interest lecturers, tour with historians, and home-hosted meals with a local family.



In this article, I would like to introduce our “a day in the life of a Hanoian” experience, which shows you the hidden charms and the soul of Hanoi - one of the most hustle and bustle cities in Vietnam. Especially, as residents of the destination you are exploring, Incense Travel’s tour guide provides the first hand insights that only a local can. They will make the history, culture, and traditions of his or her homeland come alive for you.


Start a day in the life of a Hanoian at a “standing newspaper”, which reflects the soul of Hanoi in the old days when most local people could not afford a newspaper, and so standing at a public hanged-on newspaper was the only way to get the news. Then follow your guide to a little coffee shop on a back street to taste “ca phe sua da” (iced condensed milk coffee), and take in the sounds and smells of the daily life in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.


Then head to Gioi market, a corner in the center of Hanoi where a full range of trade goods are sold, from nails to batteries to motors and other electronic items. This amazing market was established in 1955, when many people were evacuating to the south of Vietnam and needed to sell the family goods that they could not take with them. At some periods, if something was stolen from you (such as the spare parts of motorcycles and cars, all electric goods), you could go to this market to repurchase the item that you had just lost.




Continue your exploration by driving to a local train station to catch a train back to the city center, crossing the Red River on a French-built bridge. The short ride on the local train will give you an idea of the local train in Vietnam, and help you learn how most Vietnamese get to the cities from their homelands.


Get off the train and follow your guide for a walk along the train track that runs through Hanoi, engaging with people who live along the train track. You will see some local women drinking tea on the track while their chickens are looking for food on the track, so expect the unexpected on the walks.




Afterwards, visit a local home in the Old Quarter and talk to our host to learn about their life. To be welcomed into a local home is an incredible gift, the gift that they have received many times through our travels. That is what Incense Travel is striving to share with you on every journey you take with us.


Our “a day in the life of Hanoian” combines nicely with Hanoi city tour, we can tailor a complete itinerary according to your travel taste. Contact our travel experts to include Halong Bay and Sapa into your Vietnam tour, or build your own itinerary.



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