After a couple of days ‘off the grid’ on the cruise in Ha Long Bay, we were ready to be back to Hanoi. We only had one night left to explore the city, but we were looking forward to this part of the trip since we had a ‘date’ to meet someone from a group called Hanoi Kids who will be our local guide to explore the Old Quarter area of the city in a weekend night.
I came across the Hanoi Kids when I looked for information on things to do in Hanoi during the trip planning. It’s quite a unique organization, as it’s basically a club comprised of local university students who are interested in the hospitality industry, or simply would like to share their culture and learn about other cultures through interaction with foreigners.
So if you’re coming to Hanoi and you’re interested in getting one of the Hanoi Kids to show you around the town, you just have to arrange for a guide via email. They will assign a Hanoi Kid or two who are available on the desired date and time to meet you at your hotel and take you around to places that you want to see. It’s completely a voluntary and non-profit group, so there is no cost for the tour guide, but you are expected to pay their transportation and meal cost during the tour. Since the purpose is a cultural exchange, some guests suggested that you would bring a souvenir from your home country to give to your tour guide.
I contacted the group a couple of months before our trip once we solidified the travel dates. We only had an evening when we could do the trip, but I was quite excited when I heard back from them that it would work out. We would have a Hanoi Kid come and meet us at our hotel after we get back from Ha Long Bay to help show us around the Old Quarter area. Our interest was particularly to check out the street-side food vendors, so we would like to have the Hanoi Kid to take us to places that he/she personally likes to go.
After checking in to our room at the Hanoi Serenity Hotel again, I checked my email to find out about the meeting time with the Hanoi Kid. I did get an email from the group, but unfortunately it was a cancellation of the tour, because apparently thry had been trying to contact me in the last couple of days to confirm the tour, but since we were ‘off the grid’ in Ha Long Bay, we didn’t get their message until it’s too late.
So no Hanoi Kids experience for this trip. We decided to still explore the Old Quarter Hanoi on our own anyway that night. Below is the front store display of a restaurant in Old Quarter Hanoi that we passed. It had many dishes that looked appetizing, but we were not sure if we could communicate with the store owner, so we decided to pass. I’ll try again coordinating a Hanoi Kids experience on my next visit to Hanoi.