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Two questions I need answers to, please.

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Two questions I need answers to, please.

I have decided to use the ATM in Hanoi once I check into my hotel. I will be staying at Hanoi Guesthouse at 85 Ma May Street in the Hoan Kiem District.

Can anyone suggest an ATM close to my hotel in a "safe" location like a bank or a shopping mall?

I am not comfortable using an ATM located on a street as is common in Europe.

The second question is: Would you be able to suggest a clean and reputable budget restuarant near my hotel that I can go to upon arrival before I start exploring the city? My preference is self-serve eating places.

I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance.

QLD
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1. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

"I am not comfortable using an ATM located on a street as is common in Europe."

Why?

"My preference is self-serve eating places."

Why?

Sounds like hotel buffet is your thing and that is where you have the best chance of getting sick

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

New Day restaurant on Ma May is very popular and we've eaten there a few times.

It isn't self serve though

Edited: 07 December 2012, 21:52
Pennsylvania, USA
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3. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

About a 10min. walk from your hotel is the corner of Nha To St. and Hang Trong St. is a HSBC with 3 ATMs inside. There are usually guards there. Also very close to that is the main Hanoi branch of ANZ Bank. The ATMs are outside on the street but there are guards there as well. There are plenty of ATMs closer to you, but they are located on the street.

Maz1 has a good suggestion with New Day. The food is cheap and good, but the place is packed and you'll likely share a table with others. If thats too much to start you will have to go to a regular sit down restaurant. I've lived in Hanoi for over 12 years and I cant think of a single self-serve place, with the exception of the Pho 21 chain and Kentucky Friend Chicken (both should be skipped). A good first meal to get your bearings in is Nha Hang Ngon at 26 Trang Hang Dao. Its Vietnamese food with an extremely extensive menu and the portions are small so its sort of like tapas- you get to try a lot of different things.

I do hope you enjoy your visit and am not trying to sound negative or condescending. But I think you need to change your minds focus to realize you'l be in a developing SE Asian country. Plenty of new experiences you'll have to open yourself up to. Be open and flexible and I think you'll have a great time.

Llanbrynmair...
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4. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

Heavens. A self-serve restaurant in the Old Quarter. Evelyn that simply isn't an option, and all the more so if you want authentic, freshly cooked food. Go to the eatery most crowded with local people and eat there. The New Day restaurant near your hotel on Ma May Street (as recommended by maz1) is very good although tourists tend to outnumber locals nowadays. Nonetheless the consistently high turnover means that the food will be fresh, unlike in self-serve/buffet restaurants in tourist-oriented hotels away from the Old Quarter where the food might have been in and out of the fridge for a few days, thus enabling some impressive bacterial growth.

An ATM in a shopping mall? Again, heavens. There are no shopping malls in the Old Quarter. A small shopping gallery has opened in the last year in the western part of the Old Quarter (you are staying in the east), but banks are not among the tenants.

There are "hole in the wall" ATMs throughout the Old Quarter, including in the vestibules of a number of smallish hotels, but most bank offices are located further south from where you're staying and have their ATMs either outside the building or in a small lobby between the street and the main banking chamber. If you're really nervous, ask the receptionist at your hotel if the hotel's security person could escort you to the closest ATM.

All that apart Evelyn, I'm rather worried that you haven't done sufficient research into Hanoi and have formed an unrealistic mental picture of what it's all about.

It's chaotic, vibrant, noisy and endlessly fascinating, but probably different from other places you've visited. Oh, and speaking as a female solo traveller, in my experience it's safe too.

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5. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

Thank you for your suggestions and advice, Maz1, Tecalli, and CreakingBones.

I like the suggestion of the New Day restuarant and will go there for my first meal in Hanoi. I also like the idea of using the ATM inside the HSBC which is 10 minute walkaway from my hotel, Tecalli.

CreakingBones, I have done my research for Vietnam and it is because of this, since it is my first visit to SE Asia and my departure date is fast approaching, I guess I am getting a bit nervous. As you mentioned, I know that this trip is going to be vastly different from the other ones I have done. I am excited and looking forward to it but am a bit nervous. I have created a detailed day-by-day itinerary with day tours, etc. and am sure it will be an experience to remember.

I took a chance by asking about self-serve restuarants and shopping malls, not expecting fancy buffets but hoping maybe for something akin to the small Nordsee self-serve restuarants in Austria and the very small "milky bars" in Poland where you line up and place your order and are presented with the food at the counter where you pay. I spent 3 weeks exploring Poland in Sept/Oct this year and ate at different "milky bars" in different cities in Poland.

As well, when I mentioned shopping malls, I did not expect large shopping malls but maybe something like the shopping gallery you have mentioned in the western part of the Old Quarter. In Prague, I found an ATM inside a smallish food-market type place, so had that in mind when I posted my question.

I guess I tried my luck and hoped for the best when I posted my questions. Well, you'll have provided me with very good information and I appreciate it very much. Thanks a lot.

Edited: 08 December 2012, 01:10
Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

I am having a quiet giggle to myself hearing about your previous trips and eating experiences- I think you're in for a surprise- Vietnam is no Europe that's for sure.

You have mentioned three of the most cultured and sophisticated countries in the world and to think you would dream of a comparative eating experience is wild

I do hope you enjoy Vietnam though

Hanoi, Vietnam
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7. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

Any ATM you can use on the street and definitely no Europe. There are many street food or small restaurants in Ma may str, so it's easy for you to choose what you want to eat. I definitely recommend New day restaurant at 79 ma may, very close to your hotel.

Hanoi, Vietnam
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8. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

I'm pretty picky about ATM's too, so I use the ANZ Bank ATM's at the bank on the west side of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Ma May St is far too busy busy busy for many of us - just very congested with tourists, hawkers, sidewalk food vendors and "you name it". You might consider relocating once you get settled in.

The Old Quarter is always a shock to all of us due to the chaos of traffic, but don't worry, it will get better!

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9. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

Thanks and I have another food-related question, please.

Vietnamese Dong being such a "bulky currency" and things being priced in the thousands, how much, approximately, should I expect a meal at the New Day restaurant or one similar to it?

I just want to get an idea as to what to expect to pay, in dong, for meals in budget/small restaurants.

Hanoi, Vietnam
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10. Re: Two questions I need answers to, please.

Depending on what you order, I'd say 60,000 to 95,000VND, but in high traffic areas adjacent to the Lake, it could easily be 2 or 3 times that amount. Prices are definitely up in Hanoi, and any posting you might have read from last year would be off by a considerable amount.

Yesterday, I treated a friend to coffee and pastry at Joma on Ly Quoc Su (think upscale Canadian) - i was shocked when the bill rang up at 177,000VND!