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Haven't been to Hanoi, but several other Asian cities, so called '3rd' world ones.
So in general, if you haven't been before, your US dollar (despite its historically deep dive at the moment) will go a long way, you will probably be accosted by assorted hustlers, hawkers and beggars offering everything they think you want, and they will probably be verrry persistent.
The food can be really great if you don't hang at the tourist places.
There is not so much a decadence as there is a very primal hedonism.
The gulf between old/new, impoverishment/wealth, is huge and jarring.

You might try the Lonely Planet site at:Hanoi

Here's a sample of what's on their site:

Apocalypse Now
Disneyland Plus
Star Bowl Centre, Pham Ngoc Thach
Tel: 04 971 2783 (info)
This place has lost some of its lustre since moving a long way south in town. However, it remains a popular place of pilgrimage for Hanoi's hedonists. Definitely one of the more gay-friendly clubs in town.
Hours: 8:00pm-1:00am
Hanoi was amazing. And the air is very dirty. You can pick up a dust mask--they're ubiquitous--for very little. Don't be afraid crossing the street: keep a steady stride and stay alert! I had a suit and 4 trousers made for a song.

Also--everyone wants to sell you postcards--maps--books--food--a shoe shine (you'll be offered loaner sandals , and a few minutes later your shoes come back, shiny, and a hand expects a buck or two).

But--what brings you Hanoi!?

Hanoi street life makes NYC seem tame. And NYC nightlife makes Hanoi seem lame. As far as I could tell. I wasn't really there for nightlife--in fact hung out evenings with a lower-middle class Vietnamese family eating on straw mats, or an ex-pat family on classy designer sofas.

Turns out I probably *won't* be looking for a gig in Hanoi. I met a "performance art" couple--at first they seemed rather sympatico with my work: custom electro-acoustic instruments and dance even--but really they were doing industrial events veering on the tacky.

Tell me more, and maybe I can tell you more?
OK, here's more, as promised. First from our friend Drew:

Unfortunately, hip and hanoi night life really don't go together.

there is a minor gay scene, but it is very minor and mostly it is people who already know each other.. though really, I don't know this for certain.. I can introduce this person to people who might be able to help out in one way or another..

Now from the lovely Diane, who lived in Hanoi for 4 years and is the one who showed me around, as edited by me:


People have Pho noodles for breakfast, and the best Pho in Hanoi is at 42 Nha Chung street (called: Pho Ly Quoc Su). I liked it, but Diane is the pho maniac.

And for lunch people have rice with all kinds of neat dishes. We liked this place:

Nguyen Binh Khiem street, no number, btw Nguyen Du and Tran Xuan Soan streets (go at noon or so).

As you walk in, there is a woman surrounded by heaps of various foods and foods in preparation. Point to the dishes you want, maybe 3 or 4, and they will be brought to you along with rice, after you sit down. We marched upstairs to find a free table, passing a tiny sleeping loft along the way, in between floors.

Also note "Pho Alley" where we had late night eats after a party. It's not just Pho. Tong Duy Tan street, off Dien Bien Phu street (and Hang Bong street on the other end)

Note also that the many-flavored Vietnamese food you may be expecting is more of a Southern Viet Nam thing. In Hanoi it's mostly one dish-one flavor.

Finally, check out this guide--it's truly recommended, by expats who actually live in Hanoi:
Luxe City Guides HANOI

Hope this helps, let me know! Hanoi can be a real adventure. I wish I was going back with you.
Last edited by joshua

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